Conair Divisions Canadian (English) Website Canadian (French) Website USA Website French Website French Website

Moving Mountains – The Materials Team

2020 was a challenging year for our Aero-Flite team, who responded to not only an intense wildfire season but one where our group of essential service responders also had to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. One group that ramped up efforts to get the job done was the Materials department, ensuring aircraft had the parts needed to keep battling the flames.

Before the start of the season, Aero-Flite’s Materials team put a plan in place to support the aircraft, anticipating potential supply issues that might have resulted from the pandemic. “Our Materials department goes to great lengths to source, procure, and ship mission critical parts to keep aircraft operating.” says Jason Robinson, CL-415 Chief Pilot Program. “They are the heart of the operation, for without parts, our complex, specialty aircraft could not respond to the numerous call-outs within the harsh firefighting environment we operate in.”

That preparation meant the toll of the pandemic was more a mental challenge than physical one. COVID-19 put a scare to a few members but that only brought the group closer, with the team realizing they could count on support from Aero-Flite like they would a family, leaning on each other through thick and thin. “I would like to personally thank them for the teamwork, effort, and commitment.” says Mark Giovanardi, Director of Materials at Aero-Flite for over 20 years. “They were outstanding this season.”

Every fire season the group works long hours, overnight shifts, weekends and through holidays, with no vacation break, in order to keep the inflow and outflow of machinery supplies operating smoothly. This year was especially challenging in that the wildfires were spread over the entirety of the western US, a vast area, for months. “In a normal season, if all aircraft are within a couple thousand miles of each other the movement and tempo is fairly even.” says Mark. “But this year the aircraft were spread all over the US, changing bases daily in response to calls.” The fire activity, combined with the movement between bases, ramped up the tempo, pushing the Materials group into overdrive much of the summer and into the fall.  But they kept up the pace, keeping the mountains of materials moving throughout the states in order to be ready for maintenance when the planes finished each day. Jason adds, “Materials kept the props turning and jets burning. Thank you, team.”