Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Airtanker pilots association meeting and other misc!

Back from Reno, of course tired and hung over, so that means it was fun! Of course some more serious topics too, like how to fight to get family members of those who die flying forest fire aircraft the death benefits that public safety officers get. Just because USFS contracts out the tanker aircraft out, should not keep the benefits from being paid. These planes are federally contracted, flying planes under "Public Use", fighting fires often on federal lands and dispatched by federal agencies. Airtanker pilots can forget about getting life insurance, no one is going to cover that.

But the government does not want the families to get death benefits that federal employees would get while dying in the line of duty. These people are serving their country, and so many have given their lives. People like Connie Hirth, Christine Goff, Wanda Nagle and Karin Sears have lobbied hard, unfortunately success has not came yet.

However a small battle was recently won by Mrs Goff in court, but the Dept of Justice is appealing the decision. We shall see what may happen! But if you agree that government contracted pilots that die while fighting wildland fires, call the office of your representative or senator, and find out if they support Public Safety Officer Benefits for airtanker pilots who have died in the line of duty.

Also saw presentations from Evergreen, Omni air tanker, talked to people from many companies, and had a great time! These are friends I unfortunately only see once a year. And I hope I see Ron Thomas next year, in his life he has fought wildfires and is now fighting for his life. My thoughts are with him in this latest battle of his.

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