Pilots experienced in flying big passenger aircraft are training up with Coulson Aviation Australia to fly Cessna Citation bird dog aircraft in support of the NSW Rural Fire Service and bushfire impacted communities. 

Watch video HERE:

Michael Hayes and Tony Franc are two of a number of experienced Australian pilots who have signed on with Coulson in Sydney as part of the operational support for New South Wales-owned aircraft.

Michael and Tony are around halfway through the training required to fly the bird dogs and will be operating this summer.

Coulson Aviation Australia has created and recruited to 35 Australian jobs for maintenance engineers, pilots and business staff now working in the business in Sydney. This includes: 

  • 7 Australian fixed wing pilots
  • 6 Helicopter Pilots
  • 5 Helicopter aircrew officer or rescue crewman
  • 12 maintenance engineers and logistics staff
  • 1 dedicated aviation safety and quality assurance professional; and
  • 4 business staff including Coulson Aviation Australia CEO Chris Smallhorn

Headquartered at and operating from Bankstown, RAAF Base Richmond and Avalon, we have ground and air teams committed to safety with a passion for fighting for communities and working hand in hand with Australia’s emergency services and other operators.

Coulson Aviation has operated in Australia for almost 20 years of 26 years in aerial fire suppression. Supporting Australia and Australian businesses where we can, along with Australian job creation and knowledge transfer from our deeply experienced company crews to Coulson Aviation Australia personnel, are important commitments for the organisation.  

Our fixed wing pilots, whose jobs were affected by the airline reductions, bring with them significant experience in flying large jet aircraft.

These pilots have undergone mission-specific training in the USA and Australia, building upon their current aviation experience alongside other highly experienced fixed wing Coulson pilots. 

Large aircraft firefighting capability has traditionally been North American-centric with some of the best pilots in the world, and we will continue to use that experience to transfer knowledge to Australian crews that can also operate globally.