Daher Joins New Aerial Firefighters Association

Kodiak 100 STOL aircraft

One of Bridger Aerospace’s Kodiak 100s, used for fire-spotting and directing aerial tanker drops.

Credit: Bridger Aerospace

French manufacturer Daher has joined the United Aerial Firefighters Association (UAFA), becoming the first airframer member of the organization.

Weeks after five aerial firefighting operators announced the launch of the non-profit association dedicated to driving safety and standardization in the industry, Daher said March 1 that it has joined the collective.

“The UAFA’s goals are fully aligned with those of Daher: enhancing the safety, operability and effectiveness of aircraft, especially in such challenging and unforgiving missions as combatting wildfires,” said Paul Carelli, Daher’s director of Kodiak flight operations and special missions. “We intend to be an active UAFA member, bringing our expertise as a multi-role aircraft manufacturer, while also benefitting from the feedback of those who are on the front lines of aerial firefighting.”

Daher builds pressurized TBM turboprops in Tarbes, France. Since its 2019 acquisition of Quest Aircraft Company, it also builds the single-engine, high-wing Kodiak 100 short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft in Sandpoint, Idaho. Quest introduced the PT6-powered Kodiak 100, which is used for fire-spotting and directing aerial tanker drops, in 2007.

In July 2022, Daher unveiled the stretched Kodiak 900 utility aircraft at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

One of the UAFA’s founding members, Bridger Aerospace, of Belgrade, Montana, operates four Kodiak 100s. They are part of a mixed fleet the company uses, which includes six Viking Air CL-415EAF (Enhanced Aerial Firefighter) amphibious scooper aircraft, four Twin Commanders, three Pilatus PC-12s and one DeHavilland Twin Otter 300. 

“We appreciate Daher’s proactivity in joining UAFA and look forward to benefitting from its aircraft manufacturer’s perspective as the association develops a strong and coordinated voice for the entire aerial firefighting community,” said Bridger Aerospace CEO Tim Sheehy.

The UAFA website in early March listed nine other members: 10 Tanker, Billings Flying Service, Bridger Aerospace, Dauntless Air, Erickson Aero Tanker, Firehawk Helicopters, Neptune Aviation Services, Perimeter Solutions and Resolute ISR. 

Bill Carey

Based in Washington, D.C., Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.