This article appeared in the Nov. 2023 AME Association Inc. Newsletter
Forest Protection Limited (FPL) has forged a legacy of excellence in aerial operations since it transitioned to an Air Operator in 1972. A pivotal aspect of this success story is the evolution of their aircraft maintenance expertise. From humble beginnings to a specialized Approved Maintenance Organization (AMO), FPL’s journey showcases dedication, growth, and a relentless pursuit of superior aerial services.
A Unified Approach
In the early stages, aircraft maintenance at FPL was a contracted or hired endeavour. With the department initially comprising a solitary individual overseeing maintenance responsibilities, the focus was primarily on ensuring the fleet’s airworthiness and safety.
In 2006, a significant milestone was achieved when FPL acquired the registered Aircraft Maintenance Organization (AMO) status. At this juncture, the team consisted of three apprentices for every licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME), marking a transformative phase in their journey. The maintenance team expanded to encompass five AMEs and three apprentices, cementing FPL’s commitment to excellence.
During this time, crucial AMEs retired or moved on, necessitating acquiring tools and personnel to bolster the existing team. By 2008, FPL faced the challenge of retaining and building a strong team of AMEs, ultimately overcoming this hurdle and advancing with a team of ten licensed AMEs, two apprentices and three aircraft store personnel in 2023.
FPL’s trajectory saw further enhancement in 2020 as they consolidated logistics, parts and maintenance into a unified department. This strategic amalgamation strengthened their operations, enabling streamlined coordination and heightened efficiency. Today, the department offers over 215 years of experience.
The FPL Edge
At FPL, training is paramount. The maintenance team undergoes extensive internal and external training tailored to the fleet, including Air Tractor AT-802s, Cessna C208 Caravans and Piper PA-60 Aerostars. This dedication to continuous improvement propels the team beyond industry standards, with AMEs attending training sessions at esteemed institutions like Cessna, Air Tractor, and Pratt & Whitney. Annual internal training sessions further bolster their proficiency, reinforcing the importance of meticulous record-keeping and defined processes.
Their remarkable 99.9% dispatch record substantiates the prowess of FPL’s maintenance team. This impressive statistic underscores their readiness to respond swiftly and effectively, enabling aircraft deployment for aerial firefighting with unparalleled efficiency. The ability to combat multiple wildfires simultaneously and swiftly contain vast expanses of land highlights their exceptional capabilities and dedication.
FPL’s Purpose: Aerial Excellence for a Greater Cause
Forest Protection Limited’s purpose extends beyond the technicalities of aircraft maintenance. Their mission encompasses vital endeavours such as aerial wildfire suppression, forest protection, vegetation management, and pest infestation control. Through their comprehensive expertise and unwavering dedication, FPL safeguards natural resources and communities.
In the tapestry of FPL’s history, the evolution of aircraft maintenance is a testament to its commitment to safety, efficiency, and expertise. From modest beginnings to a specialized AMO, their journey exemplifies the power of determination, strategic growth, and a passion for serving the greater good. FPL continues to soar, contributing immensely to the safety and preservation of our environment.