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  • Writer's pictureThe Pulse

Call for the International Walt Darran Aerial Firefighting Award 2020 Nominations

An image of the International AFF Awards Logo
International AFF Awards Logo

Each year the International Walt Darran Aerial Firefighting Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements and innovations within the industry. The committee now calls for nominations from the global aerial firefighting community for the 2020 Awards.

Aiming to recognise a significant contribution by an individual or organisation to aerial firefighting, the Awards were inaugurated in honour of the late Walt Darran, who was a pioneer and advocate for safety and advances in aerial firefighting.

These thought-after Awards are a peer honour, with aerial firefighters from all around the globe honouring fellow colleagues. The nominations and resultant winners are administered by the International Award Committee – an independent international consortium from the International Fire Aviation Working Group (IFAWG) and Associated Aerial Firefighters.

Any person or organisation that has made a significant contribution to furthering the safety and/or efficiency of aerial firefighting could be nominated. Once again, nominations are being accepted in two categories: Contribution to Aerial Firefighting Safety and Industry Innovation & Advancement.

To nominate your candidates, please complete the Awards nomination forms and return them to Kate Niven from Tangent link at before 17th January 2020. The Awards committee will convene after this date to review written submissions and select the winners.

The Awards ceremony to announce winners will take place during the Aerial Firefighting North America Conference Dinner on 4th March 2020 in Sacramento, USA as a part of Aerial Firefighting North America 2020.

Previous Winners

The 2019 winners in the Industry Innovation and Advancement category, Kestrel Aviation (Australia), Coulson Aviation (Canada), Mr Wayne Rigg from Emergency Management Victoria (Australia) were celebrated for their ground-breaking collaborative work in developing safe and effective practices for aerial firefighting at night using helicopters equipped with Night Vision Goggles. While Mr Riccardo Filippi from Babcock Mission Critical Services (Italy) received the Contribution to Safety Award for his incredible ability to work and fly safely in international missions during his long-lasting career in aerial firefighting.

About Walt Darran

The Awards were inaugurated in honour of the late Walt Darran (1940-2013) who truly embodied the Aviator pioneering spirit and continued to be active in the international aerial firefighting community right up to his untimely death in 2013.

After nineteen years seasons as an air tanker captain, Walt finally retired from flying aerial firefighting missions in 2009 and took up the mantle of President of the Association of Aerial Firefighters, now known as the Associated Aerial Firefighters (AAF), committing the last decade of his life to promoting training and improving flight safety for aerial firefighting pilots.

About Aerial Firefighting North America 2020

Aerial Firefighting North America returns to Sacramento for its biennial event on 4 – 5 March 2020. The two-day event features conference presentations, workshops, technology exhibition, networking functions including a gala dinner with an accompanying awards ceremony.

Themed “Advancing Tactics, Training and Technology” the conference programme will address the strategies, training, technologies and agreements necessary to increase operational capability in the efficient deployment of aerial firefighting aircraft of all types. AFF North America 2020 aims to bring together the very best minds to understand the advances being made in this safety conscious profession.

For further information on Aerial Firefighting North America 2020, please visit To find out more about the Awards, please visit


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