Grass Valley – Annual pilot training will begin the first week of March and continue until the Grass Valley Air Attack Base is staffed in mid-June.
Approximately 35 S2T Air Tanker pilots and 25 OV-10 Air Tactical pilots will participate in the training. Grass Valley Air Attack Base will be used as one of several pilot training facilities throughout California. Flights may occur several times a day, several days a week.
Air tankers will practice dropping water in approved areas for training purposes. This training allows pilots to simulate retardant drops and improve flight skills. Pilots must show proficiency in many emergency situations where they must react to ensure safety of the aircraft, themselves and anyone operating on the ground during a fire.
People recreating and traveling in forested or mountainous areas may see these planes flying overhead. This is not necessarily an indication of a wildfire. Both the United States Forest Service and CAL FIRE conduct control burns during this time of year which may or may not be associated with pilot training.