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U.S. AIR FORCE AUXILIARY. ES Aircrew 2009 Update Training. Mission Communications. Mission Communications Update. MNICS Communications Plan – Standard Operating Procedure for MN Wing Aircrews Communication for Other Interagency Operations Coast Guard Auxiliary Law Enforcement

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es aircrew 2009 update training



ES Aircrew2009 Update Training

Mission Communications

mission communications update
Mission Communications Update
  • MNICS Communications Plan – Standard Operating Procedure for MN Wing Aircrews
  • Communication for Other Interagency Operations
    • Coast Guard Auxiliary
    • Law Enforcement
  • Narrowband Frequency Transition
  • Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management- HSEM
  • MN Dept. of Public Safety- State Patrol
  • Minnesota Wing, Civil Air Patrol – US Air Force Auxiliary
  • MN Dept. of Natural Resources – Enforcement- DNR
  • MN Army National Guard
  • Air Medical Council- EMS
  • MN Dept. of Natural Resources-Forestry- DNR
  • US Forest Service-Fire- USFS
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service- USFWS
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs- BIA
  • Media
  • County Sheriffs
  • All air-operations missions are potentially multi-agency
    • Even an ELT search!

(Perhaps there is an actual crash, and the news media is already there)

  • Need protocol for inter-agency communications to keep air operations safe
initial response
Initial Response

Air-to-air tactical frequency

122.75 MHz — “All Risk”

122.925 MHz — Wild-land fire initial attack

  • Announce direction of entry into incident when 10 miles out
  • Other aircraft at scene will inform incoming aircraft of their presence, position, mission, and whether or not an Air Tactical Group Supervisor is functioning yet
air tactical group supervisor
Air Tactical Group Supervisor
  • Airborne
  • Coordinates All Airborne Aircraft
    • Responsible to manage separation and safety
  • First aircraft onto the scene will normally assume the role until formally handing off responsibility or leaving the scene
extended responses
Extended responses:


Air Tactical Group Supervisor has two assisting coordinators




air tanker fixed wing coordinator
Air-Tanker/Fixed-Wing Coordinator
  • Typically airborne position on large incidents
  • Coordinates airborne fixed-wing aircraft
  • Reports to Air Tactical Group Supervisor
helicopter coordinator
Helicopter Coordinator
  • Can be in the air or on the ground
  • Coordinates all airborne helicopters (tactical or logistical missions)
  • Reports to Air Tactical Group Supervisor
aircraft band frequencies all risk operations i e other than fire suppression
Aircraft Band FrequenciesAll-Risk Operations(i.e. Other than Fire Suppression)
  • 122.750 MHz
    • FAA general purpose air-to-air frequency
    • MNICS Air-to-Air ALL RISK Frequency
  • Airport CTAF Frequencies
    • Use as air-to-air tactical frequency when near an airport
aircraft band frequencies wildfire suppression operations
Aircraft Band FrequenciesWildfire Suppression Operations
  • 122.925 MHz
    • Designated natural resources frequency
    • MNICS INITIAL ATTACK air-to-air frequency (for wildfire suppression)
    • Air-to-air frequency for Canadian boarder area (2 miles either side and north of boarder)
    • Air-to-air and air-to-ground for Wisconsin operations
  • 122.900 MHz
    • FAA MULTICOM frequency(CTAF for airports with no control tower or UNICOM)
    • Use for air-to-air briefings if 122.925 is too busy (per MNICS Radio Frequency Plan)
  • 123.975 MHz
    • Air to ground – air tanker base operations within 10 miles of base
  • Airport CTAF Frequencies
    • Use as air-to-air tactical frequency when near an airport
  • Other Frequencies
    • Complex missions: See next slide
fire suppression complex missions
Fire SuppressionComplex Missions
  • Communications frequency plans exist to support more complex missions
    • These plans allow simultaneous separate incidents (or geographic divisions) to communicate without conflicting
    • Mission staff should coordinate with the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center to determine the current frequency plans if in question. (Plans change over the years.)
    • 2009 plans are identified by a phonetic alphabet letter. (See next slide)
  • Air Tactical Group Supervisor and/or Air Support Group Supervisor will decide when and if to use the communications plans.
2009 wildfire air to air tactical frequencies aircraft band
2009 Wildfire Air-to-Air Tactical Frequencies (Aircraft Band)
  • INITIAL:122.925 MHz

Complex Missions –

  • ALPHA: 124.650 MHz
  • BRAVO: 119.950 MHz
  • CHARLIE: 119.850 MHz
mifc and usfs flight following channels
MIFC and USFS Flight Following Channels
  • CAP aircrews can use these frequencies to communicate with the MIFC (Minnesota Interagency Fire Center) “Aviation Desk” or the USFS.
    • The MIFC “repeaters” can be thought of as like “RCOs”
    • Address the MIFC on the radio as “FIRE CENTER”
    • Address the USFS on the radio as “FOREST SERVICE”
    • Use your CAPFLIGHT call sign to identify yourself
  • These stations are usually on the air during day hours during the fire season
  • Among other things, you can request a message relay back to the CAP mission base
    • This provides us with another communication option when operating in the northern forested parts of the state
    • Use with consideration – these frequencies and facilities are primarily used for wildfire suppression activities.
mifc and usfs flight following channels to be programmed into mn wing aircraft fm radios
MIFC and USFS Flight Following ChannelsTo be Programmed into MN Wing Aircraft FM Radios*
  • MIFC Air Net Point to Point
  • MIFC Air Net East Repeater (Eveleth)
  • MIFC Air Net West Repeater (Northome)
  • MIFC Air Net South Repeater (Quadna)
  • USFS National Flight Following

* These channels are very similar to the ones that have been programmed into our radios in the past, but MIFC and USFS have recently transitioned to new narrowband frequencies, so radios programmed with the old channels with these names will not work.

mnics air operations plan status 2009
MNICS Air Operations PlanStatus - 2009
  • New Draft SAR Annex added to All Risk Plan
    • Recognizes need for on-the-ground coordination of SAR air operations
    • Differentiates between small search areas (<10 miles across) and larger ones
      • Use of air-to-air communication for primary coordination and separation ineffective for large area operations
      • Air Tactical Group Supervisor concept may be used for small area SAR operations
      • Conversely, the practice of announcing entry to an incident 10 miles out doesn’t apply to large area searches
    • Recommends mission staff coordination with MIFC Aviation Desk for operations north of Twin Cities
US Coast Guard Auxiliary
  • Possible Joint Operations with CAP
    • Search and Rescue
    • Disaster Relief (river spills, etc.)
    • Homeland Security (border operations, etc.)
cg auxiliary communications
CG Auxiliary Communications
  • MN Wing CAP Aircraft FM radios are programmed for Marine band use
    • Altitude Restriction: 1000 ft AGL
    • Frequencies
      • Initial Contact on Marine Channel 16
      • Working Channel is Marine Channel 83
cg auxiliary communications1
CG Auxiliary Communications
  • Making Contact
    • If possible, make contact with a fixed station first
      • “Coast Guard Auxiliary Station Prescott, this is CAPFlight 2143”
    • Then contact “facilities” [boats] on patrol
      • “US Coast Guard Auxiliary 1 6 9, this is CAPFlight 2143”
describing navigation information
Describing Navigation Information
  • CG Auxiliary personnel usually describe locations in terms of “river miles”
  • They should be able to convert to Lat & Long for us
    • If not, ask CAP mission base or CG Aux. station to convert
    • River charts showing both river miles and lat/long are available to download from US Army Corps of Engineers
air to ground communications with law enforcement
Air to Ground Communications with Law Enforcement
  • MNSEFMinnesota Sate Emergency Frequency
    • Programmed into CAP VHF FM Radios (aircraft only!)
    • Normally, use only with prior arrangement; CAP IC/ALO will coordinate with LE
    • Warning: As the only state-wide interagency frequency, it is oversubscribed. Frequency congestion is a problem.
narrowband transition
Narrowband Transition
  • New frequency card can be found on wing intranet web under communications
Aircraft Radio Channels

Wideband frequencies available during transition

Aircraft Radio Channels

New narrowbandfrequencies

Aircraft Radio Channels



The MIFC frequencieswill change from what is shown here.

  • Paradigm shift: Mission bases will need multiple VHF FM radios in order to function well on a complex mission.
    • More channels will need to be used because…
      • Simplex is no longer authorized on repeater output frequencies. (We cannot just listen to one frequency that has short-range, repeater, and air-to-ground traffic.)
      • Dedicated “Guard 1” Channel (5) [Note: There is no “guard 2”]
        • “GUARD 1” will be the frequency of choice for communication with base when the aircraft must go to another frequency for interagency operations
more issues
More Issues
  • C182/Technisonic radio channel plan will likely be slightly different than what is depicted on the current channel card.
  • Other changes are needed to the channel plan to re-synch with MIFC and USFS.
  • New communications regulation expected to contain further guidance and SOPs.
side notes
Side notes
  • Zones 2, 3, 4, and 5 customized to meet MN Wing needs
  • Other zones are standard across all wings.
  • “Frequency designators” are uniform nation-wide.
  • R-number frequency designators each relate to one of two “repeater channels”
    • Odd R-numbers are repeater channel 1
    • Even R-numbers are repeater channel 2
transition time line
Transition Time-Line
  • Reprogramming of equipment taking place now.
  • Transition to use narrow-band frequencies will be driven by the installation of the new repeater stations, which will take place this summer.
  • All CAP frequency wide-band usage to be discontinued by 30 September 2009.
  • A second round of reprogramming will take place in FY2010 to eliminate the CAP wide-band frequencies from the radios.
new airborne repeaters
New Airborne Repeaters
  • The wing is receiving two suitcase tactical repeaters [Expected in May or June]
  • The repeaters can be deployed on the ground or in the air
  • They can be used in any aircraft with power connectors and external antenna connectors (the same connectors as used for the aerial imaging kits)
  • MNICS Communications Plan
    • Plan to use for all air operations missions
    • ALLRISK air-to-air channel is 122.750 MHz
    • Flight following/message relay available through MIFC
  • Communication for Other Interagency Operations
    • Coast Guard Auxiliary: Contact on marine channel 16
    • Law Enforcement: MNSEF (with prior arrangement)
  • Narrowband Frequency Transition
    • Hello, segregated simplex and repeater channels (and separate guard channel)