I attended the North American Aerial Firefighting Show for the first time this year and it was incredible. As Marketing Director for the Coulson Group, I have the pleasure of working on our aerial firefighting division, Coulson Aviation.
I arrived in Sacramento late Monday night last week so I could be at the venue the next afternoon for the trade show booth set up. It took me and 3 men, 4 hours to put this monstrosity of a trade show booth together. And while it looks amazing, we kept joking around that it was like putting together Ikea furniture without the instructions.
The next 2 days of the trade show were a whirlwind. One of the highlights of the show was being able to meet all the incredible people in this industry. I can’t stop talking about how kind everyone is. I truly enjoyed every single conversation and getting to know the different companies in the industry.
But the true highlight of the show was going up in the air for my very first helicopter ride for an air to air photoshoot of our CH47 Chinook and our U-60 Blackhawk helicopters which were down for the show to be showcased. I didn’t even realize I needed to have this on my bucket list of things to do!
I got to ride in a 407 helicopter with the CEO & Publisher of Air Attack magazine. He wore a harness so he could hang out the open door of the helicopter I got to ride strapped in on the other side of the helicopter, able to shoot videos and images over his head.
We started out at McClellan Air Base getting a few shots outside of the Cal Fire base and then headed about 10 miles out to Folsom Lake to do our first water tank test drop from the Chinook. This CH47 is the first Chinook to have a Coulson RADS-L tank installed inside capable of dropping 3,000 gallons on a fire which was amazing to see firsthand.
We then did a photoshoot with our Chinook and Blackhawk and got some incredible shots!
I have now decided that the best way to watch a sunset is now from the inside of a helicopter!
I truly enjoyed meeting 4 of our pilots, their crew chiefs and our maintenance teams. I also got to meet one of our Australian team members and one of our US team members. Everyone was so amazing, answered my questions with patience and was unbelievably kind. I cannot stop singing the praises of the people that I get to work with.
That wraps up a great show… until the next one!