232 (a DC- 10) attempted a landing July 19, 1989,
in Sioux City, Iowa. Although Sioux City had no
scheduled DC- 10 service and no specific DC- 10
training, the airport had full responsibility for the
response, fire fighting and rescue.
Planning and preparation are a key component
of the fire department’s operational preparedness.
When something outside of the normal scope
occurs, fire fighters and fire commanders draw
upon training, knowledge and experience to get
the job done. Washington Dulles International,
as an E index (ICAO Category 10) airport, has
scheduled service from nearly every aircraft
type with service in the U.S. This range includes
helicopters, general aviation, commuter service,
freighters and every aircraft type, including jumbo
multi-deck new large aircraft (NLA).
In the past, the “critical aircraft” at Dulles
was the Boeing 747. ARFF focused on its fuel
load, passenger capacity, double decks and the
possibility of 10 escape slides hitting the ground.
The game has changed with five Airbus 380
arrivals per week from Air France, as well as the
Boeing 747-800 Intercontinental from Lufthansa
five times a week. Some configurations of these
NLA put passengers on three decks. The A-380
has 14 double-lane escape slides, increased fuel
capacity and sill heights, unique configurations
and a 550-average passenger load with certification
for more than 800. In a risk analysis, these factors
add additional dimensions to the difficulty of
gaining rapid access to these massive aircraft.
In mid-April 2010, MWAA fire rescue took
advantage of the volcanic ash problem that
plagued world travel for a week to train on
widebody aircraft and aerial laddering. British
Airways partnered with MWAA ARFF, taking
advantage of the training opportunity offered
while its B-747-400 was grounded. These aircraft
normally are on the ground only long enough for
When something outside of the
normal scope occurs, fire fighters
and fire commanders draw upon
training, knowledge and experience
to get the job done.