Aerial Firefighting APAC 2023 – A Dubbo Success Story

When looking through the previous locations of the Tangent Link Aerial Firefighting series of conferences with names like Athens, Greece, Nimes, France, Sacramento, California and San Diego California over recent years, the addition of Dubbo, New South Wales forced many to find it on a map as it was not an easily recognizable location. Dubbo, New South Wales to those from Australia is known for its world-renowned open plains zoo, but to those attending from the United States and other countries, it was not a well-known location.

For those like myself that have been fortunate enough to have visited Dubbo previously, the small city of fewer than 50,000 inhabitants is also known for one other thing; its growing reputation as a hub for emergency services operations.

Although a five-hour drive from the center of Sydney, Dubbo is just a short one-hour flight from the much larger city of Sydney, and is also the home of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) Academy and the soon-to-be-completed RFS Aviation Center of Excellence which were in walking distance of the Dubbo Regional Airport and the conference location on the grounds of the airport.

From the first event, the AerialFire/NSWRFS sponsored opening night mixer, it was clear to all in attendance that this show would be one for the record books, with record attendance at the APAC show from both conference attendees and vendors alike that filled the conference space to capacity, leading to the addition of extra convention space to accommodate a late influx of additional vendors.

The combination of organizers from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, Tangent Link, and the organization and support of the City of Dubbo was flawless. From the opening reception onwards, conference attendees were treated to a world-class facility within the NSWRFS academy to facilitate the educational portion of the event, and a static display area packed with helicopters, UAS systems, and fixed-wing assets used in aerial firefighting in Australia.

The static display area showcased both assets from state fire agencies like the NSWRFS and private industry that provided multiple helicopters and fixed-wing platforms staffed by knowledgeable experts able to showcase each aircraft and its capabilities when purposed with aerial firefighting operations. The star of the show at the static display was the late arrival of the newly acquired NSWRFS Boeing CH-47 Chinook that arrived early Tuesday morning after arriving from the United States earlier in the week. The largest helicopter aerial asset now owned by the NSWRFS drew large crowds for the entirety of the show from those looking to learn more about the aircraft and its future in Australia.

The three-day event showcased the best of aerial firefighting from around the APAC region and an engaging show program that kept the hundreds in attendance busy between conference sessions and the show floor.

In addition to the show, conference attendees were treated to a tour of the world-renowned Royal Flying Doctors Service at their experience center which is also on the grounds of the Dubbo Regional airport during the conference dinner on the Tuesday evening of the show. The friendliness and “Aussie Hospitality” of the staff at the academy, the airport, and the many restaurants and other businesses frequented by international conference attendees will long be remembered by those that attended the first APAC event hosted by the City of Dubbo and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service for yet another successful AFF show organized by Tangent Link.

View a slide show of the show below

Ryan Mason
Ryan Mason
Ryan is an accomplished writer and aerial photographer that has worked in the aviation industry for over a decade before co-founding AerialFire Magazine. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Ryan is a former police officer that focuses his writing and photography efforts on para-public operations and agricultural aviation.

Latest Print Edition

Latest Articles

Related articles