Aero-Flite Establishes Hangar Base in Chico, California

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON (March 8 2024) – Aero-Flite Inc. is pleased to announce the company will be opening a second hangar location in Chico, California. Chico Airport Commission authorized leasing the 45,000 square feet of hangar space located at 77 Piper Avenue, with occupancy taking place March 1, 2024.

Photo by Michael Piper

“Aero-Flite is growing. We added two Dash 8-400AT to our fleet in 2022, contracted to Washington State for four years, and this year we are accepting another Dash 8-400AT from Conair” shared Chris Niemann, General Manager at Aero-Flite. “That will bring our total number of large airtankers in the fleet to fourteen including seven RJ85s and four CL415s. And we plan to continue adding Dash 8- 400AT airtankers. To accommodate this growth, we needed additional hangar space. The new hangar space in Chico gives us the ability to perform heavy maintenance on a portion of the fleet during the winter, plus operational maintenance during the fire season, supported by our main hangar operations in Spokane Washington.”

Chico Regional Airport is one of the fourteen designated airtanker bases in California for aerial firefighting, with its location of strategic importance for a fast initial attack for both Cal Fire and the US Forest Service. “Chico is a great location for a second facility,” shares Niemann. “It is move-in ready. We will have the ability to perform maintenance on our aircraft during the fire season at a location positioned closer to where missions are occurring, reducing time on the ground.”

“Aero-Flite has had a growing presence in the city for several years. We perform our on-wing training program in Chico, training pilots using a 1500 acre property northwest of the city for a three week period, simulating a fire in a valley surrounded by complex terrain, complete with mock fire lines, dozer lines, and smoke to add realism. In the past, over fifty team members have descended on Chico for this specialized training, including three trailers of equipment. Locating a second facility near this training site will help alleviate some of the logistical challenges that go into supporting an aerial firefighting training program of this magnitude” says Niemann.

The Chico hangar location also offers Aero-Flite the space needed to possibly expand into Dash 8- 400 airtanker conversions, supporting Conair with manufacturing capabilities as global demand continues.

“It is a great community,” Niemann concludes. “We look forward to establishing roots, supporting the airport and local economy, while continuing to expand our aerial firefighting services for our partner agencies.”

About Aero-Flite Inc.

Aero-Flite is the largest, and one of the most experienced, aerial firefighting companies in the US, delivering a comprehensive range of purpose-engineered aircraft designed to fight wildfires. Founded in the United States over 60 years ago, Aero-Flite’s operations support missions in North America and beyond, providing an extensive range of Next Generation fire control aircraft. The team of 170 professionals operate over a dozen aircraft including Type 1 RJ85 airtankers; Type 2 Dash 8-400AT airtankers; and one of the largest fleets of newer-model CL415 amphibious aircraft in the world. Aero-Flite can provide aircraft under contract across the US, and around the world, providing specialized services including flight operations and aircraft maintenance related to emergency response missions. Learn more at

AerialFire Staff
AerialFire Staff
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