In recent years, various studies have been undertaken to assess the performance of suppressants used from aviation assets (Refai & Paskaluk 2021, Refai & Hsieh 2020). These studies have primarily been undertaken at a laboratory-scale to allow for control over variables that may influence the outcome of performance assessments. The natural progression after laboratory-scale experiments is to question the validity of results when translated to an operational environment. Answering this question is challenging – testing in an operational environment is expensive, methods often do not scale up, environmental variables are non- static, and the repeatability of data collection is difficult to achieve.
In an effort to collect data on suppressant efficacy in an operational environment, one avenue to explore is the information collected by helicopter coordinators (HLCOs) while on duty. HLCOs routinely witness the use of suppressants in an operational environment and can provide meaningful insight on their efficacy. The objective of this study is to collect qualitative observation data from HLCOs by conducting semi-structured interviews about their experience with suppressant efficacy and review the data for any generalized trends that may be found.