Firefighters at Pangborn Airport and the Wenatchee Valley Fire Department are honing their skills to deal with airplane fires. 

Select airport employees along with some of the Fire Department crew were completing required annual fire training Wednesday. 

Wenatchee Valley Fire Chief Brian Brett says it's a joint operation between his department and the Chelan Douglas Port Authority, which operates the airport. 

"Both the Port employees and the Wenatchee Valley Fire Department are all running multiple exercises on extinguishing the aircraft fire and searching the interior of the cabin and removing occupants," said Brett. 

The public was advised not to worry about seeing fire at Pangborn Airport because the flames were part of the training exercises. 

Image of emergency firefighting exercises from Pangborn Airport
Image of emergency firefighting exercises from Pangborn Airport

Brett says they use a prop which looks and functions like an airplane fuselage for their exercises. 

"I'm not quite certain what size of aircraft it's replicating, at least the size of the current aircraft that fly in and out of Pangborn," Brett said. "It's all steel constructed, so we're able to do multiple exercises on it. It doesn't harm the prop. In fact, the prop travels around the nation for this purpose." 

There are about a dozen personnel between the airport and the fire department that have specialty certification in aircraft rescue firefighting. As part of their training, they have to conduct live fire training exercises. 

The airport has two fire engines, with one of the rigs staffed from 15 minutes before a commercial airliner lands. The rig is also present until 15 minutes after the airliner takes off. If more firefighting apparatus is needed, those engines are supplied by the fire department. 

The training is required by the Federal Aviation Administration. 

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