Alaskan Helicopter Services for Forest Inventory and Analysis - Request for Information

Status
Inactive
Published Date
October 5th, 2023
Response Deadline
November 30th, 2023
Location
AK, USA
Notice Type
Sources Sought
Solicitation No.
1202SA-2024-IPAB-001

Buyer

AGRICULTURE, DEPARTMENT OFFOREST SERVICEINCIDENT PROCUREMENT AVIATION BRANCHBoise, ID, 837055354, USA

PSC

NATURAL RESOURCES/CONSERVATION- OTHER FOREST/RANGE IMPROVEMENTS (NON-CONSTRUCTION) (F018)

Summary

Sources Sought AGRICULTURE, DEPARTMENT OF FOREST SERVICE is seeking Alaskan Helicopter Services for Forest Inventory and Analysis. The purpose of this request is to obtain market research associated with Exclusive-Use (EU) helicopter services to support US Forest Service (USFS) Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNWRS) Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data collection fieldwork in Alaska. The USFS is seeking interested vendors capable of providing helicopter services for passenger transport for the PNWRS FIA program that meet the specifications described herein. The USFS is interested in identifying vendors who have experience operating and maintaining rotor wing aircraft in remote, mountainous environments with frequent poor weather events during the operating season, similar to those found across Alaska, with qualified personnel comfortable with maximum performance takeoffs and landings from unimproved landing zones in confined spaces, and capable of providing professional services while living and working in sometimes austere conditions.

Description

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT INTEND TO AWARD A CONTRACT ON THE BASIS OF THIS RFI OR TO OTHERWISE PAY FOR THE INFORMATION SOLICITED. This RFI does not constitute a solicitation for proposals or the authority to enter into negotiations to award a contract. No funds have been authorized, appropriated, or received for this contemplated effort. This RFI is for planning purposes only and shall not be considered as a request for proposal or as an obligation on the part of the Government to acquire any products or services. No entitlement to payment of direct or indirect costs or charges by the Government will arise as a result of contractor submission of responses to this RFI or the Government’s use of such information. The Government reserves the right to reject, in whole or in part, any contractor’s input resulting from this RFI. Responses to this RFI will not be returned. Whatever information is provided in response to this RFI may be used to assess tradeoffs and alternatives available for future needs. The information provided may be utilized by the US Forest Service in developing its acquisition strategy and in its Statement of Objective, Statement of Work, and/or Performance Specifications. The information resulting from this RFI may be included or combined with other submissions in one or more options considered in the analysis of alternatives. Any proprietary information that is submitted may be used in establishing requirements of the future system but specific information will be safeguarded as proprietary. The purpose of this announcement is to obtain market research associated with Exclusive-Use (EU) helicopter services to support US Forest Service (USFS) Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNWRS) Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data collection fieldwork in Alaska.  Specifically, the USFS is seeking 1 or more interested vendors capable of providing helicopter services for passenger transport for the PNWRS FIA program that meet the specifications described herein. USFS seeks helicopter services for passenger transport, fully operated by qualified and proficient personnel, and equipped in accordance with any applicable regulations and the terms and conditions contained in a contract resulting from solicitation of services. Interested vendors should outline within their response their experience in providing helicopter services of the type specified, particularly with regard to experience operating in remote areas, utilizing unimproved landing zones, and extreme environmental conditions similar to those found in Interior Alaska.  One or more contracts may result from eventual solicitation of services. Individual or multiple item(s) may be awarded to separate firms, or a single award may be made covering all items. Partner firms intending to provide services jointly will be required to submit a subcontracting or partnering plan as part of their bid package in order to demonstrate how the entities will operate in tandem to meet project requirements. PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND LOCATIONS The US Forest Service (USFS), Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNWRS) is tasked with annual data acquisition for inventory and monitoring of Alaska’s forests. The USFS Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program conducts our nation’s forest inventory effort aimed at monitoring the status and trends of forested lands in the US through a network of permanent field “plots” installed on the ground (Forest Inventory and Analysis National Program).  In Alaska, the inventory is divided into two units: Coastal Alaska and Interior Alaska. This request covers the Interior Alaska inventory unit, which comprises most of the area north and west of Prince William Sound and the Kenai Peninsula, including the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands (and excluding Kodiak Island, fig 1).  This request for information is related to a possible change in the Interior Alaska FIA study design; if a change in study design is determined to be in the best interest of the Government (based in part on information gained from this request), work with the resources described in this request would not begin before May of 2026. Annual project work occurs primarily during the months of May through September.  We anticipate that this project will utilize multiple aircraft concurrently from unique bases of operation (“hubs”) distributed throughout the Interior Alaska FIA project area. Field plots are distributed approximately 20-30 miles apart across all forested lands. Hubs will be strategically selected to provide the resources required for a project base of operations and so that flights to plots will generally be less than 100-nautical miles from each hub. Aircraft fueling will occur at these hubs utilizing Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) where available, or remote fueling setups installed by the Government and certified by the Department of Interior (DOI). Vendors are not responsible for fuel logistics and will be operating under dry flight rates for this contract. For the purpose of this request, Anchorage or Fairbanks, Alaska, should be used as the Host Base. Project work across other hub locations in the state will qualify as travel away from the Host Base and thus any required vendor personnel would be entitled to Remain Over Night (RON) allowances unless such services (food, lodging, ground transportation) are being provided to vendor personnel by the Government. The vendor pilot and aircraft will remain at their designated field hub(s) throughout the Mandatory Availability Period (MAP). The pilot will likely be utilizing the same accommodations as field crews, which may include rustic field camps, hotels, or remote lodges. It is important that vendors be familiar with maintaining multiple aircraft operating in remote locations, and that vendor personnel are comfortable working and living with field crews in remote parts of Alaska with minimal services available. NOTE: Figure 1 is included in PDF file titled (INTAK Annualized Inventory Request for Information) REQUIREMENTS The intent of this request is to determine market capacity and cost estimates for aviation support of the Interior Alaska inventory. The USFS is interested in obtaining information to help determine logistical considerations for project operations under two different scenarios: Scenario A: Three (3) helicopters will support the project, moving between hubs as needed. Under this scenario, each helicopter will have a 94-day Mandatory Availability Period (MAP) and 219 estimated flight hours. A typical day will see one 3-person crew and one 2-person crew fly to two different sites on two separate flights. Actual payload (passengers + internal cargo) for a 3-person crew is 725lbs. Scenario B: Five (5) helicopters will support the project, moving between hubs as needed. Under this scenario, each helicopter will have a 90-day MAP and 102 estimated flight hours. A typical day will see one 2-person crew fly to one site. Actual payload (passengers + internal cargo) for a 2-person crew is 515lbs. Under either scenario, an optional use period of up to 10 days may be exercised with mutual agreement between the Contractor and the Government. Availability During each Mandatory Availability Period (MAP) each helicopter(s) shall be made available for the exclusive use of the Government. Availability is required 14 hours per day, generally between 0700 and 2100. Personnel Each aircraft shall be staffed 7 days/week throughout the MAP with a qualified pilot. A single helicopter mechanic will be required to be on duty during any helicopter MAP, available to assist with routine or unscheduled maintenance as needed. To best support multiple helicopters in this capacity, the mechanic may remain at the Host Base in Anchorage or Fairbanks, AK, with the capability to travel to the various remote hubs where helicopters are operating, as needed. Contractor may select appropriate personnel schedules to ensure aircraft availability. Relief crew costs shall be the responsibility of the Contractor. Mission Profiles Typical mission profiles will include passenger transport with internal cargo to and from remote, unimproved landing zones. Pilots must be comfortable operating out of unimproved landing areas utilizing maximum performance takeoffs and landings, in confined spaces, with uneven HOGE surface conditions, during periods of inclement weather, gusty winds, and smoky conditions. Vendors and pilots must be comfortable shutting down aircraft in the field on a daily basis while  the Government completes project work. The use of qualified pilots with experience operating under conditions and terrain similar to those in Alaska is required to safely provide adequate performance under a variety of hazardous conditions. Internal Cargo Required payloads for each proposed project scenario are identified above. These payloads include passenger weights plus a 60L backpack per passenger, one 15L dry bag, one shotgun (38” long), one field equipment bag (24”x12”x12”), one metal soil probe (42” long), and one ammo can (11”x4”x7”). Aircraft Equipment Integrated satellite phone Tundra pads High skid gear Programmable VHF-FM radio First aid and survival kit (~25lb) Some missions may require operations beyond gliding distance from shore which will require additional equipment to meet contract specifications. The USFS does not anticipate a need for multiple aircraft to meet the configuration standards for flights operating beyond gliding distance from shore. Consider these specifications in your response, as indicated in the Aviation Information section, below. REQUESTED INFORMATION USFS is interested in identifying vendors who have experience operating and maintaining rotor wing aircraft in remote, mountainous environments with frequent poor weather events during the operating season, similar to those found across Alaska, with qualified personnel comfortable with maximum performance takeoffs and landings from unimproved landing zones in confined spaces, and capable of providing professional services while living and working in sometimes austere conditions. Company Information Company name Company mailing address Company point of contact (name & title) Point of contact's telephone numbers and email address Aviation Information: Company name (if different from above) Operational experience and capacity Describe or include documentation of your company experience with rotor wing operations supporting Government projects, based from field camps or remote lodge while providing for routine and unscheduled aircraft maintenance. Describe pilot experience operating in conditions similar to those described above. Please complete the Interagency Load Calculation form (Attachment 1) for each proposed aircraft, under the following conditions: Outside air temperature of 30°C 2,500’ pressure altitude Flight crew weight of 200lb Full fuel capacity for these conditions (7lbs/gal per the national flight rate chart). Weight reduction listed on the national flight rate chart (attached) Aircraft equipped weight with all equipment listed above under ‘aircraft equipment’ including an estimated 25lb survival kit, as required while operating on government contracts. Please fill out (Attachment 2 Cost Estimates) based on your company’s interest in either proposed project scenario. Please provide availability estimates in today’s dollars. Optional: provide any further aircraft documentation, website links, or relevant aviation experience information. RESPONSE GUIDELINES Companies who wish to respond to this RFI (to include Requested Information,  Attachments 1 and 2) should send responses via email no later than Noon, Mountain Standard Time, November 30, 2023 to Jermain.compton@usda.gov.

Contact Information

PrimaryJermain Compton
jermain.compton@usda.gov
Attachments
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