BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: Dauntless Air

Updated: Sep 13

At Dauntless Air, our mission is to protect people, land and property against the growing threat of wildland fire.

Based in Appleton, Minnesota, Dauntless Air is the leading U.S. operator of the AT-802F Fire Boss aircraft, the amphibious scooper air tanker purpose-built for rapid and direct initial attack aerial firefighting.


The small, nimble Fire Boss can quickly get off the ground, arrive early at a fire start, and maneuver effectively to the fire’s frontline to drop continuous loads of water on a fire for 3.5 hours straight, without returning to base like larger retardant dropping air tankers. The Fire Boss can drop more water than the much larger DC-10 in an hour. The key to doing this is the airplane’s ability to scoop directly from a water source nearby the fire scene.


A Fire Boss aircraft responding to a wildfire.

The Fire Boss aircraft is the most efficent firefighting and cost-effective resource for rapid and direct initial air attack on the region's wildfires. Europe is well ahead of us on this front.
— Brett L'Esperance, CEO, Dauntless Air

Dauntless works to protect communities against wildland fire through initial response strategies that utilize rapid-attack aircraft on the front lines – in combination with, and often ahead of, ground fire suppression equipment and personnel.


The goal is to contain fires early and keep them small. This allows ground crews to put out blazes more efficiently, helping to limit wildfire devastation and the ever-increasing costs of fire suppression, thus freeing up funds for the federal and state restoration and forest management work that helps prevent catastrophic fires in the first place.