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Fame

An air tanker pilot career won't exactly make your name a household one. In fact, if you do your job well, and don't crack up the plane, no one outside the industry will know who you are. If you're involved in a really spectacular firefighting effort, say one that saves an entire neighborhood from rapidly encroaching flames, your team might get a mention on the local news. 

If the reporter has a flair for the dramatic, you might even get a team shot next to the planes. Just don't expect to see a flood of Facebook friend requests just because your name appeared on TV for three seconds in super tiny font.

On the other hand, let's say you're a hot dogger, perhaps with an aerobatics background, who gets his jollies taking more risks than anyone else. You fly into smoky canyons when you can barely see past your wingtips. You perform ridiculous dives toward the ground at over 100 MPH, dropping your load just a few feet above the treetops, and pulling up just before the plane stalls and you wipe out. 

Maybe someone flying an illegal camera drone too close to the fire will snap a video of it destined to go viral on YouTube. It's a long shot, but then again, so is keeping your job as an air tanker pilot after flying even one off-book maneuver.

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