PZL-Swidnik’s W-3A Sokol helicopter received its type certificate from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) last month. The company initiated the procedure, it said, because several European operators are using the 14,000-pound mtow, twin-engine helicopter for firefighting. Sokols are currently flying firefighting missions in Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Fires are a huge and growing problem in Spain and its islands, as they are throughout southern Europe. As many as 250 aircraft–the vast majority of them helicopters–are currently involved in fighting bush and forest fires around Spain. One of the country’s biggest contributors to this annual effort is Helisureste (HS), based in Alicante on the country’s Mediterranean coast.
Heavy Lift Helicopters is close to finalizing the design of the tank system for its ex-U.S. Marine Corps CH-53D Sea Stallion conversion. However, the U.S. Navy has withdrawn from an agreement to supply up to six airframes that would have provided components to keep the two “Fire Stallions” operational.
At press time, FAA certification of the Bell 210, a single-turbine medium helicopter derived from the military UH-1H Huey, was imminent. Bell Helicopter begins with a refurbished UH-1H fuselage and adds Bell 212 dynamic components and an FAA-certified Honeywell T53-517B turboshaft engine. The result is a zero-time, commercial off-the-shelf helicopter with a useful load of 5,000 pounds.
Kaman Aerospace has launched the Firemax, a K-Max medium-lifter equipped with a 700-gallon fixed-tank aerial firefighting rig. Program director Roger Wassmuth said that a U-shaped tank system, designed for quick installation, comes with a hydraulic refill pump that can deliver a 25-second refill time and a dense water column for effective drop patterns.
In the midst of the overwhelming technology that drives much of the business at HAI’s Heli-Expo, it’s sometimes refreshing to find equipment that performs best because of its simplicity.
Take Erickson’s S-64 Air-Crane. It’s sophisticated where it needs to be, yet simple where technology is not required, with 9,000 or more shaft horsepower, payloads of up to 25,000 pounds and a decades-old reputation.
DynCorp International and Temsco Helicopters have scheduled a 12:30 p.m. press conference today to announce their partnership to install and certify the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67D turboshaft engine on the Bell 205A-1.
Erickson Aircrane (Booth No. 1681) recently completed a series of demonstrations for the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LACFD) to illustrate how its Sikorsky S-64 Aircrane can deal with a range of emergency response missions.
Aviation equipment manufacturer Simplex Manufacturing is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and is marking the occasion by commemorating another milestone, delivery of a Model 308 firefighting system for a Bell 407, to the Venezuelan power authority.
Vancouver Island Helicopters has signed up for Aviall’s Logistics and Inventory Flight Team (Lift) helicopter support program, which the operator said is already proving its worth by helping reduce inventory and operating costs. Aviall (Booth No. 3721) created Lift exclusively for the helicopter market as a way of offering inventory services customized for individual operators.