An MQ-1 Predator UAV supported firefighters in their efforts to control the huge California Rim Fire in August-September, according to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI). The company noted that the UAV’s more-than-24-hour endurance offered a “value-added capability” over helicopters, which ground commanders had relied on previously but are required to refuel every two hours.
A UK inquest has convened to investigate the death of Steve Mills, chief fire officer at Cotswold Airport (EGBP) in western England. The jury heard testimony last week that confirmed the officer died when a five-foot cylinder of compressed gas exploded as he tried to remove it from an airport structure he was involved in rehabbing. According to testimony, other firefighters previously expressed concerns about safety precautions being taken during removal of the cylinders, but were later put at ease about the process by Mills. The chief was working alone when the cylinder exploded.
One of the largest and longest-lasting wildfires in the Midwest significantly taxed available helicopter assets, destroyed nearly 100,000 acres and sent smoke plumes into the sky that could be detected by satellites and smelled as far as 450 miles away in Chicago. Across Lake Superior, parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula were enveloped in dense smoke for days.
Bristow is offering a new six-day course, “Wildland Fire Orientation for Rotary Wing Pilots,” covering “basic knowledge of fire behavior, wildland fire operations and the role of helicopters in fire suppression and prescribed burning.” Students will participate in two modules developed by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG): S-190 Introduction to Fire Behavior and S-130 Firefighter Training.
Comlux USA, a maintenance, overhaul, completion and refurbishment center in Indianapolis, was back at work on Monday following a fire a day earlier that damaged the roof and one corner of its maintenance hangar at Indianapolis International Airport. The extent of fire damage to the facility and to four business jets in Hangar 5 is still being assessed, Comlux Aviation Services division CEO David Edinger told AIN.
In the wake of a stinging critique issued by the Los Angeles County Fire Department after last year’s Station Fire, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is reviewing its ban on most nighttime aerial fire fighting. The Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest raged for nearly two months before it was contained, but not until it had destroyed 250 sq mi of forest (160,000 acres) and 96 homes.
Bristol, Tenn.-based Edwards & Associates (Booth No. 3981), an affiliate of Bell Helicopter, is delivering a second new Bell 412 to the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) at Heli-Expo’09. The company delivered the first 412 last November. The two 412s are replacements for the two 1966 UH-1s that Orange County put in service in 1995.
On March 25, 1911, the worst factory fire in the history of New York City erupted in the three floors occupied by the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in a tall building on the northwest corner of Washington and Greene streets in Greenwich Village. The fire began in the cutting room on the eighth floor shortly after 4:30 p.m. and, fed by thousands of pounds of cotton fabric, it spread rapidly.
Winners of this year’s Sikorsky Award for Humanitarian Service talk to Curt Epstein about the past, present and future of helicopter use in firefighting. Click here to watch.
As first presented to the public, the Bush Administration appeared ready, willing and able to open the homeland defense purse strings to allow first responders–police, EMS and firefighters–to purchase and operate a fleet of new law enforcement and parapublic mission-configured rotorcraft.
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