State-owned Aviation Industry Corp. of China (Avic) brought its Avicopter rotorcraft unit to Heli-Expo for the first time.
Wildland fire suppression
Portland, Ore.-based Simplex (Booth No. N2511), known for its unique, easily convertible aerial firefighting spray booms, announced that it is teaming with Advanced Helicopter + Rescue Techniques (AH+RT), also Portland-based, to provide rotary-wing aerial firefighting and technical rescue training, including turnkey solutions for customers.
After nearly two months of record forest fires from Michigan to California, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) added four more leased heavy helicopters to its firefighting fleet in late June. The additions include two Sikorsky S-61s from Siller Helicopters, an Erickson S-64 Air-Crane and an S-70 from Firehawk Helicopters. A spokesman for Erickson said that last year the company had six helicopters flying USFS contracts; this year that number is eight. The USFS said the helicopters will be used for large-fire support and in the initial assault both to drop retardant and support ground crews.
The fatal crash of a Neptune Aviation Services Lockheed P2V (callsign “Tanker 11”), while doing fire suppression work on the White Rock Fire near the Nevada-Utah state line on June 3, has caused the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to reexamine its firefighting capabilities in the region. The NTSB is investigating the accident.
Simplex Aerospace recently received FAA STC approval for its third-generation, high-pressure Aerial Cleaning System (ACS), used in the cleaning of power-line insulators and windmill blades. ACS, which consists of a belly water tank and a side-mounted nozzle boom, is certified for use on Eurocopter AS350 and AS355 helicopters. (A 120-gallon, second-generation power-wash system is also certified for the Bell 407.)
Simplex Aerospace is adapting its third-generation Aerial Cleaning System (ACS) into an aerial firefighting system for high-rise buildings. Ground-based firefighting equipment can reach only the first 11 floors of a high-rise, leaving an obvious gap in the ability to contain fires in higher up floors, Simplex vice president of sales and marketing Larry Lichtenberger told AIN today at Heli-Expo.
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.
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.
Simplex Manufacturing of Portland, Ore. (Booth No. 1547) announced here yesterday it has delivered one of its next-generation fire-fighting systems to Hafei Aviation Industry, a subsidiary of Harbin Aircraft Industry Group in the People’s Republic of China.
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