This iPhone video shows a Los Angeles County Firehawk (Blackhawk) helicopter refilling its tank by snorkeling water from a lake at Angeles National Golf Club while working on the Wheatland Fire.
British Columbia TV station CJDC produced this story at Fort St. John, British Columbia featuring a Bird Dog (aka lead plane) and one of Air Spray’s L-188 air tankers.
“We have done our research, and it’s clear that aggressively investing and further developing unmanned aerial systems into agriculture will enable Air Tractor to remain an industry leader and provide the latest technology to ag producers as UAS capabilities mature and are integrated into the industry,” said Jim Hirsch, President of Air Tractor.
Sensors available on the Yielddefender aircraft include near infrared and will “soon” enable 3-D mapping and thermal imaging. The company designs their systems for “real estate agents, farmers/ranchers, search and rescue, mining, oil and gas, forestry and many more”.
I wonder if Air Tractor is looking way down the road at converting the 802A into an autonomous UAS night-flying crop duster.
— Ely Echo (@elyecho) May 23, 2016
Judging from the photo above and another that we first used at Wildfire Today (duplicated below), it appears that a Chinook helicopter with an internal water tank is being used on the Foss Lake Fire in northeast Minnesota. This may be a first.
In the photo above you can see the draft hose coming out of the side of the helicopter as the ship descends over the lake. And below, the water appears to be exiting the helicopter from the center of the belly.
— Ely Echo (@elyecho) May 20, 2016
Above: An Erickson Aircrane reloads with retardant while fighting the Beaver Fire in northern California, August 12, 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.
Last year Erickson had eight Type 1 firefighting helicopters, Aircranes like the one above, on exclusive use contracts with the U.S. Forest Service. There are none on the new contract that was issued February 26.
While it may be only partially related to losing those eight contracts, Erickson Inc. is struggling financially. Their stock, (EAC) that reached a 5-year high of $28.10 on May 13, 2013, has dropped like a stone since early in 2014 and Friday closed at 99 cents.
In 2012 and 2013 the company went on a buying spree, and purchased two companies that had a total of 78 aircraft. When Erickson acquired Evergreen Helicopters, Inc. (and their 64 aircraft) and the Brazilian company Air Amazonia (and their 14 helicopters), they no longer qualified as a “small business” and lost their eligibility to compete for the federal firefighting contract. Evergreen Helicopters had 400 employees. Last year Erickson laid off 150 workers.
Below is an excerpt from an article at Oregon Live:
…Erickson is not a big player in oil and gas. But it has its own problems. It recently lost a crucial wildfire fighting contract with the U.S. Forest Service. It also borrowed heavily three years ago to buy the helicopter business from Evergreen Aviation in McMinnville, only to see the U.S. defense business that was Evergreen’s forte go into a tailspin.
The toll on Erickson’s financial performance has been dramatic.
The company lost $10.2 million in 2014 and another $86.7 million in 2015. So far, 2016 has brought little relief, with Erickson losing another $26 million in its first quarter…
Erickson had six aircranes working in Australia during their 2015/2016 summer fire season. There are still nine Sikorsky helicopters similar to the Aircrane that are on contract for the next one to four years in the United States. Helicopter Transport Services has five and Siller has four. The models are CH-54A, CH-54B, SK-64A and SK-64E.
Above: South Dakota National Guard Blackhawk helicopter drops water during training at Angostura Reservoir. Photo by Bill Gabbert.
Four blackhawk helicopters and seven South Dakota National guard helicopter crews were put through their paces Friday at Hot Springs Municipal Airport and Angostura Reservoir. The flight crews were evaluated on dipping water from the lake, dropping it across, up, and down slopes, communication with firefighters, and hot refueling.
Firefighters on the ground practiced radio procedures with aviation resources, describing where water drops were needed.
This annual certification is required by the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Interior and allows South Dakota National Guard Blackhawk helicopters to respond to wildland fires.
In the video below, Ray Bubb of the South Dakota Wildland Fire Division describes the annual wildfire training.
Тренировочные прыжки парашютистов-пожарных Авиалесоохраны. Фотография Валерия Короткова 2002г. #леснойпожар #лес #пламя #героизм #парашютисты #десантники #огонь #пожар #лесной_пожарный #лес #avialesookhrana #Forest #fire #firefighter #smokejumpers #лесныепожары #bomberos #авиация #firefighterslife #героизм #пламя #helicopter #widlandfire #widlandfirefighting #aviation #airguards #aviales #экстрим #air #plane #sky #bombeiros #авиация #авиалесоохрана
Google attempted to translate the caption:
Practice jumping parachutist-firefighters Avialesookhrana. Photo Valery Korotkov, 2002