Above: A 2,800-gallon internal water tank in a Columbia CH-47D Chinook. Screen grab from Columbia video.
The last time we wrote about the 2,800-gallon internal water tank for Columbia Helicopters CH-47D Chinooks was April 6, 2016 as Simplex was developing the system soon after they had been granted a supplemental type certificate by the FAA. The tank can be filled in 60 seconds using a pump on a 12-foot-long 10-inch hose. Foam concentrate can be added to the water from a 140-gallon reservoir. The water tank can be rolled onto the helicopter and attached with four bolts. Multiple drops can be selected by the pilot and it has an emergency drop feature.
The tanks were fully operational during the 2016 wildfire season and were used by two of Columbia’s CH-47D’s for a total of 740 hours.
One of their ships was on display during the HAI HELI-EXPO conference in Dallas earlier in March. Thanks go out to Mark Johnson at Columbia for the photo and videos.
When the National Interagency Fire Center started mobilizing aircraft to the central plains after a million acres burned in Kansas and Oklahoma, they dispatched the helicopter you see in the photo above while it was at the conference.
Keith Saylor, Director, Commercial Operations, for Columbia explained that transitioning the helicopter from a static display to a mission-ready firefighting aircraft involved removing the rotor blades, exiting the convention center, then reinstalling the rotor blades. This was followed by a flight to a nearby airport for refueling and overnighting. Called up on March 9, the helicopter was deployed the following day to Ardmore, Oklahoma with two pilots, five mechanics and ground support equipment drivers.
The video below shows one of the CH-47D’s making a water drop.
The next video is a Columbia promotional video, but it has some brief interior shots of the internal tank system.