View from helicopter while fighting Placerita Fire

This is the view from the cockpit of a Los Angeles City Fire Department helicopter while fighting the Placerita Fire Sunday in Southern California.

L.A. City Council questions why maintenance issues prevented two helicopters from responding to a wildfire

LA CITY HELICOPTERS
A Los Angeles City Fire Department AW139 sits atop LAPD’s Hooper Heliport, still recognized today as the busiest heliport in the world. Photo by Ryan Mason.

This article first appeared at Heliweb.com. It is used here with permission.

By Ryan Mason

Councilors from the Los Angeles City Council have demanded answers from the city’s general services department that is responsible for maintenance of both the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) A-Star fleet and the city’s fleet of Leonardo AW139’s and Bell 412 helicopters, giving administrators a two week deadline to outline why the backlog of maintenance occurred and to also detail any backlogs that exist regarding the fleets of the LAPD and Department of Water and Power for comparison.

Los Angeles City Fire is scheduled to receive another Aw139 in the coming months as the department cycles out the remainder of Bell 412 helicopters operated by the fire department for the much larger AW139 that is fitted with a belly tank for firefighting duties. the LAFD recently donated one of the departments Bell 412 helicopters to the LAPD to use for speacialty training and deployment that will likely fill the gap left when the department pulled their last remaining UH-1H from service several years ago.

The general services department released a statement late last week reaffirming their commitment to ensuring that all LAFD helicopters were returned to service as quickly as possible and that all backlogs would also be cleared as soon as they could be completed.

Armed forest officers and soldiers in China work with Mi-26 helicopter

A website in China has a photo story about “armed police forest officers and soldiers” working with the largest and most powerful helicopter to have gone into series production. The Russian-made Mi-26, according to Wikipedia, can carry 90 troops, 60 stretchers, or 44,000 pounds of cargo. But the site also has this:

On 19 August 2002, Chechen separatists hit an overloaded Mi-26 with a surface-to-air missile, causing it to crash-land in a minefield, killing 127 of the people on board.

Below is an excerpt from the article at the Chinese 81.cn website, very roughly translated by Google:

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“May 26, in the hinterland of Daxinganling in Heilongjiang Province, the armed police officers and men are taking the opportunity to organize.

On May 26th, in the Baghdad area of ​​Heilongjiang Province , the Arsenic Daxinganling Forest Detachment and the Jiagedaqi Aviation Station jointly carried out the M-26 heavy-duty helicopter carrier heavy-duty remote transport. Patrol. Dragon Boat Festival approaching, forest tourists increased, the fire situation is grim, the resident armed police forces with the forestry sector to carry out the plane patrol, increase the fire inspection efforts to improve the rapid response to sudden forest fire and air transport heavy equipment capacity.

It is understood that the patrol ride M-26 heavy helicopter, is still the world’s most important service, the largest helicopter, known as the air “Big Mac”, the cabin load and outside the plug are called The world must be.

Aviation forest is the world’s more advanced means of forest protection, as the protection of Heilongjiang Province Daxinganling forest area of ​​professional armed forces, Daxinganling area forest detachment to actively explore the “helicopter + armed police force” way, air command, air patrol, cable (slip) Fire fighting, remote transport fire fighting and other tactics have been applied to the forest fire and fire, greatly improving the ability to carry out the task.”

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All photos are from the 81.cn website.

Mi-26 helicopter firefighters Mi-26 helicopter firefighters

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Isaac.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Air resources assisting crews working San Diego-area Gate Fire

Air resources continued to play a major role in containing the Gate Fire burning in San Diego County since Saturday.

The fire grew to 1,500 acres by Sunday morning, though crews made progress overnight, aided by cooler temperatures and higher humidity levels, Cal Fire reported. No structures have been damaged, and no injuries were reported.

Five airtankers and three helicopters were making drops on fire at one point Saturday, said Cal Fire Capt. Isaac Sanchez, according to the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper. Fire crews from several agencies were helping on the ground.

Evacuation orders lasted into Sunday.

Nevada Forestry and National Guard helicopter bucket training

Personnel from Nevada this week conducted aerial fire suppression and water bucket training on the heels of a wet winter and ahead of what could quickly turn into a very active summer for area firefighters.

Training throughout the week included several scenarios that mirrored real situations.

“In advance of what promises to be a challenging fire suppression season, this training aims to improve interagency crew cooperation and interaction, especially communication between ground and air crews,” National Guard spokesman Sgt. 1st Class Erick Studenicka said, according to the Record-Courier newspaper. 

A bucket drop test during training with the Nevada Division of Forestry and Nevada National Guard. Courtesy photo.
A bucket drop test during training with the Nevada Division of Forestry and Nevada National Guard. Courtesy photo.

Empty water bucket contributed to New Zealand helicopter crash

New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) has determined that an empty water bucket contributed to the cause of a fatal helicopter crash on February 14, 2017.

David Steven Askin was piloting a helicopter for Way To go Heliservices working on a wildfire near Christchurch when it went down in the Port Hills.

Steve Askin
Steve Askin. Way To Go Heliservices photo.

The TAIC determined that a cable from the water bucket struck the tail of the Eurocopter AS350-BA.

The TAIC explained:

In the early afternoon, one of the helicopters, a Eurocopter AS350 ‘Squirrel’, registered ZK-HKW, crashed while the pilot was returning to the dipping pond to refill the firefighting ‘monsoon’ bucket. The helicopter was destroyed and the pilot was killed. Evidence shows that the likely cause of the crash was the empty monsoon bucket swung back into the tail rotor, damaging the tail rotor and causing the loss of the vertical stabiliser from the tail boom. After the loss of the vertical stabiliser, the helicopter gradually rolled to the right and descended until it struck the ground.

The TAIC’s investigation was aided by video from a camera mounted on the aircraft which showed the bucket swinging up toward the tail as the helicopter was enroute to a dip site.

Below is an excerpt from the Stuff website:

An abbreviated mayday call was heard by several pilots about 2.05pm, but it was not clear which radio frequency the call was made on.

The air attack supervisor asked for a role call of all aircraft involved. Askin did not respond.

After a brief search, another pilot found the wreckage of Askin’s helicopter on a steep slope near the head of a gully east of Sugarloaf.

According to TAIC’s report, the helicopter had struck a steep, tussock-covered slope. Main rotor strikes on the slope indicated the helicopter had tumbled further down the slope.

TAIC recommended several solutions, including using heavy ballast slings, and having someone monitor the operation from the ground.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Chad.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.

One dead after helicopter makes emergency landing in South Korea

A firefighting helicopter crew member died Monday during operations in the Gangwon Province of South Korea.

According to The Korean Times, the man “passed out as the aircraft made an emergency landing in Samcheok.” He was pronounced deceased after he was transferred to an area hospital, and early indications suggest the helicopter was forced to land after striking a high-tension power line.

At least 60 helicopters and 10,000 people have been mobilized for firefighting efforts in three areas, and residents across the region were urged to evacuate, the Korea JoonGang Daily reported.