(Above: Coulson S-61 helicopters, N161CGD and C-FXEC, in Los Leones, Chihuahua, Mexico August 31, 2019. Coulson photo.)
Coulson Aviation announced Saturday night that the company has secured a contract with the Bolivian Ministry of Defense to provide three Type 1 helicopters to assist the firefighters that are battling wildfires.
After a few flight legs in the Western United States, two of the company’s S-61 helicopters departed from Tucson on Saturday August 31 and shortly thereafter crossed the border into Mexico.
An update appeared on Coulson’s Facebook page Sunday afternoon:
FLYING TO BOLIVIA!
The first two helicopters, S-61’s N161CG and C-FXEC are en Route to Bolivia and have just departed Saltillo, Mexico.
The crews have a long few days ahead of them, XEC started its journey in Yakima, WA while 161CG was in Elko, NV when we signed the agreement. Immediately both aircraft flew to San Bernardino, CA to load up and begin the long 4,900 NM journey to Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
The third aircraft will be leaving shortly, although taking a very different route!
They did not specify which aircraft the company will send as the third helicopter. In addition to S-61s, Coulson has recently been converting CH-47s and Blackhawks into firefighting machines. But they also have at least one more S-61, registered as C-FIRX. Having three of the same model in South America would simplify maintenance, spare parts inventory, and repairs.