Utah contracts for two Type 1 helicopters

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Exclusive use for 90 days

Croman S-61 dropping water
File photo of a Croman S-61 dropping water during a demonstration in Sacramento in 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands has contracted with Croman Corporation to add two Type 1 helicopters to the state’s wildfire suppression resources.

This is the first time Utah has had an exclusive use contract for Type 1 helicopters.

“This is a greatly needed addition to our firefighting toolbox here in Utah,” said Mike Melton, the division’s aviation officer. “Along with the assets provided by our federal partners, these helicopters will improve our initial attack and large fire support capabilities.”

The exclusive use contract will be for up to five years, with each aircraft under contract for 90 days each year during the period from June 1 until the end of September. Both SH-3H (S-61) aircraft will be available to respond to wildfires in July and August.

This year the first aircraft became available for state use on June 15.

One of the helicopters will carry water in an external bucket, and the other will have a fixed tank with a capacity of approximately 800 gallons.

The first helicopter to come online will be stationed out of the Cedar City Air Center, with the second one’s location to be determined later when it becomes available.

Along with the aircraft, three seasonal helicopter managers have been hired who have federal agency experience managing this type of aircraft.

The helicopters will be dispatched out of the interagency fire centers throughout the state. They will also be available for use by the Forest Service, BLM, and other federal land management agencies within the state.

Croman tank
Croman S-61 with modified tank for dropping small bags of water during a demonstration in Sacramento in 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

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3 thoughts on “Utah contracts for two Type 1 helicopters”

  1. Well, gotta start somewhere. And certainly better than nothing. Don’t think a tanked S-61 is going to get you much with a density altitude over 9,000′. Plus they are expensive if you figure cost per gallon dropped.

  2. Let’s not mention that they wrote cheaper, more efficient (k-max, black hawk, super puma) helicopters out of the contract to score a deal on a horrible helicopter for Utah firefighting. They could have had 2, maybe 3, type 2 helicopters for that price and delivered more water to any fire, with an expanded IA capability, than these helicopters. Waste of Utah taxpayer money.

  3. A tanked 61?????? LOL! Yeh, that’s gonna be cool up to about 6000′ msl. Please, what a joke.

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