Coulson Aviation announced on August 31 that the company had secured a contract with the Bolivian Ministry of Defense to provide three Type 1 helicopters to assist the firefighters that are battling wildfires.
Shortly thereafter two of the company’s S-61 helicopters departed from California to begin their multi-day ferry to South America.
On September 4 the third ship began its journey from the airport at San Bernardino, California. Here’s what the company wrote on their Facebook page, along with these photos they posted:
The Coulson Unical CH-47D, N47CU, was loaded onto the Antonov this afternoon after a long night and morning of teardown. To fit in the airplane the blades, both the forward and rear drivetrain, and the rear pylon needed to be removed. This is a huge task to accomplish in such a short time but the team came through and will get some well deserved rest on the flight down.
Coulson has partnered with Unical Air, a new unit of the Unical Group of Companies to create a heavy lift helicopter joint venture company that will build and operate Boeing CH-47 and Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk aircraft for aerial firefighting and other markets. We interviewed Britt Coulson about this venture at the HAI Heli-Expo in Atlanta, March 5, 2019.
Little information is available about a reported forced landing made last week by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) air attack plane, 52 Uniform.
The Cessna 206 was on a fire recon mission when the pilot reported a mechanical malfunction and was forced to set down in the Black Bear Swamp northeast of Butte Falls. Both occupants of the aircraft escaped injury, but the plane was severely damaged.
There is a report that both men walked away, literally hiking out to meet personnel on the way to assist them.
The accident occurred around August 9. We will update this article when personnel at the ODF return our calls.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department announced that they are going to purchase two additional Firehawk Helicopters. Adding two to their fleet will bring the total number of Firehawks up to seven. The Department also has five Bell 412 ships — three are the EP model and two are HP.
The last two Firehawks LA County ordered are still being outfitted for firefighting and should be operational in the next two to eight months.
Two scooping air tankers on lease from Canada are due to arrive in the County September 1.
Victoria’s ability to reload Large Air Tankers (LAT) has been bolstered by establishing the capability for the first time at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) military air base located in Sale, Victoria, Australia. (map)
An RJ85 nicknamed Boomer, is available in East Sale today (January 11) and Saturday, and could be deployed based on conditions and other requirements across the state.
To ensure Victoria has protection, a New South Wales-based LAT will move to Victoria during this period. This has been made possible with strong cross-border partnerships with NSW.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said East Gippsland had experienced very dry conditions following two record dry winters and in the last 24 hours experienced considerable lightning activity.
“Ground and air crews continue to work on the Rosedale fire, and while it is contained the underlying dryness and forecasted conditions, a LAT positioned at Sale would support the firefighting effort in the event of a flare up,” he said.
“If required this LAT will continue the work the other LATs and night helicopter firebombing operations have had on the Rosedale fire since Friday in support of ground crews.”
LATs can only operate at a limited number of Victorian airbases because of their size. They can operate from Avalon, Mildura and now Sale. Albury, in NSW can also accommodate the LATs if required.
Having the LAT based at East Sale will mean reducing the turnaround time for refueling and loading of retardant or water.
“The updated seasonal outlook confirmed the forecast of an above normal fire risk in East Gippsland. Given this, arrangements were put in place to be able to use the RAAF base if required,” he said.
“This was made possible due to the strong and ongoing partnership between the Australian Defense Force and Emergency Management Australia.”
Victoria’s Large Air Tankers are state strategic assets that are based at Avalon Airport but can be deployed across Victoria according to need and the identified risk.
They form part of Victoria’s core aerial fleet of 49 aircraft available for the summer season which includes a mix of water bombing aircraft, air supervision, and aerial intelligence gathering aircraft.
Victoria also has a surge capacity of up to 100 aircraft that can supplement the core fleet when needed.
Above: Screenshot from video shot by Jim Watson, Pilot of T-850 GB Aerial Applications, over the Horse Park Fire.
Jim Watson, pilot of the GB Aerial Applications single engine air tanker T-850, shot this video while flying over and dropping retardant on the Horse Park Fire in southwest Colorado May 28, 2018. He was working with Lead 28.
These in-cockpit videos by the Modular Airborne FireFighting System aircraft are great. If you look VERY closely you will see two puffs of smoke from the lead plane, marking the beginning and end of the drop.