Coulson ships a CH47D to Bolivia on an Antonov

Coulson CH47D Antonov AN 124 Bolivia
Coulson photo

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 CH47D Antonov AN 124 Bolivia
Coulson photo.

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.

Coulson CH47D Antonov AN 124 Bolivia
Antonov AN 124. Coulson photo.
Coulson CH47D Antonov AN 124 Bolivia
Coulson photo.
Coulson CH47D Antonov AN 124 Bolivia
Coulson photo.

Antonov AN-32P Firekiller

Antonov AN-32P
Antonov AN-32P. Photo by Vladimir Kalinin.

This is an air tanker that we were not familiar with until today. The Antonov AN-32P Firekiller air tanker received its type certificate in 1995. It is a variant of the AN-32 which was first produced in 1976. According to Antonov, a state-owned company in Ukraine, it can carry 8 tons which translates to about 2,000 gallons.

Antonov An-32P Firekiller emergency jettison training
Antonov An-32P Firekiller, emergency jettison training. Photo by Oleg Belyakov.

Below is an excerpt from the Antonov website:

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“This aircraft was developed on the basis of the AN-32 commercially produced transport and it is capable to perform the following missions for the forests conservation and protection: extinguishing the forest fires with the special fire liquid; airdropping the smoke jumpers, their equipment, special aids, equipment and cargoes to the area of forest fire.

The design performance of the aircraft have been confirmed during more than 10 years of operation. After discharging 8 tons of fire extinguishing liquid from two groups of tanks of the aircraft, from the altitude of 40-50 m at a speed of 240 to 260 km/h, a water spot of 120-160 m long and 10-35 m wide with concentration of the liquid exceeding 1 liter per sq. m is formed on the ground. Discharging the fire agent may be done simultaneously (in a single discharge) or serially from two tanks of one board, than of the other board, with an automatic delay or with manual control.

Two airplanes were used to extinguish the high-elevated forest fire in the vicinity of Yalta (Ukraine). The experience of their application (about 100 flights over mountain terrains) showed a high efficiency of these aircraft.

Three aircraft AN-32P were sent to Portugal for the experimental operation. A high intensive work (each airplane used to perform up to 10 or even 12 flights daily) resulted in a total of 545 fire fighting flights. The performance and fire fighting effectiveness of the aircraft were highly appreciated by the specialists who participated in the test operation.

In absence of fires, the aircraft can be converted (within the airfield conditions) into a standard cargo variant for airlift.”

Antonov AN-32
Antonov AN-32