DynCorp International (DI) has been awarded a new contract to continue supporting the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) aviation program. Work will be performed at McClellan Park in Sacramento, California and aircraft are deployed across 13 air tactical and 10 helitack bases throughout the State.
The competitively awarded contract has a three-year base period with two one-year options for a total potential value of $352 million, subject to legislative appropriation.
DI team members will continue to provide line to depot-level maintenance on CAL FIRE’s fleet of 57 aircraft including S-2T air tankers, OV-10A aircraft, UH-1H helicopters, S-70i helicopters, and A-200CT King Air training aircraft. DI also provides full flight operations, with pilots, for CAL FIRE’s fixed-wing fleet of aerial firefighting aircraft including the new-to-them HC-130H aircraft that are in the process of being converted from Coast Guard missions to firefighting air tankers with internal gravity-powered retardant tanks. Pilots for the helicopters are CAL FIRE employees.
Aircraft maintenance services include repair, overhaul, modification, and manufacturing of airframes, engines, propellers, helicopter rotating components, and various aircraft parts and components.
The FAA in their very brief preliminary information about the incident said the landing gear on the S-2T air tanker collapsed as it was landing at the airport near Fortuna 15 miles south of Eureka. The FAA described the damage as “minor”.
A recording of radio traffic from the incident posted on the Redheaded Blackbelt website included this:
Tanker 96 hit the ground. Left tire is popped. Like to request Fortuna Fire Department. Additionally, Tanker 96 is off the end of the runway. Currently out of service.
Six minutes later when Rohnerville Fire Department was called out, the dispatcher said it was “non injury”.
We will update this article after CAL FIRE releases information.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Bean. Typos or errors, report them HERE.
Another new Sikorsky S-70i Firehawk has been delivered to CAL FIRE’s base at Sacramento McClellan Airport. John Vogel spotted it May 21, two weeks after Paul Filmer photographed it being flight tested at the Centennial, Colorado Airport. It is helicopter 205, N485DF, and “VINA” can be seen near the engines.
Coulson Aviation has received a contract from the U.S. Air Force to install retardant delivery systems on the seven HC-130H aircraft that will be operated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). Coulson teamed with Lockheed Martin who will install the tanks at Lockheed’s facility in Greenville, SC.
Coulson has been installing their version of a 3,500-gallon gravity-powered internal RADS retardant system in C-130Q and C-130H aircraft since at least 2013. It can be installed or removed in a few hours after the modifications are made to the plane.
On December 27, 2013 President Obama signed the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act which directed the Coast Guard to transfer seven HC-130H aircraft to the U.S. Forest Service. The legislation also directed that the Air Force spend up to $130 million to perform needed routine and heavy maintenance on the aircraft and to convert them into air tankers.
In November Coulson bought five C-130H transport planes from the Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency (NDMA) and will convert them into firefighting air tankers. The formal takeover is planned for the end of this year or early in 2020.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Brett and Kevin. Typos or errors, report them HERE.
CAL FIRE plans to purchase up to 12 Sikorsky S-70i firefighting helicopters
(Above: CAL FIRE’s Firehawk helicopter 903 at Centennial Airport southeast of Denver on the weekend of October 5, 2019, shortly before it was delivered to CAL FIRE in Sacramento. Photo by Kevin Falkenstine.)
Helicopter 903, with “McClellan” painted on the side, will be able to carry up to 1,000 gallons of water in an external belly tank. Other features include a 9,000 pound capacity cargo hook, 360-gallon fuel cell, night vision compatible lighting, rescue hoist, augmented reality mapping system, and retractible drafting hose. It can cruise fully loaded at 130 knots (150 mph), or 150 knots (173 mph) unloaded.
Each of CAL FIRE’s new Firehawks costs about $24 million which includes pilot training and a two-year warranty.
The three photos seen here that were taken out of doors are by Kevin Falkenstine. He spotted the aircraft on the weekend of October 5 flying near the compass rose at Centennial Airport, which is where United Rotorcraft is located southeast of Denver.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Jack. Typos or errors, report them HERE.
It is #NationalAviationDay! To celebrate we want to show you a little bit more about the aircraft CAL FIRE uses to help us continue our mission of protecting the people and property of California. Watch the video to learn more about the OV-10 Bronco! pic.twitter.com/a27H0zIDqw