Oregon-based Erickson Air-Crane, Incorporated ("Erickson") has provided strong firefighting support during 2006 as the United States endures its largest wildfire season in over fifty years. Erickson's S-64 Aircrane Helitankers have flown significant firefighting hours this past spring, summer and fall, operating on a variety of fires nationally. In August and September, five of its signature orange Helitankers worked heavy flight hours throughout the Northwest, Rocky Mountain States and California. With the arrival of fall, Erickson aircraft are available to fight extraordinary fire conditions at the height of southern California's fire season. Reinforcing its commitment to the North American firefighting effort, Erickson earlier this year shifted a helitanker back to the states from fire operations in Europe.
During one of this season's largest wildfires, the 210,000-acre Derby Fire outside Big Timber, Montana, Helitanker 738 performed a variety of suppression missions protecting homes as well as critical natural resources. From direct water dropping support to aerial fire retardant application, Erickson's proprietary helitanker system time and again proved its worth.
Summer-cured grass and low fuel moistures in mountain forests fed intense fire behavior during the Derby incident. Firefighters had to act fast when flames headed towards high-value real estate, critical wildlife habitat and sensitive natural resource areas. In spite of high winds and heavy smoke conditions that frequently grounded fixed wing airtankers, Erickson's Helitanker was still able to assist fire crews working to protect the many values at risk from the fire.
Erickson's tank system allows for maximum flexibility in meeting suppression needs. On the Derby Fire, Helitanker 738 provided firefighters with high-volume direct water drops, delivering thousands of gallons in rapid turnarounds thanks to the many natural fill sites.
The aircraft readily switched to retardant drops when crews required support for burnout operations or structure protection. Firefighters directing drops benefited greatly from the Erickson pilots' abilities to accurately and effectively apply retardant at various coverage levels.
And on another of the 2006 season's major blazes, southern California's Day Fire, the accuracy and volume of Erickson Helitankers helped protect structures and firefighters alike in late September. "The pilots of Helitankers 736 and 742 really saved our backs with water and retardant drops during a blowup in the Lockwood Valley area one Tuesday afternoon during the Day Fire," said one fire captain from a nearby city.
Erickson continues its commitment to North American firefighting operations as it approaches 15 years of providing the industry's most efficient, high-tech firefighting platform, the Helitanker. Having already flown suppression missions on fires decades before, Erickson, in 1992, introduced the industry's first heavy helicopter water and retardant dropping tank system which created the Type 1 "Helitanker." Now an industry standard, the 2,650 gallon (10,000 liter) variable flow fixed tank system introduced benefits of combining the capacity of a fixed wing tanker with the accuracy and precision offered by a helicopter.
The company also became the Type and Production Certificate holder of the Sikorsky S-64 Aircrane series of helicopters in 1992. Since then, it has supplied several Helitankers to worldwide customers including Italy's Forestry Corps and the Korean Forest Service.
Currently, Erickson is actively exploring options for new S-64 production with a number of different firms. The extraordinary ability and investment in producing these "De Novo" heavy-lift, multi-role helicopters further demonstrates Erickson's commitment to staying a leader in the rotary wing services industry.
Whether saving homes in the crowded urban interface, protecting critical natural resources or assisting in the important reintroduction of fire to ecosystems nationally, Erickson stands ready to meet the challenge. Anytime, any emergency or mission, count on the team at Erickson to maximize your response effectiveness. – less – More from ZoomInfo »