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for a few reasons. Donley explains, “First, avgas was becoming more expensive, and for the firefighting mission the piston S- 58 had fallen out of favor. We were able to pick up a couple S-58Ts and once we started operating them we knew we had a winner. It had power even when we went high into the mountains, and the PT6 en- gine (1,870 hp) was well known for relia- bility and ability to go to its TBO.” With the "new" S-58Ts, Heli-Flite was now able to bid on firefighting contracts that required moving firefighters and using a 420-gallon Bambi bucket. ARIS pilot Steve Bull, who started with Heli-Flight nearly 20 years ago, describes the S-58T as a very stable firefighting platform with great visibility and good altitude perform- ance. “When we go higher and hotter we need to cinch the bucket a bit, but in most conditions the helicopter stays strong. We have been on contract with the state of Oregon, and work routinely with the US Forest Service and CALFIRE on a call when needed basis.”


When it comes to lift jobs, the S-58T routinely lifts 4,000 - 5,000 lbs, even on warm days. In the Los Angeles basin, where many jobs originate, ARIS can guarantee 4,500 - 5,000 lbs of load lift in almost any condition. Bull explains what’s involved in lifting one single piece of equipment to a high- rise building in downtown Los Angeles. The planning is extensive. “First, we do a job walk by physically visiting the site to verify the building location, meet the customer, and confirm the date and time along with what we are lifting, such as a new 4,400-lb generator to the top of a 20- story high rise. We look at where the unit is going to be set in place as well as where we will be lifting the unit from. The flight could originate from a loading dock or from the street, and usually will require a momentary street closure, which means a street-use permit will be needed. In addi- tion, we also look for unmarked hazards such as power lines, roof top antennas, banner and phone lines that may cross the road, or loose sheet metal and roofing ma- terial. Anything that could become air- borne from the rotor wash, or become entangled with the helicopter or the load being lifted, must be identified and se-


26 November 2013


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