This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
to three or four calls for initial attack in a single day.


CAL FIRE’s helitacks are self-contained units that consist of a pilot and fire captain in the cockpit, and six seasoned firefighters with their fire captain stationed in the aft-compartment. The helicopter carries all of the gear and tools the crew may need to battle a wildland fire, along with the bucket or tank the pilot needs to drop water and foam on the fire in support of the ground effort.


To handle California’s higher elevations and hotter conditions, a dozen Bell UH- 1H helicopters were transformed into “Super Hueys” by being specially refitted with T53-L-703 Cobra engines and main transmissions, 205A/212 tail booms, 212 main rotor and tail rotor systems, and FastFin vertical tail modifications. With a gross operating weight of 10,200 lbs., and a cruise speed of 126 mph, they are well suited for initial attack.


PILOT EXPERIENCE & TRAINING Helitack pilots are highly experienced. They come from diverse backgrounds: military, utility, law enforcement, and EMS. New pilot applicants must have a minimum of 2,000 hours as PIC (500 of those hours must be turbine with routine landings in mountainous terrain above 4,000 feet) 250 hours performing low-level missions, and 100 hours carrying sling loads.


To stay sharp, helitack pilots train through a number of scenarios throughout the year. CAL FIRE’S maintenance facility is housed at the former location of McClellan Air Force Base. Bell Helicopter sends its senior instructors there to conduct emergency procedures training for helitack pilots. The pilots are pitted against hours of in-flight failures and full-down auto rotations. Additionally, separate rescue training uses the internally mounted UTC Aerospace Systems hoists. New CAL FIRE pilots attend the USFS Wildland Fire Training Center to hone real-world tactical execution and decision-making skills nine ATC cockpit simulators.


in rotorcraftpro.com 41


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54