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RCP_0709_p34-48:Product Focus 8/12/09 1:03 AM Page 41
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Each of Columbia’s aircraft is equipped to control the gates on the bucket to best
with an SEI Torrentula Bambi Bucket meet the requirements of the Incident
with Powerfill System. Each bucket con- Commander. The pilot can drop the entire
tains four high-volume pumps, and is de- load in one massive spot drop, open and
ployed at the end of a 180-foot long line. close the bucket gates to create a series of
This self-filling bucket system allows the smaller spot drops, or partially open the
pilots to access nearly any water source, gates in forward flight to create a fire line.
including tree-lined streams or ponds. Pilots can also use the bucket to drop short
When fighting fire, the pilots are able or long-term retardants.

bucket, while the smaller 107-II has a
crew of 8 and uses a 1,100-gallon bucket.
“In light of the heat wave that we’ve
been experiencing throughout Oregon and
Washington, we were pretty sure that our
aircraft would be called upon to help fight
fire,” said Columbia Helicopters’ Presi-
dent, Mike Fahey. “These aircraft were
able to deploy rapidly, and are now at
work assisting the ground crews in extin-
guishing the fires.”
The company currently has three air-
craft working on fires in Oregon, two in
California, two in Washington, and one in
Lillooet, British Columbia. The four He-
lifor Canada aircraft include one Colum-
bia Model 234 Chinook and three
Columbia 107-II helicopters, which are
fighting fires at various locations around
British Columbia.
One aircraft, a Columbia 107-II, is tak-
ing part in a new program being tested by
the Forest Service. The helicopter and
crew are part of a three helicopter “Strike
Force” that will perform Initial Attack op-
erations.
“These helicopters will respond to a fire
as quickly as possible after it is reported,”
said Keith Saylor, Fire Operations Man-
ager for Columbia. “They will then work
together to do everything they can to ei-
ther put out the fire or to minimize growth
before other assets arrive.”
The 107-II is the largest of the three he-
licopters assigned to the Strike Force,
which is tentatively slotted for assignment
out of Tiller, Oregon.
www.ROTORCRAFTPRO.com • July 2009 41
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