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In a lot of countries now any helicopter that impacts on any sort of "urban interface fire fighting", which actually means any helicopter that flies over a built up area, must have a belly tank. The politicians have got involved in this and these rules are becoming standard practice because of the "chance" that a bambi bucket or the like could jettison and land on some poor smuck on the ground, and therefore the Govt gets sued etc etc.


Just look at the machines that Rural Fire Service have put on contract around Sydney, Cranes and belly tank equipped Bell 214s. Word is that the pressure from pollies in Federal and State Parliament is that they dont want anything with a bucket hanging underneath flying over the suburbs.


**** last year in Canberra, we had everything we could find, Seahawks, BK117s, AS350s, Kmax, Cranes, AS350s, Bell 206s, Bell 205s, and Bell 204s, and all of these except the Crane had buckets. If it wasnt for these aircraft we would have lost over 1000 houses, and not just the 600 we did lose.


Every type has its place and each can support the other. Will be interesting to see how it works everywhere else around the world.


Heli Ops

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I ended up driving back from Cowtown tonight, got the Mrs on the Jet, so dropped by here to take my lumps....


I have to take offense to a few comments,

Frequent Flier says .."some cowboy screwing up the circuit trying to lap everyone",, you have no idea what was happening in the "circuit" in KNP. I was beside a belly hooked 212, and all was fine, then he decided that the dip site was unacceptable and moved a 1/2 mile further downstream, what was I to do? follow him to a site that I tried out and deemed poor, or stay in my little waterhole in the tall trees? I lapped him, but don't be using the cowboy word unless you know the facts. There was only 2 of us, and we were always talking. If you have some 407 time, you'd know that it's a fast and powerful little aircraft, and doesn't always fit alongside some lower powered types. When on other fires, I had problems coordinating with a BA, but the pilot is an old friend, and a pro, so we worked out the speed differences by using different dip sites, or he let me by when required. I don't normally work a big fire, so don't know the politically correct procedures to follow, I'd rather be on IA any day.


Deep Throat, I lost my bucket, it's true, first time in 25 years, but I got it back, and used it another 100 hours that season. Not too much iron came off the fire to help out, although every one was offering help. We snagged a company L3 for moral support. Dan in the Venture 205 kept bucketing on 13 after a flyby and a very kind offer of assistance, HUF showed up at the end of the bucket ordeal (You??) but had some radio issues to deal with and took a few minutes to unload gear etc. The fire crew had a hoot hanging out by the river, so all in all it was a good time. The cause of the misfortune was a loose clevis, we missed lockwiring one, and after dozens of hours of bucketing ..it worked itself free.


Nomex, The guy you were referring to was a good 'ol boy, no problems ever working beside him, he threw the longline on in YRV, and did a great job. Some of my comments were of issues that did not happen on your fire.

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Blackmac, I've done quite a bit of bird-towing, and in some fairly harsh environments. It can be a brutal job, but very rewarding when it's done. Certainly requires the most concentration of anything I've ever done, and it requires it every minute of every day - not just when picking up or setting the load.

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Quite the debate. :) In the rocks, well long-lining would make things easier, and can make the a/c more effective, as long as the driver is competant.


Some things to think about. Dual controls while carrying passengers (ie IA, or moving crews). Do you think it's a good idea, or safe ?? I don't. Besides many companies prohibit this practice. So for some it's illegal (if it isn't against the CARS already, I'm too lazy to check).


Downwash affects the fire. True, it does, but when the water comes out of the bucket does it not create a small downwards airflow of it's own ?? I've watched it, and it wasn't my downwash, since that was just starting to create ripples on the surface of the lake. I am not arguing that the downwash isn't less on a long-line, just that the water being dropped will create it's own airflow.


Accuracy ?? Depends on the driver. I've seen guys bucketing off of the belly (and long-liners too) who could hit a dime. I've also seen guys who couldn't hit a frikken barn. As for speed, some are faster than others. I've seen guys who've gone out and milked a fire, and where the bucket was hooked up didn't make a difference.


Do your best, be efficient, be flexible, and do it safely. As VR mentions, it is our tax money we're collecting after all.



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As a new pilot to all this I think Long Lines are great for fires, I like to use the bucket hooked to the belly at the start of a fire and then go to the long line for precision and to keep the (DW) to a min. And that is all I have to say on that. :up: :PB)

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