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Bambi Bucket Improvements


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Hi guys, although a bit off season I would appreciate if some of the pilots involved in firefighting operations that have used the new torentula valve or the power fill systems ( I or II) could enlight on how those systems perform, if they are reliable and if once you install a powerfill, still can sink the bambi if there is enough water in the pond.

Thanks in advance and once again Feliz Navidad.

Buen vuelo

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Hello Matador;


Although have not personally used either the powerfill or torrentula valve here is some of the feedback I have heard;


Torrentula when first came out was heavy and didn't work that well but apparently performs better now, although is still rather heavy compared to a regular bambi.


The powerfill option on the torrentula valve bucket if you check, needs a greater depth of water to pickup from then the external powerfill pump on regular bambi.


Have heard great things about the external pump on a regular bambi, fills in less water, same reliable dropping mechanism, and less weight than the torrentula valve model. You can pickup water basically wherever there is a mud puddle(or hot tub) around, also if used in conjuction with a longline makes sucking out of someone's pool a heck of a lot safer as your not blowing every thing around with your downwash.


If you deal with a lot of grass or bush fires which require long drops then maybe the torrentula valve would be better suited to your needs as you don't have to modify your speed so drastrically to extend the drop, just squeeze a bit off at a time. Have used the old waterboy and griffith buckets and this was a really nice feature on SOME fires. You will have to judge that for yourself, as to spending that extra money is always tough don't worry about your competitors opinions as many times they base their opinion on what they own, your customer's satifaction and your performance will affect their opinion faster than a silver bullet.


Good luck

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We've used the Erickson Downunder Slingtank for over a year, and it has some noteable advantages over the Bambi (tho' we still carry the trusty Bambi as a spare!).


Slingtank is similar size and weight to the Bambi, but packs away vertically instead of folding sideways. It has variable fill, controlled from a cockpit panel (just dial up the %, and increase as fuel burns off); multiple drops (valve opens as long as the solenoid activates, stops when you let go the button); bottom fill; self contained foam tank; foam mix outside the bucket (no contaminated water sources if you stop foam drops); certified for stores carrying (double up as a sling load to remove equipment); four strong points for emergency personnel evacuation; and variable drop concentration, by controlling the amount the doors open, giving from a fine spray to a concentrated dump.


The control head also stores and downloads drop numbers and water dropped for later print out (good for the stats!). Total weight about the same as a Bambi, but includes a foam tank for the same weight (and price).


No affiliation or interest in the company (they're my competitors!), web site is here.

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BK117-B2. Quite popular down here, ours was the first BK to fire fight, about 7 years ago. Now about 6 of them firefighting (including a Kiwi who flies across the Tasman :rolleyes: ), and a bunch around the eastern seaboard on EMS/rescue work.

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Thanks a lot for the info.

Skullcap: I understand that you still can sink the bucket if you have enough deepness of water even with the electric pump attached to it? so that you can use both systems to fill it up without any modification...

I completely agree with you that once the performance increase is shown to the customer, the rest of the operators will join to the new improvements.

Heli: I've seen pictures from Ned Dawson showing how the BK's are doing down there and I see your Sling Tanks doing quite a nice job. My company finally is planning on getting one of them to see how it performs and in case it's good enough we might change to Ericson Downunder system, and we are talking about 30 firefighting mediums helicopters, so it might be quite a difference in the years to come on this type of operations in Spain. If we take into account that together with the companies of the group we operate around 80 mediums in firefighting operations we could be talking about a big investment in case the tank really means an advantadge. We'll see how things come out, for now we're trying to compare and decide which system will perform better for the type of fires we have around here.

Thanks once again and buen vuelo. :up:

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You may want to check with Columbia - see the inside front cover of Heli-Ops magazine - shows a Chinook with the Powerfill/Torrentula - that photo is from summer fires at Kootenay Nat Park and the Powerfill did work well - it could suck from some pretty small and shallow pools - something like 18" deep I believe. I recall some problems with the valve getting stuck on release, from debris that was sucked up, but when it worked, it worked well.

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Further point re the Tarantula & Powerfill systems: my understanding, from our Australasian distributor, is that they are relatively large bits of kit, and shouldn't be considered for anything smaller than a B205 bucket.


On the Slingtank, the weight saving alone is notable, bearing in mind that it combines the Bambi bucket and the Sacksafoam unit into one, thus relieving the necessity to have a foam line running down to the bucket from the aircraft. Space saved inside the cabin as well, all helps :)

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Yes you can still sind the bucket in the same manner with the powerfill system as with a regular bambi, as the pump is outside and offset the bucket a little. In my point of view a nice option as you can add a little more water to the bucket if not quite full such as filling from a small river or stream.


Please stay in touch with which system you use and how it performs.




Not sure by what you mean by weight savings, the info I have for the 240 us gal job is that the sling tank is 35 lbs heavier than a bambi, does the sacs a foam kit add that much to the bambi? I guess if you add the line down to it it would be close though. If you have some actual numbers I'd really like to hear about them, we are seriously looking at the sling tank. What about packing it up as it folds down into a round package, any problems with storage in the a/c ?


Thanks for the help.

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