We are proud to support Forest Service fire suppression with a range of helicopters. From dropping water and retardant to carrying cargo and crews, Columbia’s fire fighting capabilities are broad and our experience deep.
Columbia Helicopters has a robust firefighting capability that includes two CH-47Ds equipped with the world’s largest internal tanks. The two aircraft recently completed their first successful firefighting season, working alongside other Columbia aircraft. Whatever aircraft or equipment our customers choose, Columbia delivers effective, cost-effective fire fighting helicopters, equipment and crews.
Columbia Helicopters flies two Boeing CH-47Ds with Fire Attack Systems (FAS) internal water tanks. The system includes a 2,800-gallon internal tank with a 140-gallon retardant reservoir and a 12-foot-long, 10-inch diameter hover pump. Water can be dropped in less than four seconds and refilled in less than 60. The system was developed for installation with minimal aircraft provisioning, making installation fast and cost effective.
Heavy-lift helicopters use buckets to carry and deploy up to 2,650 gallons of water and chemical retardants, and our Boeing CH-47Ds have the lowest cost per gallon delivery of any fire-fighting helicopter. SEI Torrentula Bambi Buckets each carry four high-speed pumps that can fill buckets in less than 90 seconds from water sources as shallow as 18 inches.
Our fire fighting helicopters are equipped with concentrated short term retardant foam in an onboard holding tank, which—when necessary—can be added to the water by the pilot en route to the drop zone. Our pilots can also access long-term retardant from batch plants established at the fire.