The Ideal Fire Fighting Aircraft
We’ve specialized in fighting wild fires since 1967; dropping water and chemical retardants from helicopters ranging in size from Sikorsky S61s to the Columbia Model 234 Chinook. We match water buckets to each helicopter’s lift capabilities. We currently use a 1,300-gallon bucket for our Vertol 107-II, and a 2,650-gallon bucket with the larger Columbia Model 234 Chinook—making the Chinook the lowest cost per gallon deliverer of any fire-fighting helicopter.
Bubble windows on both the pilot and copilot sides give our operators a clear view of what’s below them, so they can fill buckets and center themselves over drop areas more effectively. Once the aircraft is over the fire, our pilots are able to drop the water in a variety of ways. They can create a massive fire line by partially opening the bucket while in motion; they can open and close the gate to deploy a series of spot drops; or they can take out hotspots with one massive, precision spot drop.
The Best Equipment for the Job
Our SEI Torrentula Bambi Buckets are equipped with the Powerfill System. Each bucket carries four high-speed pumps that can fill it in less than 90 seconds, from water sources as shallow as 18 inches. And each bucket is slung 200 feet below the helicopter, so our pilots are able to access tree-lined streams and ponds, backyard swimming pools, or other restricted-access water sources.
We also employ the use of portable dip tanks, which are 5,000-gallon tanks on wheels that can be easily filled nearby and pulled by truck or helicopter to the fire, acting as improvised bucket-filling sources for our pilots.
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.
Click here to visit our Fleet Page.
Firefighting since 1967, we match water buckets to each helicopter's lift capabilities.
Fire Fighting Video
Our crews use a CH-47D to fight fire just below a steep cliff.
Watch Firefighting from Inside the Cockpit
Thanks to a very small camera on the pilot's helmet, you can see what our crew see as they fight fire using a Columbia Vertol 107-II and bucket.