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Monday, June 1, 2009

Rotorcraft Report: Columbia Fights Fires

PUBLIC SERVICE | FIREFIGHTING

One of Columbia Helicopters’ Model 234 Chinooks continues to fight forest fires in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, despite the cases of swine flu in that region. "Our people are taking the precautions recommended by the CDC," said Dan Richards, Columbia’s flight operations administrator. "Our people have face masks and are washing their hands."

This is the company’s first forest fire job south of the U.S. border. It is flying Chinooks and Boeing 107s on a 30-day subcontract with Vertical Aviation of San Antonio and SCALA Helicopters of Mexico. The Model 234 and its crew are based at Cancun.

The Model 234 Chinook deployed in Mexico can lift 28,000 pounds at sea level. It is hoisting a 2,650-gallon SEI Torrentula Bambi Bucket equipped with the Powerfill System. The bucket is suspended at the end of a 200-foot long line. To allow for water pickups without having to completely submerge the unit, the bucket is equipped with four high-speed pumps. These allow the bucket to be filled in less than two minutes from water sources as shallow as 18 inches deep.

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