Helitack

October 2, 2012 - 4:05am

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) will resume contract night helicopter firefighting operations in Southern California next year. The announcement was made recently after the USFS evaluated a study it commissioned that was completed in 2010. That study found that helicopter night operations can mitigate the costs and risks of wildfires by retarding their size.

May 4, 2012 - 3:10am

An Oregon jury has awarded William Coultas, his wife and the widow of pilot Roark Schwanenberg $69.7 million in a damages suit brought in the 2008 “Iron 44” crash of a Carson Helicopters Sikorsky S-61N. The verdict puts General Electric alone on the hook; other parties settled out of court before the trial. The helicopter crashed shortly after taking off from a helispot while conducting firefighting operations in Northern California. Schwanenberg and eight others aboard the helicopter died.

March 6, 2011 - 5:00am

Bill Coultas still struggles to make sense of what happened.

March 30, 2010 - 12:04pm

In the wake of a stinging critique issued by the Los Angeles County Fire Department after last year’s Station Fire, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is reviewing its ban on most nighttime aerial fire fighting. The Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest raged for nearly two months before it was contained, but not until it had destroyed 250 sq mi of forest (160,000 acres) and 96 homes.

October 30, 2009 - 7:16am

The investigation into last year’s fatal crash of a 1965 Carson Helicopter Sikorsky S-61N is beginning to take on the tenor of a high-stakes suspense novel.

February 20, 2009 - 7:39am

It was an unusual report that swiftly sent the Grand Canyon National Park Helitack–this year’s winner of the Igor I. Sikorsky Humanitarian Service Award–into action last August 17. “In the early morning we got a report that there were five boats floating down river with no passengers on board,” said Jay Lusher, helicopter program manager for Grand Canyon National Park.

February 19, 2009 - 11:08am

It was an unusual report that swiftly sent the Grand Canyon National Park Helitack–this year’s winner of the Igor I. Sikorsky Humanitarian Service Award–into action last August 17. “In the early morning we got a report that there were five boats floating down river with no passengers on board,” said Jay Lusher, helicopter program manager for Grand Canyon National Park.

August 29, 2008 - 1:05pm

With the recent wildfires in Northern California reaching historic proportions, the human toll rose as a helicopter ferrying an 11-member firefighting crew from the front lines crashed on August 5, resulting in nine fatalities (see story on facing page).

July 8, 2008 - 8:53am

Summer means fire season, and Columbia Helicopters’ tandem-rotor Chinooks and Vertols have already been dispatched to their bases, primarily throughout the Western U.S., under contracts with the U.S. Forest Service.

October 9, 2007 - 5:05am

BELL B206L-3, WHITERIVER, ARIZ., JULY 26, 2003–At 10:34 a.m. MST Bell Long-Ranger N6184D, operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) at Fort Apache Indian Reservation under Part 91, was destroyed after crashing near Whiteriver. The commercial pilot and one passenger died in the crash and two passengers were seriously injured.

 
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