Erickson aircranes in Australia and ready for duty!
15 October 2013
Kestrel is off to a flying start with the arrival in Australia last week of the first two aircranes for the season- Gypsy Lady and Ichabod- in the back of a Russian Antonov cargo aircraft.
In response to the unexpectedly early declaration of the NSW fire season, Erickson went to extraordinary efforts, spending close to $1m to hire the aircraft to bring the aircranes from Greece, to ensure adequate firefighting resources.
Not only has the season started earlier but predictions are for continuing warm and dry conditions. The Erickson aircranes’ high volume water bombing capacity and advanced delivery systems will significantly enhance the efforts of on-ground firefighters.
Kestrel has been awarded a contract for up to five years by the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) to provide aerial firefighting services using the aircranes in Victoria, NSW (two aircranes each), South Australia and Western Australia (one aircrane each). The six Erickson aircranes that will service this contract are identical E-model aircraft. The E-model is faster so can turn over loads more frequently than the higher volume F-model. Having six identical aircraft also means there will be scale and service benefits including commonality of spare parts.
Under the five year agreement, Erickson will provide the aircranes, pilots, spare parts and maintenance services, while Kestrel will provide on-ground support and co-ordination from its operations base in Central Victoria, liaison with the government and firefighting services, and in-air servicing from its own helicopter fleet.