AviationWA

2012/13 Bush Fire Season – Western Australia-based aircraft

4 December 2012 © David Eyre & Brenden Scott

SPOTTER: American Champion 8GCBC Scout (Department of Environment and Conservation-DEC)

The Department of Environment and Conservation uses a fleet of American Champion 8GCBC Scout aircraft as fire spotter aircraft for forest patrols in the south-west of WA. They are based at Jandakot, Bunbury, Dwellingup and Manjimup, and fly across areas set each day according to the forecast fire weather conditions. The aircraft fly more hours during the hotter months (around 3,500 hours) due to the increased fire risk. They also supervise waterbombing operations in the south-west, relaying information to fire controllers regarding the fire’s behaviour to assist in firefighting and ensuring the safety of fire crews.

Each aircraft uses the callsign “SPOTTER” followed by their individual number, e.g. VH-DXM is “SPOTTER 643″.

SPOTTER 640 / VH-LKQ
SPOTTER 641 / VH-DXZ
SPOTTER 642 / VH-KTG
SPOTTER 643 / VH-DXM
SPOTTER 644 / VH-CVI
SPOTTER 645 / VH-BKH
SPOTTER 646 / VH-DXL
SPOTTER 647 / VH-LKV
SPOTTER 648 / VH-FMN
SPOTTER 649 / VH-DXU

RIGHT: SPOTTER 641 / VH-DXZ American Champion 8GCBC Scout at Jandakot on 27 October 2012.
Photo © David Eyre

BOMBER: Air Tractor AT-802 & AT-602 (Dunn Aviation)

Dunn Aviation Australia provides fixed-wing fire bombing aircraft – the Air Tractor AT-802 and AT-602 for water and fire retardant dropping. Dunn Aviation has been contracted by Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES, formerly Fire and Emergency Services Authority -FESA). Its aircraft are also contracted out to other states to perform firebombing and agricultural duties.

Based at Jandakot, Bunbury, Manjimup, Albany.

BOMBER 600 / VH-NIW AT802 “Sink the Pink” (crashed and still on the register – ATSB reported it “seriously damaged”)
BOMBER 601 / VH-DUQ AT802
BOMBER 602 / VH-NIY AT602 “Forever Young”
BOMBER 603 / VH-NIN AT802A
BOMBER 604 / VH-DUN AT802A “Ian Leslie” Jandakot-based
BOMBER 605 / VH-NIZ AT602 “Rock n Roll” Albany-based
BOMBER 606 / VH-NIA AT802A
BOMBER 607 / VH-DUJ AT802
BOMBER 608 / VH-DUA AT802 “Magic”
BOMBER 609 / VH-DUW AT802A – Jandakot-based
BOMBER 610 / VH-JID AT802 “Chop” Jandakot-based

RIGHT: BOMBER 604 / VH-DUN Air Tractor AT802A at Jandakot on 27 October 2012.
Photo © David Eyre

 

FIREBIRD:
Eurocopter AS350B2 Squirrel (HNZ Australia);
Eurocopter Bo-105LS-A3 (Heliwest)

HNZ Australia and Heliwest provide aerial command and control helicopters to coordinate firefighting operations, and can be seen circling high above the fire and firefighting aircraft.

FIREBIRD 610 / VH-WDI Eurocopter AS350B2 Squirrel – Bunbury-based?
FIREBIRD 620 / VH-WCO Eurocopter AS350B2 Squirrel – Perth Airport

 

RIGHT: FIREBIRD 610 / VH-WDI Eurocopter AS350B2 Squirrel of Helicopters Australia (now HNZ Australia) at Perth Airport in April 2010.
Photo © David Eyre

FIREBIRD 625 / VH-XRG Eurocopter Bo-105LS-A3 – Jandakot-based (Air Intel) – Fitted with Wescam MX-15i high definition FLIR turret, laser mapper and microwave transmitter.

RIGHT: FIREBIRD 625 / VH-XRG Eurocopter Bo-105LS-A3 of Heliwest at RAAF Pearce Air Show – 19 May 2012.
Photo © David Eyre

 

HELITAC:
Eurocopter AS350B3 Squirrel (HNZ Australia);
Sikorsky S-61 (VIH Helicopters, Canada);
Sikorsky S-64E Skycrane (Erickson Air-Crane, USA)

Small, medium and heavy fire fighting helicopters are leased from the above operators each fire season.

HELITAC 668 / VH-WCN Eurocopter AS350B3 Squirrel – Blue colours – Fitted with Fire Attack under-fuselage water tank (1,100 L) and pump pack
HELITAC 669 / VH-WCD Eurocopter AS350B3 Squirrel – Red/Orange colours – Fitted with Fire Attack under-fuselage water tank (1,100 L) and pump pack
HELITAC 670 / VH-WCQ Eurocopter AS350B3 Squirrel – Yellow colours – Fitted with Fire Attack under-fuselage water tank (1,100 L) and pump pack
HELITAC 671 / VH-WCX Eurocopter AS350B3 Squirrel – Green colours – Fitted with Fire Attack under-fuselage water tank (1,100 L) and pump pack

 

RIGHT: HELITAC 669 / VH-WCD Eurocopter AS350B3 Squirrel of HNZ Australia, fighting a bush fire very close to homes in Landsdale on 26 January 2011.
Photo © David Eyre

 

HELITAC 681 / C-FQNG Sikorsky S-61N Mk.II Helipro Short – Fitted with Isolair fixed under-fuselage water tank (3,785 L) and pump pack

 

RIGHT: HELITAC 681 / C-FQNG Sikorsky S-61N Mk.II Helipro Short of VIH Helicopters, pumping water into its tanks from a lake in Landsdale whilst fighting a bush fire very close to homes in the background of the photo, on 26 January 2011.
Photo © David Eyre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
HELITAC 682 / C-GHTN Sikorsky S-61N Mk.II – Perth-based - Fitted with Isolair fixed under-fuselage water tank (3,785 L) and pump pack

 

RIGHT: HELITAC 682 / C-GHTN Sikorsky S-61N Mk.II of VIH Helicopters, at Busselton Airport on 3 January 2012.
Photo © David Eyre

 

 

 

HELITAC 738 / N957AC Sikorsky S-64E Skycrane – “Ichabod” – Jandakot-based
- Under fuselage water tank (9,200 L) and pump pack

 

RIGHT: HELITAC 738 / N957AC Sikorsky S-64E Skycrane of Erickson Air-Crane named “Ichabod”, at Fremantle Docks on 1 December 2012.
Photo © Ian Moy

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