Erickson S-64 Aircrane returns to Chile
Erickson Incorporated has returned to serve the citizens of Chile in the Bío Bío Region. The aircraft, an S-64 Aircrane, will be brought in by Ecocopter, a Latin American national company of high complexity air services and cargo transport to provide services to the company ARAUCO with the aim of protecting population and industrial centers.
Erickson owns the world’s largest S-64 Aircrane fleet of 20 helicopters with more than 50 aircraft in all, and the Aircrane Helitanker is recognized throughout the industry as one of the most efficient and largest fire-fighting machines in the world, according to independent studies. The S-64 Helitanker is equipped with a 10,000 liter tank capable of snorkeling via a “sea snorkel” fresh or salt water that helps provide an outstanding capability for fire authorities in both the initial attack of fast moving fires and advanced structure protection. It has internal foam mixing capabilities and provides water or retardant dispensation utilizing eight coverage levels. The aircraft can be configured with a water cannon for high rise and structure protection.
As populations and development expand, aerial firefighting over residential properties and structures becomes a more crucial part of the equation. Erickson’s S-64 not only excels at supporting ground firefighters in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), but the aircraft is capable of dipping for water in areas a fixed wing cannot access, and it is able to come in slower and lower for precision placement of the water on and around residential properties and structures.
Every S-64 Aircrane has a nickname painted across the nose and “Annie” will be on the current contract, the sister helicopter of “Elvis,” which served the contract in early 2017, providing services mainly in the Seventh and Eighth regions. “Annie” has a vast history of responding to natural catastrophes and fire control in the United States and Europe, especially recent events in the state of California, in the municipalities of San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Rosa.
Armando Weinberger, commercial manager of Ecocopter, affirmed, “Having the presence of “Annie” in Chile, at the beginning of the fire season, showcases how the forestry industry is taking anticipated measures to prevent it from repeating the natural events that occurred during the previous season.” A study, conducted this last summer by the National Forest Corporation, (CONAF) found the S-64 Aircrane was chosen as the most efficient aircraft for Chilean firefighting, for all helicopters and airplanes and that the Aircrane offers 100% proficiency against other leading aerial firefighting machines. Andrew Mills, Erickson President of Commercial Aviation said, “We appreciate the trust of our agency partners and customers and will endeavor to do our best for the people of Chile. Erickson has nearly 50 years of legacy experience in aerial firefighting and we are proud to bring our capable pilots, crews and “Annie” back to help mitigate fire damage.”