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Sun, Dec 23, 2007

Alternative Water Tank Available for K-MAX Fire-Fighting Helicopters

Aerial firefighters operating Kaman K-MAX helicopters now have a new, highly efficient alternative water-drop system available for use when fighting forest and rangeland wild fires. 

The new system features a 700-gallon carbon fiber tank developed by Isolair, Inc., a Troutdale, Ore., based helicopter applications manufacturer, and Rainier Heli-lift, a Kirkland, Wash., operator of Kaman's K MAX medium-lift helicopters. The new tank, developed as an alternative to the K-MAX's existing fire-fighting water tanks, received a Supplemental Type Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration early in the summer.

"This year's extreme fire season has proven the exceptional value of effective airborne firefighting," said Terry Fogarty, Director, K-MAX Programs for Kaman Aerospace Corp. "Having new and highly efficient equipment to combat the fires makes the helicopter an even more valuable tool."

Key features of the Isolair tank: 

  • The fully baffled, U-shaped tank can be quickly installed on the helicopter, giving operators the ability to rapidly alter aircraft configurations when mission requirements change.
  • The tank can be filled to its 700-gallon capacity in less than a minute as the helicopter hovers over a water source.
  • Water drops are controlled by the pilot, either as a full capacity drop, or sequenced as multiple drops from the same water load.
  • The tank's U-shape and its internal water baffles, which prevent excessive surging of the load, result in more stable flight characteristics and greater safety for the aircraft and pilot.

The K-MAX was designed specifically for repetitive external lifting in harsh environments, including high altitude and hot weather. A fully loaded Isolair tank weighs less than 6,500 lbs -- well within the K-MAX's lifting capacity. Kaman Aerospace Corp. is a subsidiary of Kaman Corp.

FMI: http://www.kamanaero.com/

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