Helimax Aviation completes first bucket telemetry system

Helimax Aviation has successfully completed the development, installation and testing of its underslung bucket additional telemetry unit (ATU) onboard tracking system on its CH-47D aircraft, currently deployed near Sydney, Australia.

Now in use on Helimax's CH47D aircraft, its underslung bucket ATU onboard tracking system will now allow tracking of 2,000 gallons of bucket data to the same requirements of aerial tanks. Helimax Aviation Photo
Now in use on Helimax’s CH47D aircraft, its underslung bucket ATU onboard tracking system will now allow tracking of 2,000 gallons of bucket data to the same requirements of aerial tanks. Helimax Aviation Photo
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Helimax Aviation has been working with Trotter Controls, the leader in telemetry units to develop onboard underslung bucket tracking.

“Slung buckets present a range of unique challenges, and Helimax’s commitment to solving them has enabled us to deliver a pioneering and practical solution,” said David Coward, DataVault product manager for Trotter Controls. “We’re able to generate the full range of telemetry messages (start, engine on/off, takeoff/landing, hover entry/exit, drop/refill) giving the CH-47 the identical telemetry capability of any tanked aircraft.”

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“We are focused on giving our customers what they need to keep up with technology and better approach aerial wildland firefighting,” said Patrick Pilolla, business development director for Helimax. “The underslung bucket remains an important tool in the firefighters’ toolbox, and we want to ensure it is updated to give agencies the best value per gallon/liter delivered. This now allows tracking of 2,000 gallons (7,570 liters) [of] bucket data to the same requirements of aerial tanks.”

Helimax has added this to further improve its SEI power fill bucket. It has also replaced the power fill impeller and motor with an electric Kawak unit for increased reliability and ease of maintenance.

Each ATU will record and transmit its data via TracPlus and the Iridium network, and per aerial tank requirements for the USFS and NAFC. This data is to include times, latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, drop start and stop, volume on board, and volume dropped.

4 thoughts on “Helimax Aviation completes first bucket telemetry system

  1. I hope doing all bean counting allows time to put the fire out. The tail is definitely wagging the dog. Who put the metrics wizards in charge?

  2. Your going to track the water out from the bucket ….. mmmm seems….. useless and a waste of time, energy and manpower. Maybe spend more time on getting up out of bed in the early morning and lifting off as soon as legal and hitting the fire hard before flare up. Lets bring back the Canadians to show us how its really done effectively and safe.

  3. The requirement to have telemetry comes typically from the customer, not the operator. It enables the customer to quantify firefighting capabilities and, just as importantly, justify to the taxpayer with facts and data what they are paying for. As for getting up earlier, you really need to get to a fire base when under way, no one sleeps late.

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