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Earlier this year, the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USDA Forest Service) – the largest wildland firefighting organization in the country — resumed its external load attach mechanism (ELAM) program and allowed DART Aerospace access to manufacture and sell the rappel hardpoints for the Bell medium directly to industry operators.
DART was recognized as a result of its experience with aerospace product manufacturing and its history building this kit. The company will be responsible for inspecting and documenting the kit in accordance with the ELAM rotorcraft maintenance manual supplement (RMMS).
This kit, which will mainly be used for firefighting operations and the management of public lands in national forests and grasslands across the United States, is now available to the market.
The kit is approved on Federal Aviation Administration supplemental type certificate (STC) #SH261WE, presently owned by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS); approved models appearing on the STC are the Bell 205, 210, 212, 214B and 412.
“We are happy to be working with the USFS to support their important mission,” said Wesley Reid, product manager at DART Aerospace. “Working on projects such as this allows us to leverage our internal capabilities to build high quality equipment while growing our already significant catalog of products in support of firefighting operations.”
The ELAM rappel kit is centrally mounted on the aircraft with a weight capacity of 300 pounds. It is manufactured as a bolted-on permanent installation; only the hard point is offered with the kit.
In addition to the USFS ELAM rappel kit, DART also offers other equipment used in firefighting operations including firefighting buckets, cable cutters, long lines, remote cargo hooks and baskets as well as its own rappel kit for the Bell medium. These kits have been in use for over 20 years by firefighters and law enforcement around the world.