Portland, Oregon — 4/7/10 — Improving over the initial audit that gave the company full certification in 2009, Erickson Air-Crane has received the highest score available for annual surveillance audits performed to ensure conformity to the AS9100 Business Management Standard. The recurring audit, performed by United Registrar Services (www.unitedregistrars.com), involved interviews with 71 members of management, production support, and production personnel including observations and inspections specific to the content of audit.
The results of this year's audit revealed conformance with all items, or 100% conformity to the AS9100 worldwide business management standard.
Maintaining AS9100 certification has been part of Erickson's new strategic plan which also comprises an expansion of service offerings to include a robust aviation MRO business, a greatly expanded training program, and new design and manufacturing concepts.
AS9100 is based on the ISO 9001:2000 quality system requirements. These are supplemented by additional quality system requirements established by the aerospace industry to satisfy DOD, NASA, and FAA quality requirements. The development of the supplemental requirements was the result of an international effort by aerospace companies with a common goal of establishing a single quality management system for use within the aerospace industry. AS9100 is a product of this international effort.
EAC's business management plans have been developed with the goal of enhancing customer satisfaction through the effective application of this international system. AS9100 certification ensures conformance to customer requirements in an environment that promotes continual improvement.
Enhanced customer agreement further demonstrates Aircrane's versatility
HOUSTON, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- HELI-EXPO 2010, February 21-23. Booth: 417 -- In a continuing effort to remain at the forefront of the industry and lead innovation, Erickson Air-Crane (EAC) today announced three major program initiatives that are currently underway: a composite blade program, vacuum lift technology and water usage tracking system. "In 2009 we made a commitment to drive innovation within the industry and expand the versatility of our aircraft within the marketplace," said Udo Rieder, president and chief executive officer of Erickson Air-Crane. "We placed high expectations on what we could accomplish and are extremely proud of the advancements that we've made over the past year. While we continue to lead the space, we're most excited about what we can pass on to our customers and how they can apply new technologies on an everyday basis."
Taking a new approach to aluminum main and tail rotor blades, EAC recently launched an exclusive agreement with Advanced Technologies Incorporated to develop and produce composite blades. With applications for a range of aircraft in addition to the S-64, these blades are designed to increase performance while reducing direct operating costs. While still under development, composite blades are currently undergoing prototyping prior to flight tests. "Erickson Air-Crane is the perfect partner for this program," said Toby Roberts, president and chief executive officer of Advanced Technologies Incorporated. "Erickson Air-Crane and ATI both bring a long tradition of excellence and innovation to the marketplace. We believe that together we can deliver significant value to our customers."
Undergoing final testing, EAC's vacuum lift system incorporates a quick and efficient way to transport pipe sections and pipeline construction equipment. The vacuum lift system is designed for enhanced safety, fitting snugly around the delicate skin of the oil and gas pipe sections without scratching the anti corrosion layer, while also incorporating EAC's patent-pending anti-rotation rigging technology. With the vacuum lift pipe and equipment transport system, the S-64 Aircrane can lift long sections of large diameter oil and gas pipeline. The vacuum lift technology is also capable of attaching to transport Conex or ISO containers, portable housing, and other types of support equipment.
In a recent partnership with Absolute Fire Solutions, EAC is integrating the company's FASTTrack to system to provide greater insight to fire agencies worldwide wide. The new technology offers near real-time, web-viewable data recording and transmission capability for the quantity of water, foam mix, or retardant delivered to specific locations during firefighting operations. Once data has been recorded, FASTTrack has the ability to transmit information over SATCOM and AFF systems for near real-time data viewing.
"We are excited about integrating FASTTrack into our Helitanker fleet," continued Rieder. "Through the collection of this data, we will further enhance our operations while providing even more value to our customer base. Erickson Air-Crane's history as an innovator in aerial firefighting operations continues with our commitment to providing fire agencies worldwide with this powerful new resource management tool."
EAC recently signed a new agreement with the Italian Ministry of Civil Protection. In a relationship that dates back more than a decade and includes leases and purchases of several Aircranes, the Italian Ministry continues to be a valuable partner. Primarily used to fight wildfires in Italy's forest service, Corpo Forestale Dello Stato, the aircraft have proven to be valuable assets.The new agreement incorporates a cost-by-the-hour fleet support program that ensures predictable maintenance cost over an extended period of time. In addition, the new agreement provides the Italian Ministry with Erickson pilots and crews for training both Forestale and Civil Protection personnel.
Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated is the manufacturer and operator of the S-64 Aircrane Helicopter with a fleet of seventeen Aircrane helicopters worldwide and has mobilized its fleet to operate within sixteen countries since 1971. With a lift capacity of up to 25,000 pounds (11,340 kg), the Aircrane is unsurpassed in performance of Firefighting, Civil Protection, Hydromulch Application, Timber Harvesting, and Powerline Construction. Erickson Air-Crane is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Depot with a comprehensive manufacturing capability. Erickson's worldwide fleet of Aircranes are supported and maintained from the MRO and manufacturing facility located in Central Point, Oregon and the corporate headquarters located in Portland, Oregon, USA.
The global aerospace company meets best practices for industrial health and safety to be one of only 1,432 companies in the U.S. awarded SHARP status.
Portland, Oregon, 1/11/10 - The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recognized Erickson as a SHARP employer. The Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), recognized nationwide, acknowledges exceptional companies whose safety and health management programs are determined to be comprehensive and effective to the extent that they are granted a limited exemption from programmed inspections.
Mark Hurliman, VPP/SHARP Program Manager for Oregon OSHA, spoke about the importance of the SHARP program: "For 15 years, the SHARP Program has recognized companies in which employees and Management work together to make safety a major part of how they do business. Erickson Air-Crane has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the program and it is an honor to give this award today."
Jeff Pfeifer, Senior Safety and Risk Manager at Erickson Air-Crane, revealed the unique nature of Erickson's achievement: "The SHARP process typically involves a major commitment of resources and time. Nationwide, only a few companies begin the process, and even fewer achieve SHARP designation. Erickson's achievement is more impressive because we attained SHARP status on the first attempt."
Udo Rieder, President and CEO, commented on the dedication to safety that allowed the company to achieve SHARP status: "Erickson Air-Crane was successful in achieving SHARP status because of a team effort that started with the absolute commitment of top management. Working together with SAIF and OSHA consultants, we made sure that action items were justly corrected rather than masked. The result has been a true culture of change where safety remains a core value at all levels of the organization."
In addition to its SHARP designation, American Society of Safety Engineers and Oregon OSHA awarded Erickson Air-Crane a STAR award at the 2009 conference, acknowledging its significantly improved accident rate over the past three years.
Eric Fraenkel, Vice President, Plant Operations (second from the left) accepts the award along with members of Erickson's Senior Management Team and Safety Committee
Portland, Oregon - 11/5/09 - The Southern Oregon Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) presented Erickson Air-Crane with the 2009 Star Award for Large Employer Manufacturing. One of the highest honors within the nationwide organization, the Star Award recognizes companies that have demonstrated commitment to workplace safety by lowering their OHSA recordable accident rate over multiple years. Erickson Air-Crane has exceeded the qualifications for the award by reducing the number of workplace injuries leading to employee absenteeism by nearly 50% since 2006. Udo Rieder, President and CEO of Erickson Air-Crane, reaffirmed the company's unwavering commitment to safety, stating: "Erickson has made safety a top priority throughout all sectors of the company, from the hangar to the field. We are proud to accept this award as recognition for the strides that our employees have taken to create a safe work environment." Eric Fraenkel, Vice President, Plant Operations, received the award on behalf of the Company along with members of the senior management team and Safety Committee. Numerous other Southern Oregon companies also attended the ceremony.
Founded in 1911, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is the world's oldest and largest professional safety organization. ASSE's mission is to advance the knowledge, skills, and competency of professionals in safety, occupational health, and the environment; its goal is to help protect people, property, and the environment. Southern Oregon's ASSE division received Chapter status in 1995, and is based in Medford, Oregon.
Erickson Air-Crane (EAC) has been awarded AS9100 certification, a world-wide business management standard with a focus on aerospace and aviation. The certification allows EAC to perform new and expanded work for major aerospace suppliers such as Sikorsky, Bell and Agusta among many others.
The new credentials certify that EAC applies quality systems for work it already performs as well as services that are part of the company's new strategic growth plans. They include design, manufacturing, sales, repair, crew training, and operation of heavy-lift helicopters.
"We've worked hard to develop a world class Business Management System," said Udo Rieder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Erickson Air-Crane. "I am particularly proud that our extremely talented team was able to implement the system in just 9 months, far shorter that the usual 12-18 month time frame most companies take" added Rieder.
Qualifying for AS9100 certification has been part of Erickson's new strategic plan which includes expansion of service offerings to include a robust aviation MRO business, a greatly expanded training program and new design and manufacturing concepts.
AS 9100 is based on the ISO 9001:2000 quality system requirements. These requirements are supplemented by additional quality system requirements established by the aerospace industry to satisfy DOD, NASA, and FAA quality requirements. The development of the supplemental requirements was the result of an international effort by aerospace companies with a common goal of establishing a single quality management system for use within the aerospace industry. AS 9100 is a product of this international effort.
The certification was awarded to Erickson after lengthy audits of all company departments to ensure the establishment and practice of a robust business management plan consisting of written procedures for quality control, customer satisfaction, training, documentation, records management and other business management protocols.
EAC's business management plans have been developed with the goal of enhancing customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system. It ensures conformance to customer requirements in an environment that promotes continual improvement.
Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated is the manufacturer and operator of the S-64 Aircrane Helicopter with a fleet of seventeen S-64 Aircrane helicopters worldwide and has mobilized its fleet to operate within sixteen countries since 1971. With a lift capacity of up to 25,000 pounds (11,340 kg), the Aircrane is unsurpassed in performance of Firefighting, Civil Protection, Hydromulch Application, Timber Harvesting, and Powerline Construction. Erickson Air-Crane is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified Repair and Overhaul Depot with a comprehensive manufacturing, maintenance, and repair capability. Erickson's worldwide fleet of S-64 Aircranes are supported and maintained from the administrative and manufacturing headquarters located in Central Point, Oregon, USA.
Central Point, OR -- Erickson Air-Crane, of Central Point, Oregon, the only aerospace company in the world to both manufacture and operate aircraft and the worlds largest operator of S-64 Aircrane helicopters, has announced it is moving its global headquarters to Portland.
Erickson Aircranes are known around the world for their firefighting, heavy lift and logging capabilities.
The manufacturing, maintenance repair and overhaul, part supply, and Engineering facilities will remain in Central Point.
"We are pleased to make this announcement and look forward to becoming part of the Portland business community", said Udo Rieder, Erickson Air-Crane's President and Chief Executive Officer.
"The decision to move our corporate headquarters to Portland is part of our new growth and business development strategy. It will make travel easier and shorten travel time for our worldwide customers and employees. We also believe our new location will help attract high caliber executives as we grow our sales and marketing teams and our extensive training facilities", Rieder added. Rieder said Erickson remains committed to the Central Point and Medford communities which will still be home to more than 500 employees.
Erickson Air-Crane was founded in 1971 by Jack Erickson, who owned a logging company and wanted a one-of-a-kind helicopter to lift heavy, larger diameter timber. He purchased four Sikorsky helicopters. In 1992 Erickson purchased the Type Certificate and manufacturing rights for the S-64 Skycrane and changed the designation to the S-64 Aircrane.
Today, Erickson Air-Crane owns and operates a fleet of helicopters around the world with an additional fleet sold to customers who depend on Erickson to produce parts and provide personnel as well as train pilots and crews.
Erickson sells and leases Aircranes to Federal, State and foreign governments for fighting wildfire, to the logging industry for lifting and carrying heavy timber, to the energy industry for the construction and maintenance of electrical transmission towers, wind turbines, and offshore drill rigs, as well as the constructions industry for placing HVAC units, and many other applications that require enormous lift capabilities. The Erickson Aircrane has earned the term "flying swiss army knife" for the many and varied missions for which it is deployed.
Erickson recently announced that it will provide Aircranes for Homeland Security and emergency management with the debut of the revolutionary Aircrane Incident Response Systems (AIRS) program. Erickson Aircranes will respond to all types of natural and man-made disasters and catastrophic events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, or terror attacks. Missions will include lifting and placing large containers or pods used for incident command centers, field medical and surgical facilities, and emergency shelters. It will assist urban search and rescue teams on building collapse missions. It carries a spool which unravels waters hoses, power and communications cables over any terrain to bring power, water, fuel, and communications to isolated locations or areas made inaccessible by disaster. It can carry generators, water, and fuel tanks to impacted areas. It can spray decontamination fluids with pinpoint accuracy or over a wide area that has been struck by a chem/bio attack. With a specially designed basket, it can rescue up to 60 people at a time from the rooftop of a damaged or burning building as well as rescue dozens of people at a time from a shipwreck or other marine incident. The Erickson AIRS system also can carry and place huge bus-sized sandbags into breaches of levees or onto levees that have been overtopped. Many of these missions are possible with the use of a specialized and unique anti-rotation rigging device that keeps the load from spinning and allows for precise placement of the load.
The AIRS system shows tremendous promise and will become a major asset in the arsenals of local, state, and federal response and recovery agencies who are writing the AIRS system into their emergency operations plans.
CENTRAL POINT, OR - February 19, 2009 --Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated, the world leader in the manufacture and operation of the S-64 Aircrane for fire suppression, heavy lift air services and disaster response, today announced the appointment of several new key executives.
"It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointments of H.E. "Mac" McClaren as Vice President Aerial Services, Gary Eakins as Vice President and General Counsel, Charles Ryan as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and Scott Fitzgerald as Vice President Global Sales" said Udo Rieder, President and Chief Executive Officer.
Prior to joining Erickson, Mr. McClaren was Vice President and Program Manager for the V-22 Osprey Programs at Bell Helicopter, located in Fort Worth, Texas.
Mr. McClaren comes to Erickson with over 3 decades of experience in rotorcraft. He has served over 25 years in the United States Marine Corps as a helicopter pilot logging over 4,500 hours in 14 different type aircraft. He has held numerous operational and acquisition billets including the Head, Expeditionary Aviation Working Group, Commanding Officer, Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, Operations Officer, 1st Marine Division, and Program Development Officer for the Marine Corps (Prince of the POM). After retiring from the Marine Corps, Mr. McClaren worked at Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. as Director, Heavy Lift Programs where he brought the US Marine Corps Heavy Lift Replacement Program (CH-53K) through concept to Milestone B and into System Development and Demonstration (SDD). And finally at Bell Helicopter he worked as Vice President, H-1 Upgrades, VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Program, and U.S. Coast Guard Deepwater Programs and finally VP and PM for the MV-22 and CV-22 Osprey Programs.
Mr. McClaren is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, the U.S. Army War College, as well as executive training courses at the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Mr. Eakins is an attorney with over 25 years of experience in the aerospace industry. Prior to joining Erickson he was Director, Legal at Guggenheim Aviation Partners and Guggenheim aero Finance Company.
Mr. Eakins has served as Vice President, General Counsel for Southern Air Transport, Aviation Sales Company and Rotable Asset Management. He has also worked as an attorney for Polaris Aircraft Leasing, Northwest Airlines and The Garrett Corporation (later becoming part of Allied Signal Aerospace).
Mr. Eakins is a member of the State Bar of California. He received a Bachelor of Law from Leeds University in England and a Master of Law from the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Eakins holds a commercial pilot certificate with instrument and multi-engine ratings.
Mr. Ryan has almost 30 years of experience in the aerospace industry. Prior to joining Erickson, he was Chief Financial Officer for Latham Manufacturing Corp., located in Albany, NY. Prior to Latham, he served as Chief Financial Officer for SSG Precision Optronics, Inc., located in Wilmington, Ma.
Mr. Ryan has also served as Vice President of Finance for BE Aerospace; Vice President of Finance for General Electric subsidiaries and various other financial roles with Textron (later becoming part of Allied Signal); Howmet; and Olin Corporation.
Mr. Ryan is a CPA licensed in Massachusetts and is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He received his B.S. in Accounting from Quinnipiac University and an MBA from University of New Haven.
Prior to his appointment as Erickson Air-Crane Vice President Global Sales, Mr. Fitzgerald completed a very successful career of over 14 years with Bell Helicopter Textron where he led his international sales teams to double-digit growth for both new and refurbished aircraft around the world. In his most recent assignment as Executive Director for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, he was responsible for business development, sales, strategy, and customer relationships throughout the region for both commercial and military customers. Prior to his position as Executive Director of EAME, Mr. Fitzgerald was the Director of Foreign Military Sales at Bell Helicopter where he was very actively involved with providing needed aircraft and aircraft services for international partners both in the war on drugs and the war on terror.
Mr. Fitzgerald has a broad aviation background spanning over 24 years which began upon his entry into the United States Army as a commissioned officer where he served as a United States Army Aviator in various regions of the world to include the Middle East during Operation Desert Shield/Storm. He holds commercial ratings for both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft and holds a bachelor's degree from Furman University and an MBA from the Texas Christian University.
"The caliber of these professionals is extraordinary and their addition to the Erickson team represents a major step in our new growth and expansion strategy," said Rieder.
Erickson plans more announcements in the weeks ahead.
On March 10, 2008 Erickson Air-Crane appointed Udo Rieder as the new President and Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Rieder comes to Erickson from Bombardier Aerospace where he served as Vice President Parts Logistics and Services.
"Following a focused and thorough search, Erickson's board unanimously selected Udo Rieder based on his track record in leading and growing complex organizations, in addition to his technical background and broad working knowledge of the aviation industry.", said Ralph Torney, Executive Director.
Mr. Rieder added, "I am honored to have been chosen to lead the Erickson team. I believe Erickson has great potential for even more success than the team has already achieved. My family and I are equally excited about moving to the beautiful state of Oregon" About the future of Erickson Air-Crane, he states: "I know a lot of strategies, concepts, and plans may have been on hold until these ownership and structuring changes took place, but now we flip the switch, ignite the fires, and make some serious decisions about the expansion of the fleet, capturing a larger MRO market, and enhancing our Operations Marketing to take full advantage of what we all know is a significant potential worldwide."
Mr. Rieder's background includes over 21 years of aerospace experience including Vice President Engineering and Planning, and Vice President Purchasing at Delta Air Lines, in addition to other Engineering experience with Bell Helicopter, Textron, and American Airlines. His formal education includes a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and executive training courses at Emory University in Atlanta and Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania.
It is with great pleasure and gratitude that we are able to announce the issuance of a new full Production Certificate by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to Erickson Air-Crane (EAC).
Senior representatives from the FAA's Manufacturing Inspection District Office (MIDO) in Seattle were at our corporate headquarters this morning to formally present the Production Certificate to EAC's executive staff and management.
Today's presentation ceremony was the culmination of a process that began in 2004. The formal application for our Full Type Certificate Production Certificate was submitted to the Seattle MIDO on May 24, 2005. The Production Certificate Quality Manual was approved December 18, 2006 and the Full Type Certificate Production Certificate was approved April 16, 2007.
An award of a full Production Certificate is only made after the exhaustive examination of the supporting data and after inspection of the organization and production facilities. It also must be shown that we (1) Established and can maintain an approved quality control system, and (2) have submitted appropriate data describing the inspection and test procedures necessary to ensure that each article produced conforms to the type design and is in a condition for safe operation.
The new Production Certificate (proudly displayed in the hall outside the reception area) provides EAC with new opportunities to manufacture and sell new S64E and S64 F model aircraft.
Special thanks and congratulations goes out to Jeff Mecklenburg, Dale Roberts, Jon Copple and Chris Erickson and their supporting teams for their tireless efforts in reaching this important milestone for Erickson Air-Crane.
Central Point, Oregon — The Korea Forest Service (KFS) will be receiving two more S-64E Aircrane Helitankers after a purchase agreement was signed between Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated and the Public Procurement Service at their headquarters in Dae Jeon City, South Korea, on December 15th. With the signing of the contract, valued by Erickson at over 50 Million Dollars, the two additional purchased Aircranes will bring the Korea Forest Service S-64 Helitanker fleet number to four as the agency continues a highly successful aerial campaign to control wildland and urban interface fire danger within the heavily forested Eastern Region of South Korea, ROK.
The Public Procurement Service, an acquisition agency for the Government of South Korea, signed an agreement with Erickson Air-Crane Director of Marketing and Product Support, Patrick Pilolla to purchase the two additional S-64 Helitankers complete with a comprehensive fire suppression package. The components include a 2,650-gallon (~10,000 litre) tank, a flexible hose "Hover Snorkel", and "Water Cannon". The S-64 will also be outfitted with a single point pendant rigging system for external load lifting operations when the helicopter is not used for fire suppression. "We are extremely proud and honored that the Korea Forest Service has experienced so much success with our S-64 Helitanker that they have felt compelled to return to Erickson for a third purchase order. We receive this order as another solid confirmation of the tremendous value and efficiency of our S-64 Helitanker system worldwide." Said Mr. Pilolla.
A substantial spare parts, support, and training package within the purchase agreement includes a comprehensive type transition training program for pilots and a 240-hour technical training course for Korea Forest Service Representatives.
The new S-64 will also feature latest technology items such as cockpit voice recorders, communication and navigation systems from Rockwell Collins and Garmin.
Erickson will build the S-64 Aircrane Helitankers within the current planned production schedule with delivery to the Korea Forest Service slated for the third and fourth quarters of 2007
The two S-64E's in the Helitanker configuration will be issued to the Forest Service primarily for wildland and urban interface fire suppression duty.
These aircraft will be centrally located within Korea, at a brand new facility specifically constructed to house and maintain their S-64 Helitanker fleet." said Mr. Pilolla. He adds: "The S-64 is a powerful asset to Korea's progressive firefighting fleet and the sale of the third and fourth Aircrane Helitankers to the Korea Forest Service further illustrates the realization of Erickson's commitment to provide the world what we feel is the finest multi-mission aerial platform available today".
Erickson Air-Crane's aircraft sales history started with the Korea Forest Service purchasing the first S-64E Aircrane in 2001. Since then, the Italian Forest Service (Corpo Forestale Dello Stato) signed an agreement in 2003 to purchase four S-64F Helitankers and has, as of this date, received three of the four S-64's complete with fire suppression and external load component packages. In 2005, the Korea Forest Service ordered a second S-64E Helitanker through the Government Public Procurement Service. The second S-64E was officially accepted by the Korea Forest Service on December 12, 2006 at Chung Ju fire base, east of Seoul.
Central Point, Oregon — The Korea Forest Service (KFS) will be receiving a second S-64E Aircrane Helitanker after a purchase agreement was signed between Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated and the Public Procurement Service at their headquarters in Dae Jeon City, South Korea, on March 19, 2005.
The Public Procurement Service, an acquisition agency for the Government of South Korea, signed an agreement with Erickson Air-Crane representative Patrick Pilolla to purchase the second Helitanker complete with a comprehensive firefighting component package. The components include a 2,650-gallon (~10,000 litre) tank, a flexible hose "Hover Snorkel", and "Water Cannon". The S-64 will also be outfitted with a single point pendant rigging system for external load lifting operations when the helicopter is not used for fire suppression.
A substantial spare parts, support, and training package within the purchase agreement includes ground school and flight training for pilots and a ten week technical training course for mechanics.
The new S-64 will also feature advanced items such as cockpit voice recorders, communication and navigation systems from Rockwell Collins and Garmin.
Erickson will build the S-64 Aircrane within the current planned production schedule with delivery to the Korea Forest Service slated for December of 2006.
The S-64 in the "Helitanker" configuration will be issued to the Forest Service primarily for wildland and urban interface fire suppression duty.
"It is a great source of honor and pride that we will be providing the Korea Forest Service with their second S-64 to help preserve vital forest resources o f South Korea." This aircraft will be centrally located within Korea, at a brand new facility specifically constructed to house and maintain their second S-64E". said Patrick Pilolla, Director of Customer Support. He adds: "The S-64 is a powerful asset to Korea's progressive firefighting fleet and the sale of a second Aircrane to the Korea Forest Service further illustrates the realization of Erickson's commitment to provide the world what we feel is the finest Mult-mission aerial platform available today".
Erickson Air-Crane's aircraft sales history started with the Korea Forest service purchasing the first S-64E Aircrane in 2001. Since then, Erickson has signed a purchase agreement with the Italian Forest Service (Corpo Forestale Dello Stato) for four S-64F Aircranes featuring the firefighting and external load component packages. The First Italian S-64 registered as "I-CFAG" or "Geronimo" is stationed in Rome. 5/20/05 - The second Italian S-64 ("I-CFAH" — "Crazy Horse") has been completed and is awaiting final acceptance inspection, at Erickson's Central Point Facility, before shipment to Italy.
It is with great pride that Erickson Air-Crane will announce receipt of the second
Erickson S-64 Helitanker by the State Forestry Corps of Italy (Corpo Forestale Dello Stato) during Heli-Expo 2005, in Anaheim, California.
The official "Unveiling" ceremony is planned to occur on Sunday, February 6, at 11:15 a.m. in the Anaheim Convention Center, Heli-Expo Static Display space (#32-36). Gian Franco Blower, past Chairman of HAI, and Chairman/CEO of Erickson's European affiliate European Air-Crane s.r.l., will announce the unveiling of the S-64 Helitanker and introduce Executive Staff from Corpo Forestale Dello Stato who will give a short speech to conclude the ceremony.
After the ceremony, Mr. Blower will bring to the stage and introduce key members of the Erickson Air-Crane Executive and Operations staff involved with building the 4 Helitankers purchased by Corpo Forestale Dello Stato. At that time, Ralph Torney, CEO, Eric Fraenkel, V.P. Operations, Frank Swisher, Chief Pilot, and Patrick Pilolla, Dir. Customer Support will be happy to answer any and all questions from members of the distinguished press and representatives, providing insight into the success of the Erickson Helitanker Program in Italy and Europe as well as Erickson Air-Crane's mission as a manufacturer and sales organization.
You can learn more about the Erickson Air-Crane worldwide family of companies as well as our aerial operations and manufacturing capabilities by visiting our booth (#2829) at HAI Heli-Expo 2005.
For more information, Please contact
Erickson Air-Crane, Incorporated of Central Point, Oregon is giving its star heavy lifter, the S-64 Aircrane, yet another makeover including new generation cockpit displays, solid state attitude heading reference systems (AHRS), and a three axis automatic flight control system (AFCS). Erickson is the most experienced operator of the Aircrane, not to mention the fact that they are also the manufacturer and largest operator in terms of numbers of S-64s with a fleet of 19 of the helicopters.
Jack Erickson, second generation timber entrepreneur and pilot, quickly realized the potential within the versatile and robust nature of the Skycrane and purchased the first four S-64's for timber harvesting and construction. The aircraft proved itself for vertical lift operations early on with Erickson. The company subsequently purchased the type certificate from Sikorsky in 1992 and the helicopter was renamed the Erickson Aircrane. Since that time, Erickson has continued to expand the roles and mission capability of the S-64. In 1993, the company produced the first commercial model of the S-64F with a lift capacity of 25,000 lbs. The helicopter has been used worldwide for vertical lift operations in timber harvesting, electrical tower construction, fire fighting, hydro-seeding, and other general construction roles. The company has been very successful at expanding the roles and capabilities of the S-64 by adding innovations such as an anti-rotation device to help stabilize external loads and the development of a Helitanker fire fighting version of the S-64 that features a 2650 gal. water tank with optional "Water Cannon" and "Sea Snorkel" attachments.
The latest upgrade package for the Aircrane has finished testing and achieved certification at Heritage Aviation LTD in Grand Prairie, Texas. There are a total of six supplemental type certificate (STC) packages applied that include a host of new sensors, avionics, fuel quantity measuring, and panel display enhancements. Many of the new changes are most evident in the cockpit. Features such as a vibration isolated instrument panel, Collins Pro-Line 21 avionics suite, two 10.4 inch LCD Multi-Function displays which replace several of the old "steam' gauges, and a new LED warning panel give the aircraft a more modern look and functionality.
During the upgrade process I spent some time at Heritage Aviation talking to the Erickson pilots and some of the other people involved in the development and certification of the new modifications to get their feelings on how things were progressing. Additionally, in my role as pilot/marketing type for SAGEM Avionics, Inc. I was able to participate in a few of the developmental test flights, which afforded me an up close and personal impression of the helicopter and certain upgrades. My initial impression during the first trip around the patch was that I was trying to maneuver a small house around the sky, but all things get easier with experience and the veteran Erickson pilots certainly demonstrated mastery in all of the nuances of this unique heavy lifter.
Erickson's primary motivation for the new upgrades was to enhance the overall reliability of the helicopter components by moving to more modern, solid state avionics and improved system sensors. According to Erickson Spokesman Dennis Hubbard, this was a concern since governmental Emergency Response and Civil Protection Agencies all over the world employ the S-64 for Initial Attack firefighting missions. They need an aircraft they can depend on to lift off when called upon. "We've got one of the highest performance reliability rates in our industry. Our goal is to achieve and maintain the highest. We need to be able to fly when they call us 100 percent of the time". Another consideration cited by Hubbard for upgrading the S-64 was that Erickson is keen to increase not only revenue work for the S-64, but also hopes to increase sales of the helicopter to other operators worldwide. He stated that, "In order to compete in a world market today, it [the S-64] needs to offer the same, if not greater, level of performance and reliability than some of the newest helicopters off the assembly line".
Erickson is beginning to have some successes in sales of the S-64 Aircrane as evidenced by deliveries to the South Korean Forest Service for operations in that country. For this latest upgrade package, the first four S-64's to receive the new modifications have been sold to the State Forestry Corps of Italy (Corpo Forestale Dello Stato or "CFS") with an option for two additional machines.
The centerpiece of the new upgrade program is the SAGEM (formerly SFIM) PA 155 three axis analog automatic flight control system (AFCS). This is basically the same series AFCS certified in the Eurocopter SA 332 Super Puma, and AS 365 Dauphin helicopters. Dennis Hubbard stated, "We chose the PA 155 because of its long history of proven reliability and favorable reports that we had received from Super Puma operators." The project test pilot for the development and certification of the AFCS and multi-function displays on the S-64, Jake Hart, characterized the PA 155 as being a good fit for the Aircrane. Jake is an FAA Designated Engineering Representative (DER) for Flight Test and a veteran of numerous helicopter autopilot certification programs starting with the Sperry autopilot for the Aerospatiale SA 341 Gazelle in 1975. Jake went on to explain that while the PA 155 has been around for a number of years the available choices for the S-64 were somewhat narrowed by the fact that any autopilot system for this aircraft must work through the existing electro-valves that are used on the S-64 to pass commanded control inputs from the AFCS computer to the main hydraulic servos. These electro-valves or EV's (sometimes referred to as Moog valves) receive analogue signals from the AFCS computer. The AFCS signals then act on two electronic coils which move a small flapper or spool valve inside the EV to control flow of hydraulic fluid which in turn moves control tubes that are then attached to the larger hydraulic servos that act on the main rotor and tail rotor control tubes. In other autopilot equipped helicopters the electro-valve functions are replaced by electro-mechanical series actuators.
Economics was another consideration cited by Jake Hart from his initial discussions with Erickson when they were considering their autopilot options. He explained that the development costs for a newer digital AFCS would have been several times higher due to increased certification and documentation requirements.
Previously, the S-64 stability system consisted of a Hamilton Standard autopilot system that featured a simplex architecture on the S-64Es followed by a Sikorsky duplex AFCS on the military Ch-54B version (which became the S-64F civil model). These systems provided for basic attitude hold and two "coupled" modes, one for heading hold and the second was a baro altitude hold through the collective axis. When describing the older Sikorsky system Randy Erwin, a twelve year veteran pilot with Erickson, said, "The pilot couldn't really let go on the controls [in cruise flight]." His comments on the new PA 155 were, "I love it. It's great." Erickson feels that the PA 155 will not only provide enhanced stability, but will also be a major step forward in reliability.
The PA 155 AFCS for the S-64 is a duplex architecture with 2 AFCS computers respectively designated "Lane 1" and "Lane 2". The two computers are located in a common box in the nose of the helicopter. The duplex feature gives the system a fail-passive and fail-operational capability after any first failure. The AFCS provides for attitude retention and automatic heading hold in a hover. For cruise flight modes the pilot can opt for basic attitude retention or select to "couple" to heading select, and altitude or airspeed hold for true "hands off" flight. Additionally the list of new STCs for this modification program includes a Garmin 500 series Global Positioning System (GPS) and while the AFCS is fully capable of providing navigation coupling, Erickson chose not to pursue that option at this time. The autopilot certification is for VFR flight operations only and this is in keeping with previous certifications of the helicopter.
The AFCS also provides a Stability Augmentation System (SAS) mode of operation to allow for increased pilot interaction as may be desired during approach, takeoff, and hover. This mode allows the pilot to freely maneuver the cyclic while still contributing stability by providing a control rate dampening for pilot inputs. It is expected that the SAS mode will be used extensively during logging and firefighting operations, which are fully "hands-on" flying.
Vibration Issues Addressed
Panel vibration doesn't seem to be an issue with the addition of a new all aluminum, one-piece instrument panel that is mounted through two vibration dampening dynamic mounts. The previous panel was "hard" mounted directly to the airframe and this allowed all vibration to be transmitted directly into the old panel and thus into the instruments and gauges embedded in the panel. The aircraft has a fairly pronounced shudder during approaches for landing when passing below approximately 30 knots. Randy Erwin characterized the phenomena like this, "It [the instrument panel] shuddered so bad you could hardly read the ADI much less any of the gauges." He went on to explain that this translated to a lot of premature gauge replacements. I was able to fly a few approaches with the new dynamic panel installed and while the shudder when passing through the 30 knots and below regime was still very apparent the panel along with the new gauges and displays remained very stable and readable.
Solid State Avionics
The avionics manufacturers that offer the new generation of solid state avionics that are available in the aircraft market place today tout the advantages of significantly increased mean time between failure (MTBF) which translates to increased reliability. With this in mind Erickson elected to make some significant upgrades to the S-64 avionics. The extensive package includes two NAVs, dual COMMs, dual Transponders, a single ADF, and a single DME, all of which will be controlled via dual Radio Tuning Units. Additionally, the package also will provide a Garmin 500 GPS, a Collins TWR-840 Weather Radar, Honeywell XXI Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS), a Universal Avionics Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), a stand-alone Attitude Indicator and one additional AA-95 Audio Panel added to the existing three-panel system.
There is a new "glass look" to the instrument panel that is provided by four Collins 5.4 inch LCD displays which provide attitude and navigation information for the right and left seat crew stations. The Multi-Function Displays (MFD's) are presented on two SAGEM ICDS 2000 10.4 inch LCD's. The MFD's provide a lot of versatility in that they allow the pilot to modify the displayed information depending on the type of mission. As an example the "Fire Fighting" screen will display, in addition to engine and power parameters, a host of mission specific information pertaining to the tank level for the water tank, the position of the water cannon, foam on and off indications, and other information in a customized format. The "Logging Page" layout displays enlarged indications for torque, main rotor RPM, and hook load on the right-hand side of the page with additional engine and systems information on the left hand portion of the display. The SAGEM ICDS MFD's provide split screen format displays, and they also incorporate an intelligent engine monitoring system that will automatically record engine normal and exceedance operating parameters from the engines and other associated systems for later downloading and trend monitoring by maintenance personnel.
The four screen Collins displays serve as the primary flight displays or PFD's. These LCD units are capable of presenting a wealth of pilot essential navigational and situational information. The Collins Pro-Line 21 avionics and displays are being installed at the request of the Italian Forestry Service (Corpo Forestale) who is buying the first four newly modified Aircranes. Erickson currently has follow-on plans to modify the panel displays for their own fleet of S-64s by opting out of the Collins displays and going to four of the SAGEM 10.4 inch displays, 2 each PFD's and 2 each MFD's in follow-on certifications. The four screen SAGEM configuration will provide Erickson with some additional advantages that include lower cost, lighter weight, and increased functionality over the Collins equipped models being built for the Corpo Forestale. Each of the 6.26 lbs. SAGEM displays share a common part number, which makes the MFD's and the PFD's interchangeable thus economizing on spares requirements. The design of the SAGEM ICDS 2000 displays allows for optimal integration of a variety of communication protocols. Sensor inputs via synchro, ARINC 429 or 528, or Sin/Cosine are accepted into either the PFD-35 Air Data unit in the case of the primary flight displays or into the EMM-35 engine monitoring module in the case of the multi-function displays. These units then transmit data to the LCDs via RS232 or 422 serial connections attached to the display units. Normal installation provides for wiring interface between the data modules of the respective displays, which allows for an MFD to suddenly become a PFD if there is a failure of one or more of the display units.
The aircraft attitude and heading information is now transmitted to the AFCS computers via the dual SAGEM attitude/heading reference systems (AHRS) with added inputs from the air data sensor, and dual magnetometers. These new digital, solid state units allow for elimination of the older and sometimes short lived spinning mass vertical gyros and directional gyros and their associated sensors.
In earlier systems, the capacitance signal coming from the fuel probes was converted to direct current signal at the gauge readout in the cockpit. The newly installed "Smart Probe" signal conditioners, manufactured by Ametek, greatly reduces the chance for interference of the capacitance signal by converting to direct current right at the probe itself. The signal is sent to the MFD and is represented by a digital bar gauge.
The cockpit of any aircraft is a pilot's working office and in an effort to make "office conditions" more bearable in both Winter and Summer, Erickson has sought to make some improvements in that area with a new Environmental Control System (ECS).
This new and improved ECS is centered around an Environmental Control Unit (ECU) manufactured by Honeywell. The ECS will provide heat, defrost, and cool air for the flight crew. Previous to the modification, the S-64 bleed air system provided for heating and windscreen defogging only. Erickson pilot, Randy Erwin, rated the old bleed air heating as more than sufficient but he described the cockpit cooling as a "2-20 system", "You had two vents and needed 20 knots of airspeed [to get ambient air into the cockpit]." Randy has had ample opportunity to test the new ECS cooling for the cockpit in the Texas summer and has given it a definite thumbs up.
The newly installed ECU will operate from the existing customer service bleed air output of both engines. Several cockpit vents have been added to allow the crew to direct the air as desired and a thermostat is provided to allow for temperature regulation.
Heritage Aviation has developed a Caution Advisory Panel (CAP) that is a "plug-in" replacement for the previous S-64 warning panel. The new installation is an integrated caution display system that produces a visual message to the flight crew of important airframe events. The system displays a text message in the form of a lighted display segment for every event, color coded for urgency. Amber is for caution messages, green for advisory messages. In addition, the system generates individually resettable master caution outputs for every "cautionary" (Amber) event, which in turn drives an amber master caution warning in front of each flight crew member. This resettable nature allows crew members to clear and acknowledge a caution event, while keeping the system armed for a re-occurance or new event.
The internal set-up of the caution panel is designed so that each display segment is powered directly by the signal that triggers the alert, so that the system cannot completely fail due to a central power or circuit loss. Only the common master caution outputs are affected by a power loss directly to the CAP system. If the main unit power is lost, a dedicated display circuit activates the master caution fail segment, so that the crew is aware the master caution function has been lost.
Concurrent with the new upgrades being applied to the existing purchased and fleet helicopters, Erickson is preparing for a large future market by creating the infrastructure and gaining the certifications necessary to build new serial number Aircranes. According to Hubbard , "We are aware of quite a large demand for our services, generated by our consistent and reliable high level of performance. We are freeing ourselves from the limitations of the number of existing airframes and will be capable of building the S-64 from the rivets up" The company has also recently completed an agreement with Ducommun, Inc. for fabrication of main rotor blades.
Erickson is certainly betting on a long and productive future for this helicopter and the view from the cockpit certainly looks bright at this point. For additional information on the Erickson story of this unique helicopter readers can check out the company's web site: http://www.ericksonaircrane.com .
Rome, Italy — After five years of employing Erickson Air-Crane's S-64 Helitanker on wildfires throughout the mainland and the islands of Sardegna and Sicily, the State Forestry Corps of Italy (Corpo Forestale Dello Stato or "CFS") has contracted with Erickson Air-Crane of Central Point, Oregon, USA, to purchase four S-64 Aircrane Helitankers, together with a substantial spare parts, support and training package and an option for the purchase of two additional S-64 Helitankers. Acting Director General of the Italian State Forestry Corps, Fausto Martinelli, signed the purchase agreement on behalf of the CFS ordering the firefighting helicopters. Gian Franco Blower, Vice President - Europe, conducted the negotiations and executed the contract on behalf of Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated.
Erickson Air-Crane will build the four (4) S-64 Aircranes, equipped for firefighting with Erickson's patented 2,650 gallon (~10,000 litre) tank system and "Foam Cannon", at Erickson's Central Point, Oregon manufacturing facility. The manufacturing process is set to commence in October of 2003, with delivery of the first aircraft scheduled for spring of 2004.
"We are seeing a tremendous evolution in the fire suppression capability of Italy with the use of the S-64 Helitanker over the last five years", says Gian Franco Blower. "The integration of the S-64 Helitanker into the Italian aerial firefighting fleet represents one of the most effective wild land and urban interface fire suppression strategies in the world. Coordinated with current fixed wing (airplane) and helicopter resources, the Italian Fire Services have employed the Helitanker to help save lives, homes, and forests during what could have been the most devastating fire seasons in recent years. The Corpo Forestale Dello Stato currently owns and operates a fleet of helicopters in a mix of single and light medium twins ranging from MD 500's to Bell 412's. The decision to purchase the Helitanker for firefighting and disaster relief," added Mr. Blower, "... demonstrates the success of the Erickson S-64 Helitanker in these primary roles over the past five years through its utilization by the Italian Civil Defense system." The Corpo Forestale Dello Stato have established a series of helicopter bases for operations throughout Italy, with the principal base being located at the Rome Urbe Airport. These bases have been utilized for initial attack missions by the S-64 Helitanker since 1999. "Italy is positioning itself as a front runner in its strategy to combat the increasing threat of wild land and urban interface fires." Mr. Blower continues, "This philosophy has come about under strong leadership of the Minister of Agricultural and Forestry Policies, Gianni Alamanno, and the Head of Civil Protection, Dr. Guido Bertolaso, and the unique relationship the two have in their shared determination to curtail the devastating effects of fires within the country."
Erickson Air-Crane has leased its S-64 Aircrane Helitankers to the Italian State Forestry Corps and the Department of Civil Protection (Protezione Civile) since 1999, with its first Helitanker based on the island of Sardegna. Since then, both agencies have increased the integration of the Helitanker in their firefighting fleet with six (6) S-64's flying on fires throughout the country this year (2003). "The Erickson Helitanker has become totally integrated into the Protezione Civile fleet both in an organizational and practical sense." said Colonel Carlo M. Allochis, Director of the Aerial Firefighting fleet for the Department of Civil Protection. "The aircraft have responded well and have demonstrated excellent operability over long distances with their unique onboard mobile support system. They are considered as if they were a part of the Protezione Civile fleet and are integrated into the command and control of this organization." Dr. Guido Bertolaso, Undersecretary of State and Director General for the Department of Civil Protection was quoted as referring to the Helitanker as "...the diamond head of our (Italian) aerial firefighting fleet"
Although the S-64 Helitanker has seen worldwide popularity and use as a premiere firefighting machine, the Aircrane has a long history of performing external load heavy-lift operations with Erickson Air-Crane such as high-rise building construction, aerial timber harvesting, electrical transmission tower placement, and heavy equipment transportation. Specifically in Italy, Protezione Civile has also utilized the multi-function S-64 helicopter in a variety of Disaster Relief / Emergency Response missions as well as firefighting. In 2002, the S-64 airlifted a portable pumping station to drain a glacial lake that threatened to flood the ensuing valley and mountain resort town of Macugnaga in the Northern Italian Alpine region of Piemonte. During the recent eruption of Mount Etna, on the island of Sicily, two Aircranes were mobilized to support disaster relief operations conducted by Protezione Civile. One Aircrane, outfitted in the Helitanker configuration, dropped water on the fires started by the lava flow, while the other Aircrane lifted large cement blocks to divert the lava away from nearby villages and pristine forestland. "In these instances, we have been able to experiment with the capability of this aircraft (S-64) to change roles rapidly." said Colonel Allochis. "More than one word must be said to recognize the valor and professionalism of the pilots and crew that have allowed the aircraft (S-64) to express its many capabilities."
Erickson Air-Crane will deliver the ordered S-64 helicopters in the green and white livery and corps crest of the State Forestry Corps. The delivered helicopters will feature advanced digital flight control and avionics systems from Rockwell Collins and Garmin as well as the newly adopted SFIM automatic flight control system. The new "Glass Cockpit" will feature digital navigation and communication devices that will replace the current analog systems and increase reliability and accuracy in operation. The Erickson Air-Crane S-64 Helitankers will also be delivered with certification from the Italian Aviation Authority known as ENAC.
Upon receiving final consolidation of the purchase agreement, Erickson Air-Crane has made the announcement of the aircraft purchase at the "Wildland Fire 2003" global firefighting conference in Sydney, Australia. More information can be found at http://www.wildlandfire03.com This year at "Wildland Fire 2003", which marks the third in a series of global wildland and urban interface fire management conferences held around the world, Erickson Air-Crane is proud to be the Principal Sponsor. Lewis van Amerongen, President and CEO of Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated, encapsulates the sense of pride and duty that has motivated Erickson Air-Crane to participate in the conference on such a large scale: "In an age of dramatically increased urban expansion and the significant variety of new wildfire scenarios, it is critical that we join the world firefighting community in developing ever-evolving technologies and tactics to address these issues. We have seen our own S-64 Helitanker rapidly establish itself internationally by leading a revolution in urban interface and wildland fire suppression. Principal Sponsorship is our way of showing global firefighting agencies that we are taking an active role in helping to form more cohesive and effective firefighting stratagems that will save more homes and more lives."
The S-64 "Aircrane" is the largest, most versatile "Standard Category" external load-carrying helicopter in production and operation in the world. Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated, based in Central Point, Oregon, USA, owns, operates, and maintains a fleet of eighteen (18) S-64 Aircrane helicopters. Erickson Air-Crane also manufactures the S-64 as the Type Certificate holder. Erickson combines its unparalleled field operational experience (70,000 flight hours in twelve countries in the last five years) with its engineering and field maintenance staff to provide state-of-the-art customer applications support. Erickson's aircraft sales history began with the purchase of an S-64 Aircrane by the Korea Forest Service in 2001.
Conceived and designed by Igor Sikorsky and originally built and certified by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, the Aircrane is the ultimate vertical lifting machine. The S-64E and S-64F model Aircranes have external load capacity ratings of 20,000 and 25,000 pounds (~9,000 kg and ~11,300 kg) respectively.
Unique to the Aircrane is its immensely powerful hydraulics capability, so critical to its multi-role functions. Loads can be slung passively by "long-line" cables beneath the aircraft, or the powerful on-board hydraulics system may be used to operate specialized equipment to accomplish high value, high performance aerial timber harvesting. The Aircrane is at the forefront of the "mechanization of heli-logging" in North America, in good part due to the vertical lift and the hydraulic grapple harvesting capability of the aircraft.
Erickson Air-Crane's exclusive "Anti-Rotation Device" attached to the fuselage of the Aircrane allows for the highest degree of precision helicopter installation capability in the industry. This precision construction capability has been demonstrated for over 30 years with Erickson Air-Crane employing the S-64 to build over 8,000 miles of electrical transmission towers across the United States and Canada.
Loads or equipment can also be attached to eight hard-points on the aircraft. The patented and phenomenally successful fixed tank firefighting system consisting of the 2,650-gallon (~10,000 litre) tank, "Water/Foam Cannon", and the patented seawater / fresh water refill hydrofoil ("Sea Snorkel") makes full use of this capability. Remove the Helitank; add a winch or the load-pendant, and the Aircrane converts to its heavy lift and precision placement role. The basic aircraft and system design provide an open-ended multi-role capability that continues to find new mission possibilities with Emergency Response and Disaster Relief.
Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated, Central Point, Oregon, has announced the sale of one Erickson S-64E Aircrane helicopter fully outfitted with the latest patented Erickson firefighting accessories to the Government of South Korea. The Type 1 "Heavy" helicopter will be issued to the Forest Service primarily for wildland and urban interface fire suppression duty.
The Public Procurement Service, an acquisition agency for the Government of South Korea, signed an agreement with Erickson Air-Crane to purchase the Helitanker and it's firefighting component package. The components include a 2,500-gallon (~9,500 litre) tank, a flexible hose water snorkel, and a water cannon. The S-64 will also be outfitted with a single point pendant rigging system for external load lifting operations when the helicopter is not used for fire suppression. Erickson Air-Crane secured the purchase with assistance from Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd. and Sunjin Air-Crane Co., Ltd. Delivery to the Korea Forest Service is expected early in 2002.
More than 180 fires flared up near the East Sea in March 2001 as South Korea saw its woodland areas turn to tinderboxes during an unseasonably hot and dry Spring.
A majority were caused by controlled burning of dry fields, rice paddies, and agricultural waste. Earlier in the year, the Forest Service made the decision to purchase a remanufactured Helitanker, but a fierce and early fire season demanded heavy firefighting support quickly. Forest Service officials requested an additional Helitanker on lease to use for the immediate fire season. On April 9, Erickson Air-Crane contracted a Russian Antonov AN-124 heavy transport plane to bring the S-64 Helitanker to Korea to combat fires that were already burning tens of thousands of acres. It began fire suppression duty on April 15 putting out fires as the Forest Service's own Aircrane Helitanker was being remanufactured at the Erickson Air-Crane Central Point facility. "South Korea clearly needed heavy fire suppression aircraft quickly and it was our pleasure to provide the best" said Lee Ramage, Chief Operating Officer for Erickson Air-Crane.
The Korea Forest Service will receive an Erickson S-64E Aircrane helicopter under the H6EA Type Certificate remanufactured from a Sikorsky CH-54A airframe. Erickson Air-Crane has remanufactured fourteen S-64 Aircranes and, with an in-house engineering staff, has added over 300 modifications since purchasing the Type Certificate from Sikorsky in 1992. The CH-54 airframe is stripped down to bare metal upon arrival into the Central Point facility. After the airframe is inspected, overhauled, and certified as a Standard Transport Category S-64, Erickson mechanics, engineers and technicians install and certify all of the avionics, engine, and transmission components that transform the retired Army airframe into an Erickson Aircrane.
Chang Ju Park, an aircraft maintenance inspector from the Korea Forest Service, has taken up temporary residence near the Erickson facility to document the entire rebuild process and advise his Forest Service colleagues on the aircraft modifications, process, and the new Forest Service paint scheme that will be applied to the helicopter after the rebuild. "I am impressed with the process" said Mr. Park, "I am eager to watch our new Helitanker in action.", he added.
Erickson Air-Crane began in 1971 with the lease of a Sikorsky S-64E Skycrane. The Skycrane was to pioneer the first successful use of the helicopter in aerial timber harvesting. Since that time, Erickson Air Crane has harvested timber in many areas of the United States, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Canada.
Since purchase of the Type Certificate in 1992, Erickson Air-Crane now manufactures, operates, and supports the largest fleet of Aircranes in the world (18). The S-64E has a lift capacity of 20,000 lbs (10 tons) at sea level and the S-64F, which was first manufactured by Erickson in 1993, has a lift capacity of 25,000 lbs (12.5 tons) at sea level.
The S-64 has performed as an airborne "Water Bomber" since 1971. Following introduction into the European market in 1999, Erickson Air-Crane has provided up to four Helitankers to Italy and two to Greece for three consecutive fire seasons. Australia has contracted Helitanker services during every fire season since 1998. This year in the United States, Erickson flew six Helitankers dropping over 7 million gallons (~26 million litres) on fires all across the western region including Oregon, Washington, California, and Wyoming.
With the addition of a 2,500 gallon (~9,500 litre) tank, flexible hose snorkel, hydrodynamic ram water scoop, and "Water Cannon" the S-64 becomes one of the most powerful and versatile fire suppression platforms in the world. Water, foam mix, or retardant can be delivered in 8 different coverage levels from microprocessor-controlled tank doors. A high volume snorkel system allows for refill in water sources as shallow as 18 inches (~45 cm). The Water Cannon delivers a horizontal stream of water or foam mix up to 160 feet (~49 m) at a rate of 300 gallons (~1,140 litres per minute).
The World Wide Web, supported by the most advanced digital technology continues to offer the fastest, and often, most convenient methods of information delivery and dissemination. Highly mobile laptop computer workstations with wireless modem access can connect and trade image and data information to home bases anywhere on the globe and, in most cases, across several continents. The new millennium has truly become the age of light speed data transfer.
Erickson Air-Crane is taking full advantage of the latest technology to streamline communication between the Oregon manufacturing and support facility and Aircrane field mechanics all over the world. This new high speed, high tech approach to field repair and standardization involves digital cameras, laptop computers with Internet access, and tech-savvy personnel.
When a real or potential repair condition appears on an S-64 Aircrane based hundreds, and maybe thousands of miles (kilometres) away, the mechanic snaps digital photographs of the affected area in high definition detail. He/she removes a disk from the camera and inserts it into a nearby laptop computer wired to the Internet. After a few clicks and keystrokes, the image is sent directly to the Central Point, Oregon maintenance repair, and overhaul facility along with a detailed description of the proposed repair procedure.
At the Central Point facility, teams of engineers and repair technicians can collaborate as to the best repair procedure and, in most cases, the repair mechanism or replacement piece can be fabricated with a higher degree of accuracy and sent to the mechanic in the field in record time. The direct effect of this high speed data transfer link is the dramatic reduction in the amount of time it would normally take to accomplish repairs in the field and a higher degree safety and reliability.
Another advantage of high speed image and data transfer occurs when it is necessary to standardize all aircraft to new modifications accomplished at the Central Point hub of operations. When a component of the S-64 is modified to increase performance or reliability, it becomes necessary to educate all of the field crew chiefs and mechanics on the proper installation and maintenance of the part. This is where a picture can speak a thousand words. Pictures are snapped and mailed electronically with all of the text manuals and schematics that would augment the existing printed material already sent with the particular component. The direct advantage is a comprehensive visual description of the component and it's standardized installation procedure.
Erickson Air-Crane has moved into the Digital Age with the latest technology and high speed information delivery systems to insure that all S-64 Aircranes are standardized with the same modifications regardless of where they are on the planet and Erickson's long-standing reputation for performance and reliability remains one of the best in the industry.
On April 19th, 2001, Sergei Sikorsky, son of helicopter pioneer Igor Sikorsky gave a truly remarkable lecture slide show presentation to Erickson Air-Crane employees about the history, passions, and profound contributions his father provided to the world of helicopter aviation.
The presentation was titled "Recollections of a Pioneer" and provides, not only a first hand view of the history of rotorcraft, but an intimate view into his father Igor's visions of creating what has become a model for the modern day helicopter. During his presentation to an audience silent with awe and respect, Sergei presented a dynamic history of aviation as seen through the eyes of his father and himself ending with a fascinating insight into the origins of the S-64 Skycrane and his father's visions for the lifesaving capabilities of the helicopter.
The presentation coincided with a special award presentation dinner for all employees of Central Point based Erickson Air-Crane Company.
Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and educated at the naval college in Saint Petersburg, and in Kiev and Paris. After education in Russia and Paris, Sikorsky first achieved international recognition in 1913 when he designed and flew the first multiengine airplane. After the Russian Revolution he emigrated to the United States and reestablished himself as an aircraft designer.
While in the U.S., Mr. Sikorsky founded Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation on March 5, 1923. With the company, he produced a series of multiengine flying boats for commercial service. Sikorsky became an American citizen in 1928. In the late 1930s Sikorsky devoted himself to his consuming passion of developing vertical takeoff and landing (VERTOL) aircraft and produced the first successful helicopter in the western hemisphere. Sikorsky received many other patents, including patents for helicopter control and stability systems. His single-rotor design, a major breakthrough in helicopter technology, remains the dominant configuration today.
Sikorsky-designed helicopters were used exclusively by the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II.
One of Mr. Sikorsky's last and perhaps most passionate projects involved the development of the S-64 Skycrane helicopter which could be configured for heavy lifting tasks and more importantly, lifesaving rescue and transportation duties. Today, Erickson Air-Crane operates the largest fleet of S-64 helicopters in the world. After obtaining the type certificate and manufacturing rights in 1992, Erickson remains the manufacturer and world's largest operator S-64 Aircrane helicopters.