Erickson Air-Crane in Photos

The heavy-hauler helo that easily transforms from an everyday workhorse that fights fires to one that transports multiton equipment.

A jack of all trades, an Erickson Air-Crane can put a multiton air-conditioner on a high-rise roof in minutes and reseed fire-damaged wilderness.
Two Erickson Air-Cranes near completion in the company's Oregon shop. In the foreground, a fuselage is being completely rebuilt. When the helicopters are done, they will wear an Erickson data plate.
The Erickson Air-Crane's modern panel controls mission equipment.
The Erickson Air-Crane can fight fire with retardant or water. The pilots can select the mix as they make the drop. Red retardant is usually dropped ahead of the fire to keep flames from spreading.
Out ahead of a fire, an Erickson Air-Crane dumps retardant.
Flying at 30 knots and 20 feet, the Erickson Air-Crane with a “sea snorkel” can fill the 2,500-gallon belly tank in less than a minute saving precious time in the effort to fight the fire.
The bulging window adjacent to the Erickson Air-Crane pilot seat lets the pilot view external loads suspended beneath the aircraft. When setting tower sections or installing equipment on rooftops, a third pilot in the aft-facing “phone booth” does the flying. With precise controls — and a lot of skill — he can place multi-ton loads very accurately.
An Erickson Air-Crane charges through smoke while dropping 2,500 gallons of water on the fire below. The flexible snorkel dangling below indicates that the water source is small enough that the helicopter must hover to refill — in populated areas, Aircrane pilots have refilled from swimming pools.
Equipped with both a rigid “sea-snorkel” and a water cannon, a fire-fighting Erickson Air-Crane climbs away after filling the tank from the ocean. It can deliver its load by a traditional “bomb-run” or by pumping a 300-gallon-per-minute stream to a target 200 feet in front of the nose.
**A special anti-rotation rigging system on the Erickson Air-Crane keeps external loads from spinning in the rotor wash. **
Another Erickson development is the 2,600-gallon rigid tank. Mounted to the Air-Crane fuselage at eight points, it replaces the traditional dangling bucket and turns the Aircrane into a true “water bomber”. After the fire is out, forests and grasslands can be reseeded from the same tank.
Check out our in-depth feature for more on the Erickson Air-Crane.
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