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Fire Max?


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So who's up for "tankin" there max this year!


What are we looking at for cost / fill time / dump time / increased empty weight / reduced cruise speed / access to cargo hook etc?


I think this a/c shines with a bucket and line...might be a step backwards to bellie up! When in Rome though!

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There will be a FireMax tank and snorkel system at HAI this year in the Kaman booth.  It is designed and built by Superior Helicopter and Kawak Aviation Technologies (a division of AgAir Systems, a noted aviation hydraulics supplier) and built in Oregon.  Superior provided the design impetus, seed money, is the launch customer, and will do the test flying for FAA and USFS Tanker Board approval, but the tank is built by Kawak and they will own the STC.  It has been a good partnership.  The tank is a one piece unit powered by a hydraulic system driven off the transmission pad of the aircraft.  It is a clean sheet of paper 3-D computer design, not an adaptation of any existing tank.  It does not look like any tank system I have seen, and it is really a nice unit.  It has vertical saddle walls that provide great hydrostatic pressure and one set of narrow, continuous flow doors that will provide a very dense water column on the drop pattern, similar to the erickson crane.  It is 700 gallons, has a hydraulic impeller that will fill it in 20 seconds, hydraulic machined rotary actuators to control the doors, will go on and off the aircraft in one hour, is very streamlined to the shape of the aircraft, and is built to tanker board and Faa specs.  The whole system including hydraulics weighs 500 lbs.-less than our current powerfill bucket (we are currently working with Kaman to seek a change in the gross weight rating and takeoff of the aircraft).  It is made from T-6 aluminum- every structural part and stiffener and door frame is CAD/CAM machined from solid blocks of aluminum, no stamped or jig bent pieces on it.  It has carbon fiber fairings, and we do not expect to lose more than 5 knots of cruise (can't afford to lose much given the blazing speed we have to work with on the Kmax).  It bolts directly to the load beam of the Kmax, good center of gravity.  It has an espresso maker and frother built into the impeller pump....okay, maybe not that last item....


We will begin test flying it in late February, and will seek tanker board approval by April.  We think the Kmax is a fantastic bucket/longline aircraft, but the customer is expressing a preference for tanks on many contracts, so we are responding with our best effort.  We fully intend to show up on every fire with both bucket and tank, and will provide whatever is called for and whatever the fire manager requests.  It is a very well -engineered unit, and we have been working on it for some time now- it definitely doesn't look like a water box that was stuck on the aircraft.  It will be for sale to other operators as well - it was never our intent to make it proprietary to Superior.  I tried to post a CAD drawing of it, but the file was too big, sorry about that.  I don't know if this is possible, but it may actually improve the looks of the good 'ol aerial truck a little bit.:)   Hope that answers your question. :D

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When it rains it pours. There wasnt just one tank there but two for the Kmax. Isolair developed a new tank as did Kawak, formerly Ag Air Systems. Both look great and will see how they both work when they are flight tested. Keep us posted Andy on their progress.


Heli Ops  ::cheers::

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