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    NEWS | SBCFD Santa Barbara County Fire Department State of California

    Santa Barbara County New Firehawk

    California’ Santa Barbara County received a new helicopter for firefighting. Copter 964 is a former 2004-built US Army Black Hawk upgraded to Firehawk configuration with new avionics and rescue hoist.

    * The Firehawk helicopter can deliver approximately 1,000 gallons of water in one drop, compared to 300 gallons for the Vietnam-era Huey


    Santa Barbara County New Firehawk

    Santa Barbara County, October 10, 2020 - The Santa Barbara County Sheriff-Fire Air Support Unit (ASU) is pleased to announce the arrival of Copter 964, a 2004 Sikorsky HH-60L “Firehawk” helicopter.

    Since its purchase in 2019, the Firehawk has been stationed in Alabama, where it has undergone a retrofit with all-new state-of-the-art avionics, paint, and a new rescue hoist.

    In addition to the upgrades, while in Alabama, the Firehawk was tested, certified and transformed from a military grade helicopter to a helicopter configured to meet the missions of public safety for the citizens of Santa Barbara County.

    The Firehawk will join an already working fleet of medium-sized Bell Huey aircraft stationed out of the Santa Ynez Airport. In addition to increased stability when flying in high winds and being outfitted with top of the line night-flying equipment, Copter 964 brings a significant increase in working capacity for the ASU.

    The Firehawk significantly increases lift capacity which ensures that more water can be delivered faster and more accurately on fires, thereby helping to limit fire spread, associated impacts and costs. The Firehawk can deliver approximately 1,000 gallons of water in one drop, compared to 300 gallons for the Huey.

    Quicker response times to incidents

    The Firehawk can also carry 12 passengers, including two critically injured patients, as compared to five passengers and one critically injured patient on the Huey. Additionally, the top speed of the Firehawk is 218 mph, compared to 138 mph for the Huey, allowing quicker response times to incidents and faster turnaround times from refueling and refilling with water.

    The Blackhawk helicopter will make its final conversion into becoming a Firehawk with the installation of a fixed belly tank to carry and disperse water for firefighting purposes. The fixed tank requires modifying the landing gear of the Blackhawk to raise the aircraft in order to accommodate a 1,000-gallon tank.

    A helicopter with a belly tank can drop off ground crews of firefighters at a fire and immediately attack the flames, whereas a helicopter with a bucket attached cannot move crews around and thus would have to return to a staging area, after dropping off the firefighters, to attach the bucket and return to the fire front.

    This tank is unique from any other option in that it allows our aircraft to maintain their multi-mission capability in firefighting, hoist rescue, and medical evacuations without the need for any reconfigurations. It also allows the helicopter to be filled while on the ground, the standard practice for nighttime firefighting operations. We would like to acknowledge the dedicated fundraising efforts of Direct Relief International (DRI) that resulted in raising a total donation of $1,151,000. The generous donation was used to offset the cost of the retrofit.

    The Firehawk is expected to be operationally ready to respond to fire-related missions in Fall 2021, after focused training has been completed for the pilots, mechanics and other ASU staff, and the belly tank has been added.

    The Santa Barbara County Fire Department and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office are excited to have the Firehawk join the fleet at the Santa Barbara County Sheriff-Fire Air Support Unit.

    Astronautics Roadrunner Electronic Flight Instrument System Included In Arista Aviation HH-60L Retrofit For Santa Barbara County

    Astronautics Corp, October 20, 2020 - OAK CREEK, WI – Astronautics Corporation of America’s AFI4700 RoadRunner Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) was delivered to Santa Barbara County Sheriff-Fire Air Support Unit (ASU) recently when they accepted their first retrofitted Sikorsky HH-60L helicopter from Arista Aviation, located in Enterprise, Alabama.

    The RoadRunner EFIS is the cornerstone of an upgraded, state-of-the-art avionics package and instrument panel on the HH-60L Black Hawk Arista Aviation repurposed into a “Firehawk” aerial firefighting configuration for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff-Fire ASU.

    The RoadRunner EFI is a cost-effective, form-fit manufacturer’s avionics upgrade from existing attitude director and horizontal situation indicator functionality to a modern EFIS with certified Level-A software made for Part 29 helicopters and providing a path to Federal Aviation Administration certification. The EFIS interfaces seamlessly with modern digital navigation, enabling the Firehawk to fly firefighting and other missions with enhanced situational awareness, navigation, and sensor interface for safety and reliability.

    The RoadRunner EFI also provides operators readability in all lighting conditions, familiar and easy-to-use controls, reduced operating and maintenance costs, and minimal downtime for installation. The system is upgradeable with field-loadable software to incorporate future upgrades such as synthetic vision.

    “Astronautics is pleased to work with its authorized dealer Arista Aviation to deliver a cost-effective, mission-ready, and future-proofed avionics solution on this versatile Black Hawk helicopter that will serve the ASU and residents of Santa Barbara County for years to come,” said George Gruebling, Astronautics’ manager of sales & business development.

    Astronautics has been supporting the UH-60 Black Hawk with primary flight instruments for decades, including attitude director, horizontal and vertical situation indicators, and command situation processors.

    About Astronautics: Astronautics Corporation of America, headquartered in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, is a global leader in the design, development, and manufacture of secure avionics equipment and systems for the commercial and military aerospace industry. Key product areas include electronic primary flight and engine displays, connected aircraft and cyber solutions, electronic flight bags, and certified servers for airborne applications.

    Services include avionics system integration and custom software for critical applications. Since its founding in 1959, Astronautics has been providing trusted, reliable, and tailored solutions to help clients achieve mission success. Astronautics is the parent company of Kearfott Corporation, headquartered in Woodland Park, New Jersey.

    RoadRunner Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) is a cost-effective, form-fit manufacturer’s glass-cockpit upgrade for Santa Barbara’s Firehawk helicopter

    Aircraft mentioned in this article :
    Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk N964SB     ( State of California )

    This article is listed in :
    SBCFD Santa Barbara County Fire Department State of California
    Firehawk in State of California
    --Helicopters Firefighting
    Astronautics Corp State of Wisconsin
    Arista Aviation State of Alabama



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