Night Helitack

Issue 6 and Volume 137.

Night Helitack Wearing special goggles that enable them to see in the dark, helicopter pilots are now making night flights to fight wildfires. Helicopter fire attacks (helitacks) have become a major method of reducing forest and brush fire losses. Research into the development of safe night flights for helicopters began in 1973 when Congress provided funds for the U.S. Forest Service to carry on the necessary experimental work. The research program was sponsored by the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station at Berkeley. CA, but development work was done by the Forest Service’s Equipment Development Center at San Dimas in southern California. Helicopters have been used by the Los Angeles County Fire Department in fire suppression for several years—in the daytime. Helicopters are more flexible than airplanes, can get into remote canyons. hover over hot spots, and serve as a “spy in the sky” to report on…

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