LA County Fire Department personnel responded to 26 emergency incidents with FIREHAWK, known as Copter 16, over a two-day period in which 40 victims were saved. The nature of the 26 rescues was both varied and difficult as many were at night in low ceilings and mountainous terrain with winds up to 30 knots. Copter 16 rescued victims who trapped by fast-moving floodwater and stranded on top of vehicles.
An LA County FIREHAWK is on display at the Heli-Expo at the Sikorsky booth, #3069 in Hall Ball. Sikorsky Aircraft honored LA County FIREHAWK crews for their rescue work at the booth during a 12 noon ceremony Monday, Feb. 7.
Also, LA County chief FIREHAWK pilot Lee Benson conducted briefings at the aircraft on Sunday and Monday at 3 p.m., and Tuesday at 11 a.m.
Pilot Guy "Marty" Martin of the Air Operations Section of the L.A. County Fire Department said, "Out of the 28,000 flight hours I have logged on 60 different models of aircraft I wouldn't have chosen any other helicopter but the FIREHAWK for this mission. The missions that the L.A. County Fire Department fly using the FIREHAWK are fulfilling the dream that Igor Sikorsky intended when he designed his first helicopter. We are proud to serve in that dream through our life-saving missions.".
Prior to the January floods Copter 16 also responded to a December 8 accident in which a commuter van tumbled 200 feet off a winding mountain road, killing three people and injuring seven, two critically. Copter 16 hoisted five of the victims from the scene and flew them to area hospitals.
In addition to its search and rescue capabilities, the S-70 FIREHAWK also provides the county with advanced technology fire fighting and paramedic capabilities such as a computer controlled drop system, 1000-gallon water tank, and 30 gallons of foam. Its ability to drop fire suppressant precisely over the target area, its rapid transit to and from the water source and its flexible options for refilling the water tank enable the rapid transport of greater amounts of water to the emergency sight.
The versatility of the S-70 FIREHAWK and its ability to perform a wide variety of missions beyond fire fighting and search and rescue such as personnel transport, medical evacuations, and cargo transport is enhanced by the helicopter's ability to transform it's interior configuration quickly and without the need of any other special tools.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department currently operates two S-70 FIREHAWKS and will be receiving its third FIREHAWK in 2005. The S-70 FIREHAWK is also used in the Army National Guard Units of five other states including: California, Oregon, Nevada, New York and Florida.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford, CT, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing and service. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (NYSE: UTX), of Hartford, CT, which provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.