Mountain Blade Runner Helicopters (MBRH) of Montrose, Colorado, has ordered two K-MAX helicopters from Kaman Aerosystems, a division of Kaman Corporation. Kaman has approved continuous manufacture of the versatile medium lift workhorse aircraft with the authorisation of Lot III production.
MBRH will utilise the aircraft to support high altitude external lift operations and firefighting missions. “We are adding K-MAX to our fleet of AS350B3e helicopters, which essentially doubles our lift capability at high altitudes and provides a strong US Forest Service Type 1 firefighting helicopter to combat fires,” states president Bryson Gray.
St Louis Helicopter of Sellersburg, Indiana, will also expand its fleet with the addition of a K-MAX. The aircraft will be used for agricultural aerial solutions such as seeding, fertilising and firefighting, where the increased lift capacity will expand its overall capability.
Owner Jim Robinson states: “The significant increased lift capacity of the K-MAX brings expanded business solutions; it cost-effectively serves the expanding needs of our customers, where we have implemented the use of greener aircraft that are quieter and more cost-efficient.”
St Louis Helicopter will finance its aircraft through a leasing arrangement with Rainier Heli International. Kaman and Rainier entered into an agreement earlier this year under which Rainier offers K-MAX leasing solutions to customers. “As a K-MAX owner-operator ourselves for more than two decades, we understand the outstanding value proposition K-MAX offers to the external lift market, including firefighting and power line construction,” explains Rainier CEO Lon Halvorson. “We are pleased to bring Kaman and St Louis Helicopter together through our financing alternative.”
Development of the K-MAX was led by Kaman founder and former CEO, aviation pioneer Charles H Kaman, and received FAA certification in 1994. The single engine, single seat K-MAX is a rugged low maintenance aircraft that features a counter-rotating rotor system and is optimised for external load operations and designed specifically for vertical reference flight. The aircraft can lift up to 6,000 lbs.
“We are delighted to add two new K-MAX operators," states Kaman VP and general manager Darlene Smith. "We are finding that operators are evaluating their entire fleet and looking to expand their overall capabilities and K-MAX provides a much-needed solution."