The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USFS), the largest wildland firefighting organisation in the country, has resumed its external load attach mechanism (ELAM) programme and allowed Dart Aerospace access to manufacture and sell the rappel hardpoints for Bell medium helicopters directly to industry operators. Dart was recognised as a result of its experience with aerospace product manufacturing and its history building this kit. The company will be responsible for inspecting and documenting the kit in accordance with the ELAM rotorcraft maintenance manual supplement.
The kit, that will mainly be used for firefighting operations and the management of public lands in national forests and grasslands across the United States, is now available to the market. It is approved on FAA supplemental type certificate #SH261WE, presently owned by the USFS. Approved models appearing on the STC are the Bell 205, 210, 212, 214B and 412.
“We are happy to be working with the USFS to support their important mission,” says Dart Aerospace product manager Wesley Reid. “Working on projects such as this allows us to leverage our internal capabilities to build high quality equipment while growing our already significant catalogue of products in support of firefighting operations.”
The ELAM rappel kit is centrally mounted on the aircraft with a weight capacity of 300 lbs. It is manufactured as a bolted-on permanent installation; only the hard point is offered with the kit.
Dart also offers other equipment used in firefighting operations including firefighting buckets, cable cutters, long lines, remote cargo hooks and baskets, as well as its own rappel kit for Bell medium helicopters. These kits have been in use for over 20 years by firefighters and law enforcement around the world.
Dart Aerospace is a privately held aerospace company that provides design, manufacturing and market-certified solutions for the helicopter and aerospace industry. With over 900 STCs and 4,500 products, the company offers a portfolio of aftermarket products, accessories, spare parts and tools for civil and military operators, all major rotorcraft OEMs, completion centers and MRO facilities. Its key products include flotation systems, landing gears, interior and exterior accessories, cargo expansion, external loads, cable cutters and filters.