Canadian operator Talon Helicopters, in partnership with Dart Aerospace, has received Transport Canada approval for Talon to perform night hover refill operations with its Dart AS365 Fire Attack System (FAS). The approval is the first step in pursuing a full FAA STC update to allow NVG aided and unaided night hover refill operations on all Dart AS365 Fire Attack Systems.
This move comes as demand for night firefighting increases around the globe to help battle the world's growing number of devastating wildfires. Certified tanks like Dart's Fire Attack System are the only firefighting tool for night VFR flights.
The original AS365 FAS STC only allows ground fill operations at night. After purchasing the FAS-equipped aircraft, Richmond, BC-based Talon Helicopters requested Dart's support in removing night hover refill restrictions.
“We installed NVG capabilities on the aircraft in preparation for increased firefighting support,” says Peter Murray, president of Talon Helicopters. “Yet right from the get-go, we found the restriction on hover refills an obstacle to rapid response. Dart was unbelievably fast and accommodating in helping us remove this restriction.”
Dart worked with Transport Canada and Talon, arranging NVG-aided and unaided flight tests to demonstrate the safety of night hover refill operations. Dart submitted the flight test report and other certification documentation to Transport Canada.
“We recognise the extreme importance of helicopters in the battle against the world's growing forest fires and our responsibility to help support our customers in that effort,” says David Shepherd, VP of certification for Dart. “The work with Talon helped pave the way for additional options on our future systems to further support night firefighting operations.”