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Business Air News Bulletin
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Cal Fire to kit out incoming Sikorskys with hoist systems
The FireHawk's primary mission is responding to initial attack wildfires and rescue missions. The FireHawk is also equipped with an external hoist for rescue missions. Bluedrop will supply Cal Fire with the necessary kit.
The fully immersive, full haptics, high fidelity HMTS is unique and provides initial, recurrent and mission training capabilities.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire (Cal Fire) has added 12 Sikorsky S70i FireHawk helicopters to its fleet. Canada's Bluedrop Training & Simulation, through its sister company Bluedrop USA, has been awarded a contract to provide two advanced Hoist Mission Training Systems (HMTS) for helicopter hoist operator training on the aircraft.

The fixed full size HMTS will be deployed to Cal Fire's aviation training facility in McClellan, California. The HMTS will be integrated with a flight training device to be able to provide full crew collective training for missions carried out both by the pilot crew and the rear crew. The other unit which is a portable HMTS will be deployed to Cal Fire's training centre and will be transportable to different Cal Fire sites for recurrent training. It will be housed at the aviation training centre when not in use at remote locations.

The FireHawk's primary mission is responding to initial attack wildfires and rescue missions. The FireHawk is also equipped with an external hoist for rescue missions. This specialised rescue technique involves highly trained firefighters being lowered from a hovering helicopter to an injured or trapped person below. Once secured to a harness or stokes basket, both the victim and rescuer are then hoisted into the helicopter and flown to a landing zone. Bluedrop designed and developed the HMTS, a highly specialised, VR hoist simulator. The fully immersive, full haptics, high fidelity HMTS is unique and provides initial, recurrent and mission training capabilities for helicopter hoist operators working in complex environments and high-risk situations.

“On behalf of Bluedrop I am pleased to announce that we have been awarded a contract to provide training systems for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection," says Jean-Claude Siew, vice president of technology and simulation, Bluedrop Training & Simulation. "This contract is of particular significance to Bluedrop as it represents a major milestone as our first sale to a US state government agency. We are proud to be a part of the Cal Fire's emergency services training to deliver world class training services to the Cal Fire.”

“The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is looking forward the transformation of its training with the full-size hoist at our training centre. The portable hoist, being transportable for onsite training, will be a game changer,” adds a spokesperson for California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.