Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Grasshopper

"Say Hello to my little friend"

It's real name is the "Air Crane" but 40 years ago when an uncle of mine use to fly them for the military they referred to it as the Grasshopper. For all I know my uncle may have flown this exact one, it was manufactured in 1964!

The refuge brought in the big guns this weekend to get a handle on the fire. Let me tell you, this thing sucks! It has a 2600 gallon tank, yes, two THOUSAND six hundred gallons, that hangs in the belly for fighting fires and when they hover over a lake to suck up water they can fill the 2600 gallon tank in 45 seconds!!

The drop doors for letting the water out are adjustable to drop all 2600 gallons at once or as little as they would like. The pilot said they can "sprinkle" an area a mile long with one load if they want to.

Don't touch that dial!! And I thought working in NX2 was hard! LOL

The pilot let me climb into the cockpit and take a look around as he explained how it flys and what they can do with it. It's a pretty impressive bird, especially fo it's age. I felt much better about being an old man when I got out, all I have to do is keep up  with that routine maintanence. 

The helicopter has two 9000 horse power engines to make it fly and a separate hydraulic pump for sucking up water or operating the crane lift when the water tank isn't in place.

The good news is, with this massive machine on their side the refuge expects to "call" the fire by Monday. They just about had the whole thing out yesterday when I was out there. What's the bad news you say? I was told the charge for operating this bird is $10,000 an hour!!!!


  1. Wow what a great "doccupost"! You sure got some good pictures of that big helicopter when you got to tour it. Impressive!

    Out here on the Coast there several companys that use similar sized helicopters for logging. Much more cost effective to use a helicopter than to build roads when you get into the really steep areas.

  2. Not only are the Photos top quality, the Documentary writing is Top Flight all the way!

    The Mountain Gazette roving reporter has certainly been on the job the last few days. Good job Ron !!!


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