Erickson celebrates 25 years operating in Australia

Erickson celebrates 25 years operating in Australia

3-Feb-2023 Source: Erickson


For 25 years, Erickson has collaborated with the National Aerial Fighting Centre (NAFC) and the Australian and New Zealand National Council for fire and emergency services (AFAC) in support of ground-level firefighters in the wildland urban interface (WUI) and Australian communities. Through this partnership, Erickson has been instrumental in fighting fires throughout parts of Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria. For much of their time in Australia, six Erickson Helicopters have been stationed across Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, and Perth throughout the fire season. This widespread coverage has led to the S-64 Air Crane® helicopter being a recognizable and well-regarded symbol in Australian firefighting.

Significant moments in Erickson’s relationship with Australia include:

  • 1997/1998: Erickson introduced the S-64 helicopter to Australian fire agencies, subsequently sending the first S-64 Air Crane® helicopter, “Millie”, into service.
  • 2002: Elvis became one of Australia’s most well-known S-64 Air Crane® helitankers after saving the lives of 14 trapped firefighters in the Burragorang Valley in New South Wales. This furthered national appreciation of the distinct Air Crane® helicopter and made Elvis a renowned symbol of the collective mission.
  • 2002/2003: Erickson increased their aircraft count in Australia. S-64 Air Crane® helicopters “Incredible Hulk,” “Georgia Peach,” and “Elvis” began their tenure in Australia.
  • 2013: Erickson began their partnership with Kestrel Aviation, operating a fleet of six S-64 Air Crane® helicopters in Australia.
  • 2019/2020: During this unprecedented fire season, the six Air Crane® helicopters stationed in Australia dropped 38.42M liters /10.15M gallons, with over 1,200 flight hours logged. On the most productive aerial firefighting day of the season, December 30, 2019, one aircraft dropped 374,657 liters/98,973 gallons, and the entire fleet of six aircraft dropped 1,173,742 liters/310,069 gallons.

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