With the frequency of wildfires rising every year, and outbreaks becoming more unpredictable, securing a fleet of helicopters that deliver the best possible capabilities to control this life-threatening situation is critical. Agrarflug Helilift, based in Germany, is a major operator of Bell aircraft in Europe and is an official Bell Customer Service Facility.
Within Europe, the aircraft mainly conduct firefighting operations in Spain and Portugal, but when extreme temperatures caused wildfires to break out in Southeast Europe earlier this year, their machines were contracted out to this region for additional support. Agrarflug Helilift estimates its fleet has accumulated over 5,000 flight hours in 2021 so far in the firefighting mission alone. One aircraft it uses for this purpose is the Bell 412.
“The 412 is the ideal solution for the firefighting mission,” said Dennis Beese, Owner and CEO at Agrarflug Helilift. “With twin engines, a cabin spacious enough to accommodate 13 fire personnel and their specialist equipment, the 412 facilitates exceptional safety and flexibility. Its impressive performance and cargo hook capacity means it can do this while simultaneously lifting 1,200 to 1,500 liters of water. In addition, it’s reliability, speed and low noise means the Bell 412 is able to fulfil this demanding role with ease.”
Dropping firefighters in inhospitable terrain
Agrarflug Helilift’s 412s are used to transport water to extinguish and control fires, as well as transport personnel to critical areas for ground firefighting. The 412’s advanced capabilities means both operations can be conducted simultaneously whilst also carrying specialist equipment. The aircraft are equipped with specialized skids which enable firefighters to be dropped in inhospitable terrain.
In Spain, Agrarflug Helilift’s aircraft typically operate anywhere between sea level and 8000 feet density altitude. This, in combination with Spain’s wide-ranging temperatures, means using a helicopter which offers both outstanding performance and reliability in any environment is essential, something the Bell 412 delivers on.