New aerial firefighting solution approved by FAA

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New Zealand-based Spidertracks and US-based Olympic Aero Services (OAS) have announced that their Additional Telemetry Unit (ATU) and Automated Flight Following Feed (AFF) solution has received US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval for operation by the United States Forest Service (USFS) for use in its aerial firefighting helicopters.

The solution will be available for use on: Bell 205A, Bell 205A1, Bell 205B, Bell 212, Bell 412, Bell 412CF, Bell 412EP, UH1-E, UH-1L and S-61N.

The solutions package provides operators with an event-management solution that interfaces with an aircraft and enables real-time, accurate reporting on specific actions taken by that aircraft or equipment, such as tank/bucket open and closed and gallons filled and dropped.

According to the companies, this new solution will help to eliminate start-up costs for aerial firefighting agencies while also moving away from ‘clunky and expensive legacy systems’.

“In addition [to] meeting all USFS requirements, the system is lightweight (clocking in at just over one pound), simple to use, and straightforward to install,” said Spidertracks’ Director of Product Innovation Simon Williams. “With an FAA STC and USFS, AFF Feed is one of the only fully compliant solutions for the market. We’re excited about the possibilities the ATU/Spider solution can offer our customers.”

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