City of San Diego Fire Department introduces third fire-rescue helicopter
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Another firefighting helicopter has been added to the local fleet. This one belongs to the City and it’s bigger and better in every way.
There are a number of elements that make the Sikorsky Firehawk helicopter far superior to the city’s two older and smaller fire-rescue helos. But the two we saw during water drops at Montgomery Field were really important: A water load capacity of a thousand gallons and an ability, via computer, to regulate or feather the drop depending on the target.
The addition of the $20M machine, approved by the City Council in 2017, makes for a total of six for the region.
The County has three, crewed by the Sheriff and in the event of a fire– Calfire. But they too are much smaller than the big Firehawk.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer told the gathering, “”We are bolstering our aerial firefighting capability with a state-of-the-art helicopter.” A thousand gallon capacity for the Firehawk versus 350 for the smaller choppers. It’s more more maneuverable, and has stronger engine and air frame.
What’s more the size, means that the three-crewed Firehawk can carry 12 additional people– keep in mind it’s rescue mission too– as opposed to six additional people for the smaller copters.