HELITAK FT3500 BELL 214ST FIRE TANK – Another recent addition to the Helitak Fire Fighting Equipment model range of aerial firefighting tanks is the new FT3500, designed specifically for the Bell 214ST. The Bell 214ST is the largest Bell aircraft used in aerial firefighting and as far as we are aware has never utilised an underbelly firefighting tank nor had one ever before been developed. In conjunction with McDermott Aviation, regarded as Australia’s largest operator, the development team designed and completed the project in record time and the first two tanks will fly under McDermott aircraft.
With a maximum water capacity of 3500 litres (925 gallons) the FT3500 firefighting tank attached to the Bell 214ST will be the largest asset in the McDermott fleet and will make a huge difference on the fire ground.
The FT3500 will undergo FAA Flight testing and installation approvals in December in Queensland, Australia and will be airborne fighting fires before Christmas.
Similar to the recently released Black Hawk 4500 litre tank and the soon to be released Super Puma 4250 litre tank, the FT3500 B21ST tank underwent the same rigorous testing and the renowned Helitak load test to 4.4g of ultimate design limit load which saw the carbon fibre tank shell load tested to 32,628 lbs.
Whilst not widely used in aerial firefighting operations, the Bell 214ST has a great pedigree after being used for many years in the hot and sandy Middle East in military operations. Originally designed specifically for hot and high performance work the aircraft will offer McDermott Aviation a larger than normal payload currently enjoyed by their large fleet of Bell 214B aircraft. The B214ST is a robust, twin bladed, twin engine non-restricted aircraft that has the added capability of being able to carry up to 15 passengers which will make this a great addition with the versatility of transporting firefighters and being available for both emergency evacuation and Medivac if required.
The FT3500 will be starting aerial firefighting operations in Australia before the end of December and we are hopeful of having in excess of 300 hours of performance data before the end of the Australian fire season.
Thank you to McDermott Aviation for letting the Helitak design team deliver your next-generation firefighting capability to your fleet. Its great to see two great South East Queensland based Australian companies joining to deliver innovative aerial firefighting design to protect our Australian Native Bushlands, our property assets and lives.