Last year Helitak was approached by the Far North Queensland based ‘Nautilus Aviation’ to design a fire tank for the companies BK117 Helicopters. Helitak was briefed to provide a next generation initial attack firefighting solution for the Far North regions. Helitak designers were able to provide a number of options that could provide the Helitak underbelly fire tank in the 1000-1400 litre (264-370 gallon) range that suited the airframe specifications and capabilities.
Firstly, Prototype tanks were test-fitted to the Nautilus aircraft as they were returning to Cairns at the conclusion of their Westpac Surf Life Saving contracts in Sydney and Moruya. Later, after some minor modifications to the tanks mounting systems, the approved designs were signed off and sent to the Helitak production site in Noosaville, South East Queensland for manufacture and assembly.
Test fitting of the prototype tank at Noosa Airfield
In late November the newly designed tank was delivered and fight tested with the CASA certification consultants. Later this week the fire tank will be put through the final stage of water bombing trials before issuance of the relevant certifications.
Jason Schellaars, Helitak CEO and Chief Engineer commented “Nautilus Aviation are a very professional outfit and have been an excellent partner and been involved from the very beginning of this exciting project with the conclusion being a very light weight underbelly tank that provides a head pressure unseen in similar volume tanks that can deliver a fantastic and controllable drop pattern that is second to none”.
The Helitak FT1400 has a light weight carbon fibre shell coupled with the Helitak expandable water bag and the Helitak Programmable Logic Controller offering various drop pattern options with its touch screen tablet that provides full cloud based telemetry of the tank operations.
Helitak looks forward to a long and successful partnership with Nautilus Aviation providing aerial firefighting capabilities to the Far North Queensland regions.