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The Honolulu Fire Department's (HFD) helicopter provides air support to Fire Operations on many types of emergencies incidents. Such incidents include, but are not limited to:
The HFD's helicopter is known as Air-1. Air-1 flies day and night visual flight rules (VFR) missions and is often dispatched to emergencies with the HFD Rescue Squad. For example, Rescue Squad members will sometimes rappel from Air-1 into a remote, mountainous area to locate a lost or injured hiker. This method allows Rescue Squad members to quickly reach and provide aid to the hiker, whereas having the Rescue Squad follow a trail to the hiker may require several hours.
The HFD has two McDonnell-Douglas MD 520N No Tail Rotor (NOTAR®) helicopters. The second helicopter is designated as Air-2. Air-1 and Air-2 alternate duty, enabling at least one helicopter to be available for emergencies if the other is down for maintenance or repairs. Occasionally, both helicopters will be dispatched to emergencies. Air-1 and Air-2 are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. HFD helicopters respond to emergencies on
The most distinguishing feature of these helicopters is the lack of a conventional tail rotor. NOTAR® helicopters provide improved safety and reduced noise when compared to helicopters with conventional tail rotors. These safety features are important during both flight and ground operations. Anti-torque in NOTAR® helicopters is controlled by low pressure, high volume air forced through the end of the tail boom. The air is propelled by a variable pitch fan enclosed in the aft fuselage section of the helicopter. The fan is driven from the main rotor transmission.
Air-1 is equipped with a detachable forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera to help locate lost or missing hikers during darkness. Once lost or missing hikers are located, Air-1 may use the Billy Pugh Rescue Net:to extract hikers from mountainous terrain. For injured hikers, the Stokes Litter may be used to transport hikers to an awaiting ambulance. For wildland fires in mountainous areas, Air-1 uses the Bambi Bucket, a lightweight collapsible container, for water drops.
|Last Reviewed: Tuesday, January 03, 2012|