Photo by Phil High
Elvis shows off its ability to deliver water from the sky.
July 29, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin - Shake,
rattle, and roll. While those wild gyrations may remind you of the
crooner, Elvis, it's also the same movements that gave the Erickson S-64F
Aircrane Helitanker its nickname.
You can see and hear all about it during a
10:30-11 a.m. press conference today at AeroShell Square. In addition,
Elvis will fly in the Showcase between 2:30-3:30 p.m. today.
The heavy-duty, twin-engine rotorcraft,
which has gained notoriety for its superior firefighting capabilities,
arrived at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 on Monday, and will depart on
Dave Barnett, the chief pilot who flew
Elvis to Oshkosh, described its flying as "lots of horsepower, a real
brute. I've flown a lot of aircraft and this is simply the perfect
AirVenture visitors will have a chance to
see Elvis in action during several water drop demos during the week. The
tank holds 2,650 gallons of water or retardant, and a recent study by the
U.S. Forest Service shows it's the most economical firefighting platform
on a price-per-gallon basis, costing 10 to 15 percent of other aerial
platforms. Two innovative snorkel attachments for the Helitanker take 45
seconds or less to fill up from any freshwater or saltwater source at
least 18 inches deep.
The aircraft derives from Igor Sikorsky's
last design, and was originally built for the military (CH-54). Erickson
Aircrane purchased the type certificate and manufacturing rights in 1992
and began refurbishing military aircraft. There are currently between 35
and 40 Aircranes in service, all converted military CH 54B models. The
company, which employs close to 700 people, is headquartered in Central