EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

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EAA AirVenture Today

Photo by Phil High
Elvis shows off its ability to deliver water from the sky.

July 29, 2009 - Oshkosh, WisconsinShake, 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 August 2.

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 firefighting tool."

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 Point, Oregon.


FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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