Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fire Fighting LSA

The LSA movement may have struggled along with the rest of civilian aviation over the last three years. 
Still, there's no stopping folks who see how useful Light Sport Aircraft can be for work at a lower cost than traditional aircraft.

Overall U.S. LSA sales leader Flight Design (1,500 now flying worldwide) just told us about a fire fighting department (situated at 8,300 feet MSL) in the Andes mountains of Ecuador that is using a CTLS as an aerial support unit.
John Hurst and Jeremy Endsley of Sebring Aviation went to the South American country to assist the Basin Fire Department at Mariscal La Mar Airport.
Hurst and Endsley trained fire department employees in the assembly, maintenance, and flight training of the CTLS.
The group operating the LSA is called the Air Volunteer Fire Department of Basin.
Hugo Cobo, the head of the department, said: "Using the CTLS...our Fire Department has an effective tool to help in search functions, recognition and support of ground operations by providing a better service to the community of Cuenca."
Mr. Cobo adds, "The decision to buy the CTLS was made after studying different information of other aircraft manufacturers including experimental, LSA and other general aviation (aircraft). The CTLS was the only aircraft that meets the safety operation and performance requirements for the Fire Department."
Low cost ops and training were important factors in his final decision. 
The CTLS is the first and the only aircraft used in all Fire Department operations, including search and ground operations support.
Cobo estimates average monthly flight hours will be around 25, with greater use expected during wildfire season.
The department's pilots received five hours of training at Sebring and another five hours in Ecuador.
This one aircraft will not only provide quick response and accurate surveillance during emergencies but will also be used as a kind of LSA showcase of the aircraft's usefulness to other fire departments in the region.
Typical mission profile, even given the 8,300 foot altitude at takeoff, will not limit flying top only one person due to the CTLS performance, which includes a climb rate above 1,000 fpm at sea level and a top cruise of 120 knots.
Here's a couple videos of the Ecuadorian operation.
Take off -- notice how the high altitude and thin air make for a long takeoff roll...wonder what the density altitude was? --

And landing...

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