How Noosa’s aerial firefighters are taking on the world
A NOOSA Company is not only helping tackle bushfires at home but is taking its its cutting-edge helicopter waterbombing capabilities to the world.
Helitak Firefighting Equipment based in Noosaville, which has adapted its highly successful expandable underbelly water tank to fit Super Puma Helicopters, has been awarded a business expansion grant from the Federal Government worth $497,500.
The Super Puma tank can be filled with 4200 litres of water in less than 50 seconds to drop precisely on the fire front and can repeat its attacks many times each hour delivering far more water to the fire than large fixed wing aircraft can in the same time frame. They can take off and land with the tanks attached which means that they can operate over urban areas whereas helicopters who use the more traditional buckets which are suspended are not allowed to operate.
Helitak operations manager Paul Blundell said the aim is to supply the firefighting tank globally.
“We’ve actually delivered our first tanks to overseas customer Heli Austria the biggest firefighting helicopter company in Europe,” he said.
In late January Helitak displayed at the Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo held in Anaheim California with immediate results.
“We’ve had an enormous amount of enquires since we returned just a couple of weeks ago, so much so that Jason Schellaars our CEO and chief engineer has returned to Sacramento to follow up on leads and head up further displays of the Super Puma and other tanks manufactured in our Noosaville factory,” Mr Blundell said.
The Super Puma is an Airbus heavy lift helicopter which has been used mainly in the oil and gas industry for crew exchange and rescue, but they reach a point where under regulations they can no longer undertake that work which make them ideal for use in a firefighting capacity.
“This government support is allowing us to fast track our development as a company and employ more local people” Mr Blundell said.
Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien said this Accelerating Commercialisation Grant is supporting Helitak to “enhance this cutting-edge technology and expand globally.”
Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien said this accelerating commercialisation grant is supporting Helitak to “enhance this cutting edge technology” and expand globally.
“I congratulate Helitak Firefighting Equipment CEO and chief engineer Jason Schellaars and their team for their work that is helping to protect lives, properties and animals from destructive fires,” he said.
Mr O’Brien said the Accelerating Commercialisation grants support businesses which exhibit Aussie ingenuity and are working to bring their products to life in new markets.
“These businesses that are thinking outside the box can inspire others and help to boost jobs and the local economy,” he said.
More information on the grant recipients is available at www.business.gov.au/ac-funding-offers.