Computer Controlled Automatic Loading Water Bucket System for Aerial Firefighting

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2004-33610-14377
Agency Tracking Number: 2004-00026
Amount: $80,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
P.O. Box 391, Greybull, WY, 82426
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Duane Powers
 (307) 765-4482
Business Contact
 Dan Hawkins
Title: President
Phone: (307) 765-4482
Research Institution
Aerial firefighting is a dangerous and demanding business, which is evidenced by the numerous loss of life during the "fire season". Millions of dollars worth of equipment has been destroyed in the fight to protect people and valuable natural resources from the devastation of wildfires. Due to the recent reduction in the large fixed wing air tanker fleet there has been an increased demand placed on the use of helicopters and a greater than before emphasis on safety in the firefighting industry. The costs of using helicopters to fight wildfires ranges from $650.00-$8,000.00 per hour. Current systems use a slung water bucket with cinch straps, plugs, zippers, or a load cell with a manually operated valve to control weight. These methods are at best inefficient and increase the workload for the pilot during dangerous hovering operations. The purpose of this project is to research and develop a computer-controlled water bucket system to automate the loading phase and incorporate a load splitting feature. The new system will increase the safety and efficiency of helicopters in aerial firefighting.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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