This morning I went for a motor scooter ride out to Hume located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). My main interest was to have a look at the ACT Rural Fire Base Helibase which is right next door to the SouthCare Helicopter base on the Monaro Highway. There wasn’t any flight activity happening while I was there so I took a few photos of some of the helicopters sitting at the base including the SouthCare chopper receiving some maintenance work.
The Erickson Skycrane pictured below is quite a versatile helicopter as it arrived in Australia from Greece last October to help out with the Australian bush-fire season. The Erickson Skycrane is quite popular as it is used by other firefighting agencies in countries like Greece, Canada and the United States. It is transported around the world by cargo ship.
The history of the Erickson Skycrane is that initially it was manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft in the USA which is a well known manufacturer for helicopters designed initially by Igor Sikorsky from Russia. The Erickson Skycrane has the ability to lift a whole range of different weights or loads from large power-line constructions, tree logging, building structures and water transfers for fighting bush-fires. In terms of fighting bush-fires the Skycrane can hover over water and use its self-priming hydraulic pump to fill up its 9,000 litre tank in under 50 seconds in water as shallow as 45cm. This is why it is such a versatile aircraft for so many different environments it has to work in. http://www.ericksonaircrane.com/history.php
Below is an amateur YouTube clip of another Erickson Skycrane known as (Isabelle – N178AC) filling up with water at Penrith NSW (Sydney outer suburb) in 2009. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSbj0BSts1w
The Snowy Hydro SouthCare helicopter service operated known as SouthCare provides critical medical care of people located in the ACT and South Eastern NSW. The main hospital in Canberra (TCH) has a helipad which allows the SouthCare helicopter to transfer urgent medical cases to and from the the hospital when required. One of the memorable events that SouthCare participated in was transferring Stuart Diver from the Thredbo landslide which took place on 30 July 1997. This tragedy took the lives of 18 people and it was a miracle that Stuart survived as he was trapped for 12 hours under a slab of wet cold concrete. It is in these types of life saving emergencies that SouthCare comes to life providing that quick access to acute medical care. The following link is the main website for SouthCare and feel free to donate to a worthy cause if you can. http://www.snowyhydrosouthcare.com.au/