Twin Bambi Buckets with a combined payload of 20 tons (5200 US gal./ 19,600 litres) were successfully test flown under a Mi-26T on June 24, 1997.
The first Bambi Bucket was delivered in 1982. Fifteen years and seventy-five countries later on the Russian Riviera, SEI Industries Ltd. of Canada teamed with Skytech Heavy Lift Helicopters of Belgium to give birth to this new ultra heavy lift Twin Bambi Bucket system. This amazing demonstration sparks the future of aerial delivery of fire suppression services by the world's largest heavy lift helicopter.
The focus in forest fire-fighting is for an early attack, taking command of the fire before it gets out of control. The trend is to use larger helicopters to transport a skilled ground crew and their equipment directly to the remote incident, then quickly change roles to provide aerial delivery of fire suppressant. This tactic takes full advantage of the helicopter's multi-mission capability. In this scenario, the Bambi Bucket equipped heavy lift helicopter is a proven asset.
To compare the Mi-26 heavy lift helicopter to the fixed wing water bomber alternative, a demonstration of its true capability was essential. Therefore, this new innovative Bambi Bucket system was conceived and engineered specifically for the Mi-26.
The system components consist of Twin Heavy Lift Bambi Buckets (up to 2600 USG/ 9800 litres) slung independently from a three metre (10') spreader bar with an electronic control system allowing simultaneous or independent release of the loads. An electrically charged Friction Swivel developed by Skytech Heavy Lift accommodate hook rotation and integrity of the system's electrical functions. The Mi-26's complete system is long lined (30 metre/100') to distance the payload from the rotor wash of the Mi-26's eight blades. The system provides aerial delivery of up to 5,200 USG/19,600 litres per cycle with water alone. The Sacksafoam III automatic foam injection system completes the turnkey system, increasing the delivery suppression capability of this Twin Bambi Mi-26 System by at least an additional 300%.
.../2 Outstanding Performance, Low Operating Cost!
Mr. Eduard Davidendo, Chief, Aerial Forest Fire Center of Russia was an enthusiastic witness to the Twin Bambi Mi-26 demonstration, simply stating "Excellent!" The cost benefit to the fire suppression industry will be significant. The Twin Bambi Mi-26 system meets the stated objectives of the Fire Suppression industry better than any other aerial delivery method, delivering skilled men and their equipment to remote incidents, then switching to provide accurate aerial delivery in the very important task of fire suppression.
The dramatic Russian trials demonstrated that the Twin Bambi equipped Mi-26T is capable of a delivered cost as low as US$0.19 per USG (US$ 0.05 per litre) based on a cycle time of five minutes. These figures can be compared to fixed wing delivery costs of between US$1.25 to $2.10 per USG according to the US Interagency Fire Center. Piloted by Capt. Sergei Makarine, the Mi-26 with the two Bambis on the hook, reached a stable maximum flight speed of 227 km/hr.(123 Kt.) under load and 215 km/hr.(115 Kt.) empty. These high speeds produce a shorter cycle time offering significant cost benefit to the industry!
Fire suppression authorities worldwide have expressed serious
interest in the Twin Bambi Mi-26 system. The Twin Bambi Mi-26
system is available for immediate delivery. There are an estimated
210 Mi-26 aircraft available with 80 currently operating outside
the former Soviet Union, all capable of operating the ultra heavy
lift Twin Bambi System. Inquiries from Turkey, Italy, Spain,
Korea, and South Africa have already been received.
For further information and a video of the Twin Bambi Mi-26 delivery system contact: SEI Industries International Inc. Unit #2, Stafford House the Garrison St. Michael, Barbados Tel: (246) 228-4908 Fax: (246) 228-3226 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Ditmore, International Sales Manager, Aerial Firefighting Products