Helicopter Express called upon the expertise of Volga–Dnepr Airlines in fast response transportation services for an urgent delivery of helicopters to fight the outbreak of wildfires that are currently plaguing the Chilean countryside. Helicopter Express, who are contractors to the US Forest Service (USFS) and the Department of Interior (DOI), are highly-respected experts in fire-fighting operations and provide services such as aerial water delivery, prescribed burning, rappelling operations, and personnel delivery. For this mission, they were contracted by the Chilean government.
One of Volga-Dnepr’s giant An-124-100 freighters touched down at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport less than three hours after the helicopters arrived there for the 11 hour flight to Santiago. The unique cargo carrying capabilities of the An-124-100 meant it was able to transport all three Bell 205 helicopters, a K-MAX 1200 helicopter and a flatbed truck and trailer on board a single flight. The total weight of the payload aboard the An-124-100, which took up the entire floor of the cargo hold, was 25 tonnes. Peter Baldauf, Key Account Manager, Aerospace at Volga-Dnepr, Houston, Texas, said:
“This was a case of two companies that are experts in their fields of operations joining forces to provide a fast solution to help the Chilean government tackle the wildfires in central and southern Chile. Although we regularly carry helicopters, including in the past to fight wildfires, this was the first time we have had the pleasure of working with the team at Helicopter Express so it provided us with an opportunity to demonstrate our capabilities. We expect to be working together again in the future in support of their full range of heavy lifting, disaster relief and helicopter charter services.”