Australia’s first firefighting Blackhawk!

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We spoke with Timberline Helicopters who are the first company in Australia to use the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter for firefighting! Take a look at the photos they took of the machine, both inside and out, especially for us.


Flashover: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, we heard you are you the first blackhawk configured for firefighting in Australia – is this the case?

HT 260 the first civil blackhawk used for firefighting in Australia

Yes, this is the first time that a civil Blackhawk has been in Australia for firefighting. We are working in partnership with Pays Helicopters from Scone NSW and are very happy with the relationship that we have developed.


Flashover: What made you choose the blackhawk over the other more common machines?

We have operated Kaman K-Max helicopters in the US for 12 years and were looking for an aircraft with larger lift capacity. When the US Army began selling surplus UH-60 helicopters we saw an opportunity to develop our capabilities. After operating it over 750 hours in 6 months last season in the US we are happy with our choice and have become more impressed with the aircraft’s capabilities.


Flashover: Could you tell us a bit about the machine? Does it offer any advantages over others we see out here?
One major difference between the Blackhawk over many currently used aircraft is out ability to cruise to the fire at 150kts or about 275km/hr. When we arrive at the fire and deploy our bucket we can then travel at 110kts (200km/hr) empty and up to 140kts(260km/hr) with a load in the bucket.



3,400 litre custom designed bucket

Flashover: How do you have the machine configured at the moment?
Currently the aircraft is configured with a 55m longline and 3,400 litre bucket. The bucket is our own custom design which combines a Bambi Max multi shot bucket with a 90 liter per second snorkel pump allowing us to fill from any water source 30cm deep in 38 seconds. Yesterday (18/1/2017) on the Mulligan Flat Rd fire we delivered 221,000 liters in 3 hours on the fire ground. Also in design is a fire tank for the aircraft which we hope to deploy in coming seasons.



Flashover: Do you have a regular call sign, so we can listen out for you on the fireground?

Our call sign for this season is HT260 and we look forward to working with you guys!


If you have any photos or footage of this new fire fighting weapon, we’d love to see it and share it. Contact us on facebook or


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I founded Flashover to promote Australian Firefighting. I've been a volunteer and a paid firefighter but now I spend my time chasing up leads, promoting good mental health and making the occasional Grumpy Firecom comic!

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  1. March 26, 2017

    […] Interviews […]

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