Portland, Ore. - Simplex Aerospace has received FAA STC for a hover refill pump storage latching system, called the Aft Hook™. The Aft Hook allows firefighting helicopter operators to store the 5" hover pump during flight and deploy the pump upon arrival at a water fill source.
When installed on a Simplex Fire Attack system equipped helicopter, the Aft Hook allows operators to transport passengers while the hover pump is installed. The Aft Hook will make the Simplex Fire Attack system the only tank system available with this transport category option.
The new Aft Hook, currently STCd for medium Bell helicopters, is used in conjunction with the Simplex Aerospace model 304 Fire Attack system for medium Bell helicopters.
The Aft Hook consists of a latch system installed on the belly of the aircraft. The hook is then attched to the end of the hover pump, allowing the pump to be securely stored during flight. When the aircraft reaches a water source, the pilot releases the storage latch using a cockpit controlled switch to deploy the pump.
The Aft Hook provides several benefits to helicopter firefighting operators. Storing the hover pump during flight gives operators multi-mission capability, such as the ability to transport firefighters to the fire site with the hover pump installed. Storing the pump during flight also allows operators to fly at a faster speed, which reduces transport time en route to the fire. The Aft Hook also helps operators comply with contract requirements in many countries. The multi-mission and speed advantages of the Aft Hook provide operators with a competitive edge over non-stoable hover pump operators to fight fires more efficiently.
Mark Zimmerman, President and CEO of Simplex Aerospace commented, “The Aft Hook is one of many new features that we have recently added to our Fire Attack systems. By allowing our customers to carry fire fighters to the fire we will be adding an STC’d capability that will make Simplex Fire Attack users more competitive in the industry”.
The launch customer for the Aft Hook is Wildcat Helicopters of Kelowna, BC Canada. Wildcat will use the Aft Hook with their aircraft that are on contract throughout Canada. Ian Wilson, Vice President of Operations at Wildcat said, “The Aft Hook will allow us to operate far more effectively, and enhance our ability to respond to fires quickly and safely”.
While the Aft Hook is currently only STCd for Fire Attack System model 304 for medium Bell helicopters Simplex plans to pursue certification for its other twelve Fire Attack models including new systems for Bell, Agusta, Eurocopter, Kawasaki, Sikorsky and Kamov helicopters.
Founded in 1946, Simplex has built a reputation as the leader in design, manufacturing, and certification of aerial application systems and mission equipment for helicopters. Simplex maintains its industry leadership by incorporating the latest technology in design and manufacturing systems from highstrength, low-weight composite materials to produce reliable and cost-effective systems for firefighting, agriculture, utilities maintenance, cargo, oil spill response, and other aerial applications.