Bushfire aircranes arrive in Canberra

Bushfire aircranes arrive in Canberra

6 November 2006

published by www.abc.net.au

Australia — Two front-line weapons in the fight against bushfires this summer have arrived in Canberra from Greece, inside one of the world’s largestaircraft.

Summer special … a firefighting Aircrane helicopter, one of four here for the season, is unloaded in Canberra yesterday.
Photo: Andrew Sheargold

The plane carrying the two water bombing helicopters touched down just before 8:00 am at Canberra Airport, but it was another three hours until the first of the two helicopters were unloaded.

Around 50 people are believed to be involved in bringing the two aircranes to Canberra, where one of them will be housed for the summer.

Erikson Aircrane staff will remain in Canberra for the next 24 hours to assemble both aircranes, while pilots will remain in the region to fly the aircraft over the bushfire season.

Canberra Airport’s Steven Byron says one will be based in Melbourne.

Mr Byron says the upgraded runway has allowed more freight to be brought through Canberra.

“The delivery of these fire fighting aircraft could never have happened before into Canberra because we didn’t have either the strength or the length in the runway,” he said.

“But having completed that project in the last month or so we can have major freight aircraft fly into Canberra rather than use Sydney Airport.

“I think we are very excited about the arrival of this aircraft and the fact that it means we are an alternative, in terms of major freight capability, to Sydney Airport, which gets very congested particularly at this morningpeak.”

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