Simplex announced this week that its 370i Fire Attack System (FAS) had successfully gained FAA type certification. The 370i system, unveiled at the Aerial Firefighting show in Sacramento, California in March of 2018 is an 850-gallon internal Fire Attack system for the Blackhawk  (S-70i, S-70A, UH-60A, & UH-60L)

The Model 370i FAS is certified for installation and operation on the Timberline Helicopters Inc. TC type. Simplex will be working quickly to add additional Blackhawk Type Certificates to the Model 370i FAS Approved Model List (AML). The Model 370i FAS is the first, and only FAA certified internal Fire Attack System for the Blackhawk helicopter developed primarily for restricted category civil aerial firefighting operators and requires no modifications to the aircraft structure.

The 900-gallon internal tank system utilizes a single dispersal door that drops water/foam through the cargo hook well. The internal tank system is made from a proprietary lightweight composite matrix that provides superior corrosion and fatigue resistance compared to metal tanks. The tank utilizes a 1000 gallon per minute hover refill system and has dual ground fill ports for increased flexibility and safety during ground filling operations.

Mark Zimmerman, Simplex Aerospace President & CEO, stated, “We have incorporated several enhancements to create a safe and effective firefighting system for the Blackhawk aircraft.  Specifically, the ability to perform aerial firefighting missions at night, and the addition of our patent-pending AFT Hook System with pilot release control for increased safety. The AFT hook allows for faster VNE when the pump is stowed and eliminates the need for a person to manually release the hover pump for hover refill operations. Additionally, a camera system replaces conventional mirrors to observe hover refill operation.”

Larry Lichtenberger, Executive Vice President, added: “The Model 370i Fire Attack System can be installed and removed in approximately 15 minutes facilitating rapid response and multi-mission flexibility for our customers.” 

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 designing and manufacturing systems from high-strength, low-weight composite materials to produce reliable and cost-effective solutions for firefighting, agriculture, utility maintenance, and other aerial applications.

  The Model 370i Fire Attack is the first and only internal Fire Attack system for the Blackhawk helicopter developed principally for the restricted category civil aerial firefighting market. 

The US government divested approximately 800 Blackhawk helicopters over the last several years, many of which are being purchased and placed in service by civil operators with restricted category FAA type certificates to use in aerial firefighting and other high-value missions. 

Mark Zimmerman, Simplex’s CEO commented that “Simplex’s internal Fire Attack systems eliminate the need for the Blackhawk gear extensions required for belly mounted tanks, making the internal tanks ideally suited for civil Blackhawk operators.”

The 850-gallon internal tank utilizes a single dispersal door that drops water through the cargo hook well with minimal modifications to the aircraft.  Installing the tank in the aft cabin increases the depth of the water, compared to belly mounted tanks, provides a powerful gravity fed water drop.  

Simplex also offer a 1,000 gallon internal Fire Attack system with three dispersal doors requiring minimal modifications to the aircraft skin.  Both internal tanks systems are made from lightweight composites providing superior corrosion and fatigue resistance compared to historic metal tanks providing decades of maintenance-free operational service. 

Both 850 and 1000 gallon models utilize a 1000 gallon per minute hover refill system capable of being mounted on either side of the tank.  Each model has dual ground fill ports, so the tank can be easily refilled when circumstances required ground fill and during night operations.

The entire Fire Attack system can be installed/removed in less than 15 minutes allowing rapid change is facilitating rapid mission application.

The Simplex internal tanks offer USFS & NAFC Type 1 helitanker retardant discharge capability allowing pilots to select the number of retardant drops, flow rate, and percentage of fire foam to engage all fire and fuel conditions.  An automatic emergency water drop feature is included on all Simplex Fire Attack systems in the event of an aircraft power outage or other emergency condition.