IBAMA Introduces the Sling Dragon into Aerial Firefighting Strategy

IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) conducts its large and comprehensive Annual Forest Firefighting Training Program, held in Brazil’s capital city of Brasilia at the national park. This year’s training program, which included both theory and practical elements, introduced SEI’s Sling Dragon, an important device for the integrated management of controlled burns.

The Sling Dragon went through extensive testing and received technical release in time to train IBAMA pilots with the new aerial ignition equipment. IBAMA’s three Sling Dragon units are the first to be used in South America.

SEI Industries developed the Sling Dragon to increase safety and performance by removing the machine from inside the aircraft and slinging it from the helicopter cargo hook with a set of SS suspension cables. Safely operated by the pilot with a hand control switch, the ignition occurs outside the aircraft and separate from the helicopter flight deck, eliminating the need of a crew operator. With a much-increased capacity of 5,000 spheres and seven speed setting, the Sling Dragon is equipped with a GPS tracker that records the drops' coordinates on a MicroSD card, allowing users to easily view a map of their burn area.

“The Sling Dragon will exponentially increase our prescribed burning capability, which is a fundamental element of IBAMA’s preventative program to reduce the severity of wildland fires, especially in large, protected areas such as indigenous and conservation lands. The addition of the Sling Dragon to our toolbox will bring more efficiency and safety to the aerial ignition operations, allowing quick access to unreachable and risky areas for the ground crews,” says Everton Almada Pimentel, environment analyst, Aerial Operations, IBAMA.

The Annual Forest Firefighting Training program — a weeklong event, repeated twice during the month of July — is coordinated by both Prevfogo (The National Center for the Prevention and Combat of Forest Fires), a division of IBAMA responsible for policy, prevention and fighting forest fires in Brazil, and COAER, the Institute’s Air Operations Coordination. COAER’s training strategy includes instruction for ground operations, controlled burns, and Bambi Bucket training. Brazil’s most experienced aerial firefighting operator, HELISUL Taxi Aereo, provides pilots with the opportunity to repeatedly fill the Bambi Buckets at different water sources and extinguish fires set by ground and aerial crews on designated grass fields.

“Every year IBAMA performs multiple operations in Brazil to fight and prevent forest fires. Due to the aircraft multi-mission’s requirement, the Bambi Bucket is the ideal firefighting tool. It is flexible, light, and easy to install and remove from the helicopter, providing flexibility for the pilot to support other operations and quickly return to firefighting without shutting the engines down,” says Commander Robinson Bordin, director of Operations, HELISUL.

For additional information regarding the many product lines offered by SEI Industries’ Aerial Firefighting Division, visit www.sei-ind.com.