Jun 28, 2023
In the last few years, damaging wildfires have swept through the Greater Los Angeles area at an alarming rate. When these wildfires erupt, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is among the first to respond. On average, the LAFD responds to approximately 1,478 emergency incidents every day. As these fires spread across America’s second largest city, nearly four million people are severely impacted by its wrath. For the LAFD, being able to respond promptly and strategically to minimize the impact of the wildfires is crucial. This is when the LAFD’s new high-tech Bell 505 comes into action.
The Bell 505, or more commonly known as “Fire-7” by the LAFD, is joining the department’s multi-mission fleet to fill the role of Helicopter Coordinator (HLCO) tasked with assisting incident commanders with tactics and strategy while simultaneously managing aircraft separation during aerial firefighting operations.
“The new Fire-7 will assume the lead position for all command-and-control missions,” said Captain Erik Scott, LAFD. “Fire-7 will help modernize the LAFD’s fleet and it will provide significant tactical and technological advantages in protecting L.A. against wildfires and other emergencies for years to come.”
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With its glass cockpit, fully integrated Garmin G1000H NXi flight deck, and twin 10.4” high-res LCD screens with a moving map display, the Bell 505 provides advanced terrain data to pilots during emergency situations.
“Essentially, the Bell 505 will serve as an air traffic controller in the sky. When we have large brush fires or multiple rescue helicopters working in a certain area, the Bell 505’s technology will assist the pilots in identifying wires, mountains, obstacles, or other aircraft in the airspace and warn the pilots that those hazards are out there,” said Chief Pilot Scot Davison, LAFD. "The Bell 505’s improved crash survivability and advanced technology leaps us ahead in safety for our pilots and crew, and conversely, lets us safely get to work protecting the people of L.A. from wildfires.”
In addition to its tactical capabilities, the Bell 505 will also serve as a training platform for new pilots. In the coming months, the LAFD plans to add an Isolair fire tank to the aircraft to train new pilots on precision aerial water drops.
The LAFD joins generations of public safety agencies across the world that use the Bell 505 as a reliable and high-tech training helicopter for their fleet.