Rotor Radio from Vertical Magazine

Fighting fire with an Air Crane

February 3, 2021

When wildfires are at their worst, as they have been in recent years, there are few more potent weapons than the giant orange dragonfly that is the Erickson S-64 Air Crane.

Erickson bought the manufacturing rights to the S-64 Sky Crane from Sikorsky in 1992, changed the name to Air Crane and has been building, operating and improving the 70-foot-long (21 meter) bus-faced heavy lift helicopter ever since.

S-64 pilot and training captain Keith Gill joins Rotor Radio to discuss the unique helicopter’s firefighting superpowers. Flying for Oregon-based Erickson, Gill has followed the fire season around the globe from Australia to Greece to the western U.S. most years for the better part of four decades.

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