A ‘Swiss Army Knife’ in the Sky: This Fort Worth Company Develops Next-Gen Equipment for Aerial Firefighting

    Victor Trotter and his team at Haltom City-based Trotter Controls develop onboard technology that’s been called “the gold standard” in aerial firefighting.

    In 2020, they received a patent and FAA approval for the world’s first all-electric fire gate system.

    “Think bomb doors,” says Trotter. The company’s FRDS GEN III was selected as a fire gate for Air Tractor (based in Olney, 100 miles northwest of Fort Worth) and its latest version of the AT802F firefighting plane. The new system replaces the hard-to-maintain hydraulics and pumps with a simpler electric motor that’s 40 percent lighter. That means the plane can carry more liquid fire retardant. Plus, the design automatically compensates when the tank is not level to deliver consistent coverage on the ground.

    “Trotter Controls has developed and certified groundbreaking new technology that represents disruptive improvements in the state of the art,” Trotter says.

    The leader in aerial firefighting control systems

    The “disruptive improvements” that Trotter Controls is developing are not just controls for SEATs (single-engine air tankers). Earlier in 2020, the company developed an all-electric fire gate for the Blackhawk helicopter and created new tank design controls for Sacramento-based Helimax Aviation’s CH47 heavy helicopter.

    Read more on this story at Dallas

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