The Greek firefighting season came to a close this week as crews from all over the world began the process of packing their aircraft to return home for maintenance or head on to the next mission, with some aircraft headed directly to Australia as the southern fire season begins.
Australian Consular General to Greece, Sue Parkes hosted the crews of the six Mc Dermott aviation (Heli-Lift Australia) Bell 214B’s that assisted in Greek firefighting efforts all season this week as a final farewell to the crews and aircraft as they begin their trip home via the Russian Antonov AN-124 heavy cargo aircraft to begin work in Perth, Western Australia and other locations around the country.
The Mc Dermott crews were in the country for a period of two months, flying over 155 flight hours that consisted of 986 water drops, dropping 2,460 tons of water during firefighting operations in Greece according to information supplied by McDermott Aviation.
Firefighting operations in Greece are accomplished by international cooperative agreements with several Greek companies that source international helicopter operators to provide support for firefighting, such as Mc Dermott Aviation, Erickson Incorporated, and Heli-Sky to name a few, that provide aircraft that include the Erickson S-64 Air-Crane, Bell 214, and several Mi-8’s deployed around the country to various bases that have all seen action this season.
In addition to contract resources, Greece also operates several state-owned assets that include several CL-415 water-bombing aircraft. This year also saw international support provided by the Russian government, who sent several Mi-8 aircraft with buckets to provide mutual assistance during this season which proved to be one of the busiest seasons on record for aerial firefighting.