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IAB Issues Full Approval of Air Tractor Gen III FRDS Firegate

Air Tractor President Jim Hirsch reports that the Air Tractor Gen III Fire Response Delivery System (FRDS) has received full approval from the Interagency Airtanker Board (IAB). This follows a 12-month testing, inspection, and field evaluation process. The firegate received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the Federal Aviation Administration April 1, 2020.

“We are quite pleased to receive approval of the Gen III FRDS for single engine air tankers such as the AT-802F and 802F Fire Boss,” says Hirsch. “Air Tractor has been building and supporting state of the art, constant flow rate firefighting systems for AT-802F aircraft since 1992, with more than 350 firefighting aircraft delivered around the world. This is a well-proven firegate system that brings the latest innovations, advanced features, and capabilities to aerial firefighters.”

The Gen III FRDS has already seen extensive use in the United States, Europe, South America, and Australia following IAB interim approval in April 2020. Dauntless Air installed the first Gen III FRDS on airframe N8522Q in support of the STC process. Wipaire/Fire Boss and aerial firefighting company Aerotech have also used the Gen III firegate on their aircraft since early 2020. Fred Fahey Aerial Services, Kennedy Aviation, and Field Air and others have operated the all-electric Gen III firegate for the past three fire seasons in Australia.

The extensive update to the FRDS system includes more than 280 lbs. (127 kg.) of weight reduction, all-electric operation, 25%+ more flow than the Gen II FRDS, integrated AFF tracking/ATU telemetry system, integrated foam injection control, and much simpler operation than previous systems.

Operators and fire agencies report the precise constant-flow operation, high flow rate capability, and the lighter weight of the system provide significant advantages over other firegate systems.

The Gen III FRDS has the broadest range of flow capability available, enabling very dense applications at coverage level 8. At coverage level 0.5 it produces 2,200 feet (670 meters) of ground line — the most ground line per gallon of retardant of any firegate.

The Gen III FRDS is standard equipment for Air Tractor AT-802F and AT-802AF single engine air tankers. A retrofit kit is also available for earlier FRDS models and AT-802 agricultural aircraft.

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Ryan Mason
Ryan is an accomplished writer and aerial photographer that has worked in the aviation industry for over a decade before co-founding AerialFire Magazine. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Ryan is a former police officer that focuses his writing and photography efforts on para-public operations and agricultural aviation.

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