Trailer Magazine


A fire-fighting partnership

  • From the March 2019 issue.
A fire-fighting partnership

Kestrel Aviation is one of Australia’s leading providers of specialist aviation services to government and corporate organisations Australia-wide and overseas. With an increasing presence in the fire suppression field, Kestrel recently called upon Tieman for their specialist tanker needs to support fighting bush fires in Australia.

Kestrel Aviation is one of Australia’s leading providers of specialist aviation services to government and corporate organisations Australia-wide and overseas. With an increasing presence in the fire suppression field, Kestrel recently called upon Tieman for their specialist tanker needs to support fighting bush fires in Australia.

Kestrel was established in 1985 by Captain Ray Cronin where he is supported by a team of highly skilled pilots, engineers and support crew who are recognised experts in the field. This capability is backed up by Kestrel’s state-of-the-art facility in Mangalore, Central Victoria where the aircraft are maintained in a large hangar with workshop areas, a dedicated Operations Centre employing the latest in fleet monitoring and operations technology, a Frasca helicopter simulator, training rooms, administration centre and storage rooms.

Kestrel currently have 17 government contracts for fire fighting helicopters, covering the full spectrum of capability required by the various agencies around the country. The contracted fleet ranges from light reconnaissance and air attack platforms, through to the versatile and efficient medium Bell 212/412 fleet and at the other end of the spectrum with the hard hitting and all powerful Aircranes, capable of delivering up to 7,500 litres of water.

Kestrel have partnered with Erickson Inc Pty Ltd in the provision of the renown Aircrane helicopter (many know the Aircrane as ‘Elvis’ which was one of the first Aircranes to operate in Australia and remained here for many years). The combination of Kestrel and Erickson capabilities are unsurpassed by any competitor in their ability to confidently supply a conglomerate of capability, expertise and proven outcome.

More recently Kestrel became the first Australian helicopter company to provide Night Vision Goggle capability for fighting fires at night. This capability has already been proven through trials and deployments in the 2018/19 fire season and is expected to expand in future seasons.

Over the years, the responsibility for the provision of fuel to the aircraft out in the field has become more critical as fires become more prevalent. Hence when Kestrel had a recent need for some specialist aviation tankers, it was only natural to choose and partner with a tanker manufacturing company with the same focus on engineering capability and customer satisfaction.

Warren Blyth, General Manager of Kestrel comments about the challenges set on delivery expectation, design flexibility and the finished product from Tieman and Liquip Vic. 

“Tieman and Liquip worked closely with Kestrel during the design phase to ensure the configuration of the refuelling trailers met with Kestrel’s operational requirements,” he says. “During various phases of the trailers construction Kestrel were kept well informed with progress and the delivery timeline. The trailers were delivered within the agreed timelines and we are very satisfied with how they have been presented and equally as important their operational suitability to supporting our aircraft.”

Tieman partnered with Liquip Vic to engineer and produce multiple highly specialised aviation tankers with Jet dispensing equipment that would underpin the fuel supply to the Kestrel Aircrane fleet. The 32kl four compartment aviation tankers were designed similar to the Tieman ‘Fuel Shifter’ design with the front chassis rail extending out to allow mounting of a storage tray. The tanker has low drain sump outlets at the rear of each compartment and is designed with its own on board monitoring and overfill protection system to allow self loading from another road tanker on site.

Due to the remote conditions encountered to fight fires, the tankers could be deployed anywhere and at any time and are key to supplying quality Jet fuel to the Kestrel air fleet so they can fight bush fires in Australia.

Industry best experience, reliability and proven quality are a promise jointly offered by both Tieman and Liquip Vic. With both companies using the latest 3D design technology, their customers can view the tanker design prior to build to ensure all operational and safety needs are met

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