Dousing Fires with Futuristic Helicopters

The rescue vehicles of the future have to evolve with our changing times. Human influence and environmental changes have led to a spike in wildfires across the globe, and the helicopters that fight back the flames and save lost or hurt citizens are becoming more and more important. SAE teams participating in the SOLIDWORKS xDesign SAE Challenge can choose to design the helitack helicopter of the future.

What is “helitack?” According to the US Forest Service, “helitack crews are teams of firefighters who are transported by helicopters to wildfires.” Helitack crews carry firefighting equipment with them and may build firelines to stop wildfires. Crews can carry up to 120 pounds of equipment with them. What can be done to a helicopter to make carrying this crew and their equipment more efficient?

Helitack crews also perform Emergency Medical Short-haul, where they will hoist critically injured people up to the helicopter for removal and medical attention. When fighting fires, some helicopters are equipped with Bambi Buckets, buckets that are designed to pick up and drop water on fires.

Helicopters of today can only carry so much weight, use Bambi Buckets to siphon so much water, and hoist so many people. As wildfires grow in strength and frequency, what can be designed to help the rescue helicopter of the future combat the flames? What can your SAE team design to douse future fires?

Not signed up for the SOLIDWORKS xDesign SAE Challenge? Want to check out the other challenges? There’s still time for your team to win $3,000 by designing a futuristic firetruck, ambulance, or helicopter! Learn more at the challenge website.

Sara Zuckerman

Sara Zuckerman

Sara Zuckerman is a SOLIDWORKS Education Contractor, Social Media and Marketing. She has a B.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College and recently earned a Certificate in Web Development from MassBay Community College. Sara is excited about utilizing this blog to combine her two passions, writing and technology.