NY Army National Guard conducts water bucket training in Hamlin

By on April 8, 2019
Natl Guard helicopter

A New York Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter and 10 crewmembers conducted water bucket training on Lake Ontario along the eastern shoreline at Hamlin Beach State Park on Tuesday, April 2.

The helicopter crews, which are based at the Patriot Way Flight Facility in Rochester, used specially designed aircraft buckets, known by the trademarked name of Bambi Bucket, to scoop up water from the lake and practice dropping the water on designated sites. This allowed the aircrews to practice the same techniques used to extinguish wildfires.

The crews are from Detachment 1, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation. They operate the CH-47F, the Army’s largest helicopter. It can lift more than 30 soldiers and carry 28,000 pounds of cargo.

Water was scooped in a linear flightpath parallel to the shoreline at a distance of 500 to 1,000 feet from the shoreline. Buckets were scooped from deep water to avoid any contact with the lake bottom.

Each year as summer begins, Army National Guard helicopter crewmembers and maintenance personnel retrain on how to attach the buckets to helicopters and then practice picking up water and dumping it. The training is necessary because a bucket full of water weighs two tons and helicopter pilots need to practice flying with that additional weight hanging under their aircraft in order to fly safely in an emergency.

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