Bell Helicopters and Crews Work Overtime on Recent Wildfires

December 04, 2007
Los Angeles, CA - December 4, 2007 - Bell helicopters have worked overtime to save lives and property in the recent wildfires terrorizing Southern California. In October, more than a dozen fires across Southern California forced the evacuation of thousands of residents. In one of the worst cases of wildfires Southern California has ever seen, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles, Orange, Poway, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Without Bell's dependable fleet of helicopters, that emergency might have been much worse.

Los Angeles County Fire Department's Air Operations Section flew over 160 hours and dropped more than 270,000 gallons of water and foam with its fleet of 412s in one week alone. They often operated in adverse conditions with winds up to 45 mph and gusts as high as 60 mph, but the 412s operated for hours at a time, sometimes dropping 45,000 gallons over the course of eight hours.

Ventura County Sheriff's Department used two Super Hueys to help battle the blazes, dropping about 75,000 gallons of water in 200 sorties and 30 flight hours. "On one fire, several houses were threatened, but due to the combined efforts of the helicopters and ground crews no structures were lost," said Capt. Jim Dalton.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Air Operations Division crews kept the department's single Bell 212HP fire/rescue helicopter - Copter 1 - working nonstop during the recent wildfire outbreak, dropping water, transporting injured residents and firefighters and flying reconnaissance missions to help assess the need for evacuations. "Battling strong winds, the crew was able to fly in under the smoke column and determined that the fire had hit the trigger point identified as the point to begin the evacuations of Rancho Bernardo (city of San Diego) and Poway," said Brian Fennessy, deputy chief of Special Operations. "Without having this early identification, evacuations may not have been effected as soon as they did."

Copter 1 was the only helicopter that operated without interruption over the 10,000-plus acres that burned within the city of San Diego from the moment the fires started. "While the winds and visibility presented significant challenges, the efforts of Copter 1's crews are credited with saving lives by the early identification of evacuation trigger points, saving multiple structures by water drops and directing ground engines to the most threatened structures," Fennessy said.

About Bell Helicopter 
Bell Helicopter is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tilt rotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.

About Textron Inc. 
Textron Inc. is an $11 billion multi-industry company operating in 32 countries with approximately 40,000 employees. The company leverages its global network of aircraft, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, Fluid & Power, Textron Systems and Textron Financial Corporation. More information is available at

Connect with Textron IR

David Rosenberg, Vice President, Investor Relations
(401) 457-2288
Kyle Williams, Manager, Investor Relations
(401) 457-2288

Email Alert

Enter your Email *
Mailing Lists *

Enter the code shown above.