According to the duPont Registry, Jay Leno owns around 180 cars. What he doesn’t own is a GE T700 turboshaft engine.
As he stood admiring the T700-powered Sikorsky Firehawk during a recent filming of his CNBC show Jay’s Leno’s Garage, the comedian joked about the 2000 standard horsepower engines: “I should get that in my car. That would be alright!”
The Los Angeles County Fire Department gave Leno a ground tour and flight over L.A. in the Firehawk during the episode.
The Firehawk helicopter is a modified Sikorsky Black Hawk platform that is specially customized for firefighting, medical evacuation/air ambulance and search-and-rescue missions. The helicopters are used to transport “Helitack Crews” of up to 11 wildfire firefighters and their gear into fire areas, and are equipped to drop water and retardant chemicals from a 1,000-gallon tank. (The fire retardant is injected into the water tank from a separate 30-gallon chemical tank.)
Today’s Firehawk platform begins life as a Sikorsky S-70i helicopter, a third generation Black Hawk variant. United Rotorcraft, based in Englewood, Colorado, then modifies the aircraft with the belly tank, extended landing gear, hoist and other aerial firefighting equipment.
Due in large part to enhanced T700-701D engines, the Firehawk helicopter demonstrates increased engine power and reliability for hot, higher altitude operations and improved mission availability. The engines also power a pump that can fill up the belly tank in less than 60 seconds through a retractable snorkel hose while hovering over a water source. (Pilots can also land the aircraft and ingest water through a side connector.)
“These machines are experiencing some of the most extreme conditions you can imagine on a helicopter,” says Bill Neth, Customer Programs Manager at GE Aviation. “Every time the aircraft is fighting fire, it goes to maximum power six to eight times per hour. It must deal with the heat but also the heavy lifting when the tank is full of water.”
(Some material and photos are courtesy of Sikorsky.) BLACK HAWK® and FIREHAWK® are registered trademarks of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. S-70iTM and S-70ATM are trademarks of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. Used with permission.