Barcelona-based Vallfirest provides tools and machinery for firefighting, but has now developed the Leo bucket system for aerial firefighting. The Leo enhances any fire attack, generating a completely expanded and homogeneous Class A foam.
The system is equipped with a smart release system giving the pilot the chance to drop part of the water in case of being overweight or a lack of power, or release the total load of water.
Lluis Alvarez, from the company said: “All the current systems drop water by gravity; but you don’t control the drop. It depends upon speed and altitude and we wanted to design a system more precise for the dump, with foam or water with a long dispersant.
“You can drop up to 20 metres high and you get a long dispersal. In another system it would take 3-4 seconds drop, but in ours you can do it for 45 seconds to 1 ½ minutes depending upon the flow. It is an external load, which can be filled up in 3 seconds and can do between 20 and 50 drops [for short sharp drops]. An Airbus H125 can carry up to 700 litres, but the system can go on any helicopter.
During Aerial Firefighting Europe 2017, he said: “It is my first visit to such an event – with a conference, exhibition and a static display outside. It’s the first time we have shown the system and have been very impressed by the reception we have received.”