CH-54A Skycrane Fire Fighting Helicoptor up close!
My local airport is often a refueling stop for the Siller Brother's helicopters which have a range of about 220 miles. I heard the distinctive noise of the big Sikorsky Skycrane on approach to the airport. Natually I grabbed my camera and drove the 2 miles to the airport. The Visalia airport is pretty small and somewhat layed back. I have been allowed in the past to walk out and photograph aircraft when I ask permission. Usually there are limitations where I can and cannot go and I am careful to respect that. This time I was allowed to walk up to the Sillers Bros. Skycrane and I immediately saw a large pool of jet fuel under the cockpit. There was a small fuel leak on a line that dumps fuel back into the tanks when the engines are shut down. It was enough to ground the helicopter until the Siller Brothers techs driving a truck and trailer back from LA too, arrived to make the repair. It was an unforgettable opportunity to see one of my favorite aircraft up close and talk with one of the pilots who was friendly and explained many questions I had about the Skycrane and its role in firefighting.
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