Roughly more than a week after Royal Norwegian Air Force helicopters were called in to combat a historic village fire, Norwegian military Bell 412SPs were chartered again on 28 January 2014 for yet another destructive inferno.
This time the flames again went astray big time due to hard wind conditions, now on four different locations in the community of Flatanger – about 200 km (125 miles) north of the city of Trondheim. The regional fire department has only one chopper available.
The Norwegian Defence Forces scrambled four of their Bell 412, two from Rygge south of Oslo and two from Bardufoss, the latter having to fly more than 900 km (500 nautical miles) to get to the area. Unfortunately, due to winds up to the strength of a hurricane none of the air assets has been deployed for active fire fighting when this article was written at about 17:00 GMT (18:00 local time in Norway).
Norwegian Coastguard vessel KV Bergen has been dispatched as well. It was planned to arrive at 20:00 local time, 22 hours after the first fire reports reached rescue services or 11 hours after the police requested military assistance.
The recent fires might mean restructuring of the RNoAF helicopter fleet with detachments of Bell 412s possibly at main operations base Ørland in the future, currently the home of F-16 fighter jets and SAR Sea Kings. At least until the new to buy 16 AgustaWestland AW101s could be equipped and its crew trained for fire-fighting operations.
© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger