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A Lyndoch helicopter pilot will play an important part in this summer’s fight against bushfires. Bridgette Kies, one of the ‘chopper chicks’ from Barossa Helicopters, will be based at the Parafield Airfield as an air-attack response pilot during the fire danger season.
In her role, Bridgette will fly a Bell 206 helicopter, co-ordinating larger water-carrying helicopters.
The Bell 206 chopper will be joined at Parafield by the bigger Bell 205 Huey that can carry 1400 litres of water and foam and ‘hover fill’ its on-board tank from a snorkel.
“Wherever there is a fire this year you will see these machines there,” Bridgette said.
The two choppers stopped at the Barossa Helicopters’ base, near Lyndoch, last week – as Bridgette helped fly them in from Queensland’s McDermott Aviation.
‘Harry’ the Heuy is the largest chopper to have landed at the local helipad.
Bridgette Kies:
• Became the youngest female commercial helicopter pilot in Australia aged 18.
• Has more than 1900 hours flying experience.
• Was based in Melbourne last summer in an air-attack fire-fighting role.
Bell 205 ‘Huey’ helicopter:
• Has a rotor span of almost 15metres.
• Can carry 13 passengers, plus two crew.
• Was formally used by police/defence forces in Oman.