A fire fighting department located 8,300 feet above sea level in the Ecuadorian Andes has acquired a Flight Design Light-Sport Aircraft as its aerial support unit.
With support from John Hurst and Jeremy Endsley of Sebring Aviation, the Basin Fire Department began operations at the Mariscal La Mar airport. Hurst and Endsley, representing the Southeastern USA distribution of the LSA, traveled to Ecuador to train fire department employees in assembly, maintenance, and flight training of the CTLS. The group operating the LSA is called the Air Volunteer Fire Department of Basin.
“Using the CTLS in this way, our fire department has an effective tool to help in search functions, recognition and support of ground operations by providing a better service to the community of Cuencana,” Fire Department leader Hugo Cobo said, noting the CTLS is the first aircraft the department has had.
Cobo said the fire department chose the CTLS after studying other aircraft manufacturers, including experimental, LSA and other general aviation. “The CTLS was the only aircraft that meets the safety operation and performance requirements for the fire department,” he said.
Cobo estimates the CTLS will be flown about 25 hours a month, with more time expected during the wild fire season.
The department’s pilots received five hours of training at Sebring and approximately five hours of training in Cuenca, according to Cobo, who added, “We find this very helpful because the training is not that long and this time assures a good training for a safe operation.”