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Helitech: Portuguese Kamov Debut

16th October 2008 - 00:00 GMT | by Tony Osborne in Estoril, Portugal

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Portuguese helicopter operator, Empresa de Meios Aereos has used Helitech Portugal to show off its new Kamov Ka-32 for the first time.

The Lisbon-based company operates six Kamov Ka-32A11BCs and four AS-350 Squirrels on firefighting as well as inshore and offshore SAR. The first Kamov was delivered in September 2007 and 24 pilots are trained on the type, having taken theory exams in Russia.

Two Russian and a single Portuguese instructor trained the crews on the type once the helicopters began arriving in Portugal. The aircraft are operated by EMA for the Portuguese Ministry of the Interior and are painted in a bright yellow colour scheme.

The six are modified from the standard Ka-32 having rear sliding doors on both sides of the aircraft. Standard-build aircraft only have a sliding door on the port side. Each is equipped with a weather radar, loud hailers, stretchers and a Spectrolab searchlight. In the cockpit, old analogue instruments have been replaced with digital screens, while on the port rear door hangs a rescue winch.

Pilot Henrique Martins told Rotorhub.com that crews were satisfied with the machines. He said: “It is very stable and extremely reliable, and we have a lot of power in the engines which allows us to carry out our tasks with ease.

“In firefighting we use the bucket system at the moment but in the future we may get the underslung fire attack system too."

EMA’s Kamov is one of three on display at Helitech, the others are operated by Grupo Inaer and HeliPortugal.

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