Chinook arrives at EF to lead Victoria’s firefighting efforts

The start of summer signals preparations for the upcoming fire season to move into full swing, and for Coulson Aviation it denotes their arrival to Essendon Fields Airport.

Coulson Aviation will once again operate a significant firefighting aircraft base for the 2022-2023 summer fire season from Essendon Fields Airport, with the Coulson CH-47D Chinook spearheading firefighting efforts across Victoria.

Given its size, the Chinook arrives by ship at Melbourne’s major port on December 5, where it will then be assembled and transported to Essendon Fields Airport ready for use. The large aircraft’s arrival is always a significant event for Essendon Fields, not only given its obvious presence on the apron, but also given the Airport’s continued role in supporting emergency services.

Coulson Aviation Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, Craig Martin, said the team was pleased to return to Victoria and support its communities during the summer season.


This is the second fire season that Coulson Aviation will operate the Chinook from its base at Essendon Fields Airport, which the company significantly modified to make it the largest volume firefighting helicopter in Australia, also capable of conducting night fire suppression operations under Night Vision Goggles.


“When Coulson originally took possession of the CH-47D, the aircraft went into heavy maintenance, consisting of structure mods, avionics upgrades, and the installation of the Retardant Aerial Delivery System (RADS), capable of carrying 11,356 litres.  The RADS-L is an internal tank system with controllable doors to disperse firefighting fluids at a constant flow rate and desired quantity through the belly of the aircraft,’’ Mr Martin said.

Coulson Aviation says their operations will be ready and waiting to respond quickly to any fire event in Victoria over the summer period.

Essendon Fields GM Aviation Colin Fort highlights that if you see the Chinook or any other emergency services aircraft overhead, they’ve likely come from or is heading to Essendon Fields to help someone in urgent need of emergency assistance.

“It fills our team with great pride to work alongside incredible personnel both on the ground and in the air. Essendon Fields Airport are well prepared to operate alongside Coulson Aviation and our states emergency service air wings as a critical hub during the possible firefighting, recovery and relief efforts in Victoria over the upcoming 2022-2023 summer fire season,” said Mr Fort.