Helicopter production first commenced at Yeovil in Somerset in 1948 following the end of the Second World War and a review of aircraft production. A number of successful international companies in succession have produced some of the world’s most popular helicopter models at this site over the past 70 years, which is today owned by Leonardo.
Leonardo Helicopters in Yeovil have enhanced their site fire protection with the commissioning of two state-of-the-art firefighting vehicles to protect the assets and the staff of their constantly evolving aircraft business.
Leonardo are a global high-tech company delivering aerospace, defence and security innovations. The company is organised into seven specific divisions: Helicopters, Aircraft, Aerostructures, Airborne & Space Systems, Land & Naval Defence Electronics, Defence Systems and Security & Information Systems. With their headquarters in Rome, Leonardo boast an annual turnover approaching Ä13 billion with a workforce of 45,000 employees across five continents.
The Helicopter Division brings together the experience and technology formerly under the umbrella of Agusta in Italy and Westland in the UK. In 2001, the two companies merged to create AgustaWestland, and today Leonardo Helicopters are one of the world’s leading helicopter manufacturers.
Leonardo are also one of the largest suppliers of defence equipment to the UK MoD and the largest Italian inward investor to the United Kingdom. They currently employ over 7,000 highly skilled professionals across six major British sites and they support a supply chain sustaining a further 25,000 UK jobs.
Aircraft manufacture at Yeovil dates back more than a century to when Westland Works was established in 1915 in order to supply aircraft to support the First World War. The first aircraft built at Yeovil was a Short Admiralty Type 184 seaplane, which left on 1 January 1916 by horse and cart! The fourth aircraft built at Westland took part in the Battle of Jutland, piloted by Frederick Rutland from Weymouth, or ‘Rutland of Jutland’ as he became known. Following the end of the Second World War and a review of the company’s fixed-wing aircraft activities, UK helicopter production commenced at the Yeovil site under a close working arrangement with the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in the USA.
Today the Yeovil site manages the design, development, test, production, support and sales of a complete range of rotary aircraft available for commercial, public utility, security and defence operations. Current production covers all the main helicopter weight categories, from the 1.8-ton single-engined AW009 up to the 16-ton three-engined AW101. All the helicopters are dual-purpose platforms (both commercial and military) except for some specific military applications. Currently over 2,800 highly skilled staff are employed in support of the Leonardo Yeovil operation.
The Leonardo Helicopters Fire and Rescue Service has a complement of ten personnel providing a professional fire service from the central fire station between 0730 and 1645hrs, five days a week with additional cover outside of these set times to cover extended test flying.
A minimum of five fire-service personnel are on duty per shift with all personnel holding a current CAA Aerodrome Fire and Rescue Certificate in addition to a Level 3 Certificate in First Response Emergency Care (FREC3). The personnel play an active role in the business by maintaining over 4,000 site fire extinguishers, training Fire Wardens and providing fire-safety advice and training for specific activities including hot work.
The fire service possess a fully equipped fire training ground complete with an AW101 rig for external spill fires and crash rescue exercises, plus three shipping containers in a two-storey configuration for fire behaviour, BA search and rescue scenarios, confined space and rescue from height.
The 220-acre site has covered building space in excess of 2,100,000ft2 used for the supply, support and manufacture of helicopters. A major site of this size presents various risks associated with this specialist business plus the busy 1,190m CAA CAT 4 all-grass runway used exclusively for aircraft test flying.
Two new multi-role rescue and firefighting vehicles have been specially designed and built by Angloco Limited and supplied by Lift West Ltd to Leonardo Helicopters.
Angloco designs, manufactures and supplies a creative range of firefighting and rescue vehicles using the latest technical innovations to respond to customers’ specific requirements. Engineering and complete manufacturing all take place at its Yorkshire factory located in Batley (halfway between Leeds and Huddersfield). The company additionally supplies and supports a wide range of specialist firefighting and rescue equipment manufactured by some of the world’s leading brands. This highly successful British company remains a private family-owned business boasting an expansive customer base spanning in more than 60 countries. Angloco are the United Kingdom’s longest-established fire-engine manufacturer, the company having celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016.
The two new firefighting vehicles each make use of a robust MAN TGM 13.290 4×4 chassis featuring a 6.9-litre turbocharged Euro-6 diesel engine driving through an Allison fully automatic transmission with integrated retarder. Each vehicle incorporates a four-door MAN DK series crew cab accommodating a driver plus four crew, with the rear seats plus front officer’s seat fitted with integrated SCBA mountings. Each appliance features a co-polymer polypropylene integrated body superstructure with two main locker compartments per side plus auxiliary lockers and rear pump compartment. The integral tanks hold 2,700 litres of water plus 225 litres of 3% foam. Fire engineering includes a Godiva Prima P2 series multi-pressure pump rated at 2,500 litres per minute, a round-the-pump foam proportioning system and a remote-controlled bumper-mounted turret featuring aspirating foam tube with deflector, rated at 2,000 litres per minute. The appliances additionally feature an underbody self-protection system, two regulated side lines, a high-pressure hose reel and a 135kg Perren Engineering Limited dry-chemical powder extinguishing unit discharging through a hose reel. The tenders were also specified with a front-mounted winch and a reversing camera.
For more information, go to www.angloco.co.uk