On 9th February a wildfire firefighting exercise was held in Pighet Heliport, in the Italian Alps, few kilometers from Bergamo. The heliport (and the restaurant nearby) has been recently acquired and reopened by a group of 3 people. Between them mountaineer and helicopter pilot Simone Moro, recordman both as a climber and as a pilot.
The involved helicopter was a Vigili del Fuoco Sikorsky-Erickson S-64F Skycrane “Nuvola Rossa”, still wearing the Corpo Forestale dello Stato livery (disbanded in 2016).
I was given the chance to stand close to the helicopter during takeoff. However, I did not expect the downwash to be so strong to make breathing difficult!
The helicopter scooped up water from a pool, and performed few drops with different settings.
From certain angles it looks like an alien from another world!