Cal Fire Sets Up A Helicopter Fire Retardant Dip Station at Reid-Hillview

County Airports


Yesterday morning Cal Fire started the process of setting up a "dip tank" station at Reid-Hillview, which they completed today.  Dip tanks are used by fire fighting helicopters to replenish their supply of fire retardant.  The setup at RHV consists of a semi-trailer sized mixing tank, two dip tanks for the helicopters, two large tanks of clean water used for mixing the fire retardant, and several water tender trucks to transport water from the fire hydrant to the pools.  

Skycrane using the dip tank at RHV. 8/27/20
Reid-Hillview Dip Tank
Chinook reloading Phos-Chek fire retardant at Reid-Hilliew Airport
Chinook reloading Phos-Chek fire retardant at Reid-Hilliew Airport

The system is setup in the grass at the north end of the field.  If you happen to be on the airport, please keep your distance so they have plenty of room to operate.

When the helicopters are operating at the airport, runway 31R/13L will be closed to ensure there is no conflict between the helicopters and our regular traffic.

Please pay close attention if you are taxing while these helicopters are operating in the area.  They create a great deal of rotor wash and could cause some challenges for an airplane that is too close. 

On a different note, please be aware of a crane that was erected just south of Eastridge Shopping Center today. It is expected to be in place between 0800-1530 daily for the remainder of the week as they work on the new Costco site.  

Reid-Hillview Helitack Base General Layout



County Airports




And finally, in support of the fire fighting efforts taking place out of the San Martin Airport, the temporary air traffic control tower there is operational.  They are currently operating on the Unicom frequency, but make sure to check all NOTAMs prior to flight.

Eric Peterson

8/27/20 Update:  Added photos and video of operations at RHV.  Added helitack base layout plan.

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