NY Army National Guard helicopter crews rehearse firefighting drills near Schyulerville, April 17

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A National Guard UH-60 drops water during firefighting mission on July 13, 2018. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Andrew Valenza

LATHAM, NY (04/16/2019) (readMedia)-- New York Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crews based at Albany International Airport will be conducting water bucket training over the Hudson River just south of Schuylerville on Wednesday, April 17.

The training will be conducted on Wednesday morning between 9:30 and 10 a.m. and again between 11 and 11:30 a.m.

Two UH-60 helicopters will be involved in the training mission. They will be using Garnsey's Airport, a private airport located on U.S. Route 4 a mile south of Schuylerville.

The helicopter crews will use the buckets, known by the trademarked name of Bambi Bucket, to scoop up water from Hudson River and drop it on a small island that will be used as a target. This allows them to practice the same techniques used to extinguish wildfires.

The collapsible buckets, which are hung underneath the helicopters, can dump 660 gallons of water on a fire each time they are used.

Each year as summer begins Army National Guard helicopter crew members and maintenance personnel retrain on how to attach the buckets to Black Hawk helicopters and then practice picking up water and dumping it.

The training is necessary because a bucket full of water weights two tons and helicopter pilots need to practice flying with that additional weight hanging under their aircraft in order to fly safely in an emergency.

The New York Army National Guard employs helicopter firefighting equipment when requested by state officials. Most firefighting is conducted by New York State Police helicopters.

In July 2018, two Army National Guard UH-60 helicopters assisted in fighting a 526 acre fire in Flatrock State Forest near Plattsburgh. The UH-60s dropped 100,000 gallons of water on the fire.

More than 200 people, including crews from Quebec and Vermont were part of the response.