National Guard Helicopters Conduct Training In Northern Westchester

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The Army National Guard conducted a helicopter training exercise in Cortlandt.
The Army National Guard conducted a helicopter training exercise in Cortlandt. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
The helicopters practiced scooping up waters from the Hudson in case they need to dump it on fires.
The helicopters practiced scooping up waters from the Hudson in case they need to dump it on fires. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
These training exercises are conducted every year.
These training exercises are conducted every year. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
The guard is called in when local agencies request support through the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to fight a fire.
The guard is called in when local agencies request support through the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to fight a fire. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
The training exercise was deemed a success.
The training exercise was deemed a success. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Jim McCauley oversaw the training exercise.
Jim McCauley oversaw the training exercise. Photo Credit: Sam Barron

CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- Helicopters flew over the Hudson River in Cortlandt last week, all in the name of fighting potential wildfires.

New York Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crews conducted water bucket training in the Peekskill Bay section of the Hudson River in Cortlandt.

The pilots use the buckets, called Bambi Buckets, to scoop up water from lakes and rivers and then dumps the water on forest or wildfires. 

The collapsible buckets, which are hung underneath the helicopters, can dump 560 gallons of water on a fire each time they are used.

The training process occurs every spring in the event local agencies request support through the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to fight a fire. 

"You never know when we might be called," Jim McCauley of the National Guard, who was supervising the training, said. "We recently had wildfires in New Jersey. We're the backup to the police."

McCauley said there are 30 pilots in the battalion, which is based out of Long Island. The Army has also conducted similar training exercises in Long Island. 

The Army said 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.

McCauley deemed the training exercise a complete success.

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