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The „Clearwater“ training is organized once every year to ensure the cooperation between civil fire emergency services und the German Air Force in case of huge forest fires. Basis is a contract between the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior and the Bundeswehr which aims towards the cooperation with civil fire emergency services in the alpine region. The actual training included the Helicopter Wing 64 from Laupheim with Sikorsky CH-53GA and the civil fire emergency services from Munich and Wolfratshausen with Semat F5000 Buckets.

Two main points are trained:

1.The hook-up of the Bucket filled with 5000 Liters of Water. The firemen on the ground must get used to the Helicopter, how to approach considering the downwash and how to connect and disconnect the bucket from the Helicopter. The water is then released over a specially marked area.

2.Introduce the civil firemen to the emergency procedures in case of unclear gear status of the Helicopter. This introduction is done by the professional fire crew of the airfield Laupheim. The training explains how to attach safety pins at the gear of the hovering Helicopter which ensure a safe landing and ensures the gear cannot collapse due to hydraulic failure.

The cooperation has proven itself strongly over the last years. The large forest fire at The Water Reservoir Sylvenstein could be extinguished quickly through coordination and cooperation between the civil fire emergency service of Wolfratshausen and two CH-53s from Laupheim.

Thomas Ziegler, Juni 2016