Whitehorse-based Horizon Helicopters is taking delivery of an Aerospatiale AS332L Super Puma heavy-lift helicopter, putting the Yukon operator in first place in aerial heavy-lift capacity in the northern territory.

“There’s really no comparison in the North right now,” Horizon Helicopters operations manager and chief pilot Cole Hodinski told CBC News. “It’s big … it’s 62 feet long [18.9 metres] and 16 and a half feet [5 metres] tall.” This model can normally lift up to 4,500 kilograms.

Dubbed “The Firecat” (and painted accordingly), the helicopter will be used mainly for firefighting and operational support for the mining industry.  Its firefighting bucket holds 4,000 litres of water or fire suppressant, and it also has a 4,200-litre tank on board. Horizon says that in the off-season it may be able to assist with firefighting in southern climes, such as California.

Manufactured in 1984 and recently imported into Canada, the manufacturer has seen a series of name changes over the years, from Aerospatiale, the name of the manufacturer when the machine was built, through Eurocopter and now to Airbus. In 2015 the venerable series was renamed to H215 to conform with Airbus’s naming conventions. The 1000th model in the twin-engine turboshaft series recently flew away from the Airbus Helicopters factory in Marignane, France.

Photo credit: Horizon Helicopters