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Simplex Model 5400 Heli-torch

Heli-torch (drip torch) operations began in Region 6 on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in 1975. The Heli-torch used 60% diesel and 40% gas mix for ignition. The Heli-torch has been used in the United States and Canada for many years.

The system discussed in this manual is built by Simplex Manufacturing and the concept was initially developed by Western Helicopters using gelled fuel. Because of the height and speed it is flown and the excellent ignition capabilities, it is a useful tool for fuels management. The Heli-torch can be used as a fire suppression tool on large project fires or it can be used for field burning grass and range lands. It is also useful with modifications as an aerial marking tool. Where speed, timing and safety are necessary to accomplish backfiring operations, the Heli-torch has proven to be a very valuable tool. It is an environmentally acceptable alternative to aerial spraying or mechanical brush removal and has proven cost effective.


The Simplex Heli-torch is a lightweight unit designed to be operated with any undedicated helicopter equipped with a cargo hook. The unit consists of a lightweight aluminum frame, a high strength steel bail, a single point suspension system, fuel barrels, and a pump and motor with an ignition tip assembly. The C/G of the Heli-torch will not change with different weight fuels or different barrels sizes.

The model G Heli-torch incorporates a single point suspension system that is easily adaptable to all cargo hooks whether they face forward or to the side. All cables and attaching hardware are to aircraft quality specifications. Fiberglass bars separate the cables to allow the torch to remain suspended 90° to the direction of flight. Cables terminate on the torch bail and on the pump and motor assembly. Cables are designed to prevent entanglement with the helicopter skid gear during take-off and landing.

The Heli-torch comes with either (2) 55-gallon or 30-gallon barrels. Each barrel has four handles for ease of lifting and a large lid to facilitate filling. mixing and cleaning. Fuel is pumped from the barrels through a 2 inch suction hose. To simplify barrel exchange, a 3600 swivel is installed on a dry break and the barrel is locked into place by the bail and (2) quick release pins.

Barrels are available with one of two options. The first is a dry break loading system to be used in conjunction with our utility mixer Model 6420. The second is internal mixing paddles operated with a hand crank.

The pump and motor assembly incorporates a positive displacement pump and field proven 28 VDC, 2.4 HP electric motor. The pump's built-in by pass will immediately recirculate material in the event of a fuel line blockage. A manual valve is used to adjust flow rate. The optional feed control allows the pilot to adjust flow rate in flight. not only saving fuel. but increasing motor life.


Empty Weight (55 gal) 180 Lbs. 82 Kg.
Gross Weight (55 gal) 636 Lbs. 290 Kg.
Capacity 55 Gal. 280 Lt.
Height 200 Ft. 12 Mts
Speed* 40 Mph 64 Kms/Hr
Will produce particles the size of golf balls and burn approximately 8-10 minutes.
Height 150 Ft. 9 Mts
Speed* 30 Mph 48 Kms/Hr
Will produce particles the size of golf balls and burn approximately 12-17 minutes.

*Operations withing prescribed burning wind speed will not affect the drift of gel/gas during ignition.

30 Gallon drums are also available.

Current .44 Amps
Voltage 28 VDC
Current 2.5 Amps
Voltage 28 VDC
Current 18 Amps
Voltage 28 VDC
Current 2 Amps
Voltage 28 VDC
Current 2 Amps
Voltage 28 VDC


  1. FAA regulations part 137 approved unit.

  2. Planning-5711, RS Supplement #53 FSM.

  3. Pilot Regulations
    1. Standard Contract—as written.

    2. Service Contract — Recommended 50 hours of low level application, i.e. long line heli-bucket operations, aerial application, or Heli-torch operations.

  4. Meet National Training Standards for Air Service Manager Heliport. Reference: R-6 Supplement *46, 5712.12.

  5. Meet Standards for Helispots. Reference R-6 FSM 5762.12-6, Supplement 137.
    1. Helispots to be approved by Forest Air Officer or his designated representative.

  6. It is recommended that units planning to use Heli-torch operations be aware of the regulations involved in transporting and handling flammable liquids. Two publications that are recommended can be purchased from the National Fire Protection Association at a price of $3.00 each.
    • NFPA #407-Aircraft Fuel Servicing
    • NFPA #77- Static Electricity

Orders can be sent directly to:

National Fire Protection Association
470 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210



Drawing of suggested positioning for helicopter electrical components in aircraft cockpit.


Photo of pear link adapted connection for sid to side cargo hook.
Pear link adapted connection for side to side cargo hook.
Photo of Simplex Model 5400 Heli-torch hanging from a helicopeter.
Suspension assembly.
Photo of pear link adapted connection for front to back cargo hook.
Pear link adapted connection for front to back cargo hook.
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