Lynch, Tim . 2008. The Heli-Claw: A New Way To Transport Mulch for Erosion Control. 0851 2323. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Missoula Technology and Development Center. 6 p.
After wildland fires, mulch may be spread on the most severely burned areas to control erosion. Now, the mulch is loaded into a cargo net attached to a 100-foot longline underneath a helicopter. After each load of mulch is delivered, the helicopter has to hover while the empty net is removed from the longline and a full net is attached. The pilot and everyone under the helicopter are at risk while the helicopter is hovering near the ground. The Missoula Technology and Development Center has developed a device, known as the heli-claw, to carry loads of mulch. The heli-claw has hydraulically operated jaws that can carry up to a ton of mulch. The helicopter pilot has to hover for no longer than 10 seconds while picking up a load of mulch. In addition, crewmembers do not have to work underneath the hovering helicopter. A prototype of the heliclaw performed well during flight tests, but field tests using the heli-claw to deliver mulch for erosion control have not yet been conducted.
Keywords: BAER, biomass, erosion control, heli-claw, helicopter, mulch, safety at work, shredded wood, straw
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