THERE was hardly a cloud in the sky yesterday, but water still came pouring down from above at the Ballarat Airport.
Only it wasn’t rain, but a thunderous show from one of Victoria’s most powerful firefighting weapons.
An Air Tractor 802 from Stawell, loaded with 3200 litres of water, did a demonstration flyover at the airport, unleashing more than three tonnes of water and foam on the ground.
The exercise coincided with the arrival of Gypsy Lady – the massive firefighting helicopter capable of carrying 9000 litres of water.
Gypsy Lady, a replica of the famous Elvis helicopter, will be stationed in Ballarat throughout summer and will be in active service from today.
It is one of just two helicopters of its kind, with Elvis stationed at Essendon airport.
It can be used by both the CFA and the Department of Sustainability and Environment.
DSE Midlands fire manager Merydth Whitehead said Gypsy Lady could reach a cruising speed of 200 km/h and could refill in one minute.
“With recent high temperatures and thunderstorms across the state, it’s good to have the aircraft here ready to help the firefighting effort,” she said.