Our Fleet



Coulson Aviation Australia is the first aerial firefighting company in the world to modify Boeing 737s into approved fire liners. We made history during our three yearlong modification that required over forty-three thousand hours of labor by over 100 aircraft workers.

This massive undertaking was accomplished at an unprecedented speed considering the stringent engineering guidelines, Boeing engineer communications, DOT (Department of Transport of Canada), and FAA approvals required.

Our licensed sheet metal workers, AMEs (Aircraft Maintenance Engineers), aerospace design engineers, and supporting staff had to press their problem-solving muscles to the max to ensure perfection in the process.

This small photo gallery was taken soon after our first 737 Fire Liner mod was completed. We currently use this configuration to fight fires in locations all around the world, including the US, Chile, and Australia just to name a few!




Currently, Coulson Aviation Australia runs multiple C-130 Hercules fire bombers configured with our ground-breaking RADS-XXL fire suppression system(s).

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules was first in service for the United States military in 1956, primarily used for the transport of troops, vehicles, and supplies.

As a result, the C-130 turned out to be ideal for aerial firefighting, due to its ability to take off and land on “less than ideal” runways. The United States Forest Service were the first to use the C-130 to fight fires with their Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS). Australia was the next country to use the C-130 for fighting fires.

Coulson Aviation USA later invented the RADS XXL fire suppression system which greatly enhances all aerial firefighting maneuvers. The Coulson RADS-XXL four-thousand US gallon roll-on/roll-off system makes for a quick & easy conversion from an equipment/personnel transport configuration to a fire suppression configuration. Learn more about our RADS-XXL system.


The CH-47 Chinook VLHT (Very Large HeliTanker) with night mission capability was added to the Coulson Aviation Australia fleet in late 2021. These are the highest retardant capacity helicopters in the world. See comparison below:

  • Bell 412EP / Max 375 gallons
  • Bell 214B / Max 660 gallons
  • K-Max / 700 gallons
  • FireHawk S-70i / Max 1000 gallons
  • S-64 Skycrane / 2650 gallons
  • Coulson CH-47 / 3000 gallons



We set the industry standard when we initialized the transport of Rap Attack Crews (A.K.A “rapattack” crews or “rapid attack crews”) for the United States Forest Service (USFS) back in 2001. Since this inception Coulson is the only existing Type 1 operator in the world, approved in Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Coulson designed, built, and certified the first one thousand US gallon (approx. four thousand litre) Sikorsky S-61 belly tank; the first gel injection system carry tank that can be removed and/or replaced in under thirty minutes.

We also developed a real-time measurement and quantification system which transmits data via the Iridium Satellite Network. This gives aerial firefighting teams the ability to accurately track the quantities and locations of all drops within the firefighting theatre; making it possible to get invaluable cost-per-gallon progress reports.

Coulson Aviation Australia was also the 1st aerial firefighting company in the world to be given NVG (Night Vision Goggle) certification for the S-61.


The Sikorsky S-76 is a commercial utility helicopter, manufactured by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.

It’s powered by twin turbo-shaft engines complimented with a 4-blade main rotor, 4 blade tail rotor, and retractable landing gear.

The Sikorsky S-76 fuselage design and powerplant configuration was engineered in the 1970s and has had limited modifications due to its superb service advantages.

It can cruise at 178 mph (287 kph) and is one of the fastest twin-engine helicopters in the world. This is a stellar benchmark considering it was originally manufactured by Sikorsky over 40 years ago. Its maiden flight was on 13 March 1977.


The Bell 412 is a utility helicopter of the Huey family manufactured by Bell Helicopter. It is a development of the Bell 212, with the major difference being the composite four-blade main rotor.

Development began in the late 1970s with two Bell 212s being converted into 412 prototypes. An advanced four-blade main rotor with a smaller diameter replaced the 212’s two-blade rotor. A Bell 412 prototype first flew in August 1979. The initial model was certified in January 1981 with deliveries commencing in the same month.

The 412 model was followed by the 412SP (Special Performance) version featuring larger fuel capacity, higher takeoff weight and optional seating arrangements. In 1991, the 412HP (High Performance) variant with improved transmission replaced the SP version in production. The current production version, 412EP (Enhanced Performance), is equipped with a dual digital automatic flight control system.



The Cessna Citation family is Cessna’s business jets line, forming the largest business jet fleet. The first Citation was put into service in 1972 and more than 35 million flight hours have been logged since. Fifty years after the first flight, more than 7,500 Citations have been delivered.

It started with the small Citation I prototype flying on September 15, 1969, and produced until 1985, developed into the 1978-2006 Citation II/Bravo, the 1989-2011 Citation V/Ultra/Encore and the Citation Jet since 1993.

The standup Citation III/VI/VII was delivered from 1983 to 2000, its fuselage was reused in the Citation X/X+ delivered from 1996 to 2018, the Excel since 1998 and the Sovereign since 2004. The Mustang was a Very Light Jet delivered from 2006 to 2017 while the flat floor fuselage Latitude has been delivered since 2015 and the larger Longitude from 2019.


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