Forest Aviation Headquarters Celebrates 50 Years of Service

Forest Aviation Headquarters (FAH), a division of Korea Forest Service (KFS) is an important agency protecting South Korean forests and wildlands.

Published November 11, 2021

The Forest Aviation Headquarters that is a subsidiary organization under the Korea Forest Service recently celebrated a milestone birthday. The agency is 50 years old, and Erickson was on-hand to celebrate. Erickson and FAH have a longstanding relationship that dates back more than 20 years. FAH owns six S-64 Air Crane® helicopters and will take delivery of another aircraft in 2022.

Erickson provides on-site customer service to FAH throughout the year, ensuring their needs are met.

Image source from KFS Aviation Headquarter Instagram

KFS is managed by an agency specializing in forestry that is overseen by the South Korean Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. This is like the United States Department of Agriculture.

In the case of South Korea, 64 percent of the land is covered by forests. In the U.S. only 37 percent of the land is considered forested, with Maine having the greatest percentage of forested land.

Americans might be surprised to find out that Koreans are keen on camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation. This is one reason forest management is so key in the region.

Korea Forest Service, years ago, determined that it was mission-critical to preserve forest lands. One major step that they took was to purchase their own fleet of Air Crane® helicopters to fight wildfires.

Recent wildfires have included (Wikipedia):  

  • March 2013, Gyeongsangbukdo Pohang wildfire
  • April 2019, Gangwon Province wildfire. The wildfire lasted three days. This massive conflagration burned 1,307 acres (529 ha) of land and destroyed over 2,000 buildings. Around thirty people were injured, and the fire resulted in two deaths.
  • April 2000, Gangwon-do Gangneung wildfire
Image source from KFS Aviation Headquarter Instagram

In September 2021, Erickson’s Managing Director Asia Pacific Region, Hwan Kyu Chung attended the 50th anniversary celebration. The event included many guests, such as local politicians, the city mayor, the FAA head officer for Korea, and Forest Service personnel.

Chung said the purpose was to celebrate the good work they have been doing since being founded in 1971. Erickson Inc. also celebrated 50 years in business in 2021.

He added, “They took time to remember the sacrifices that helped make the organization the size it is. They started with three aircraft and now have 47 aircraft, all rotor wing, and 400 employees who work for independent agencies within KFS.” Like the U.S. Forest Service, they maintain the forests, hiking, construction, and forest management. They also fight wildfires to protect their land and human life.

Chung said that the event was held at Forest Aviation Headquarters, which is Erickson’s main customer within KFS.

The event was attended by fewer people because of the ongoing pandemic, but they made it special with drone-based light shows that were broadcast on YouTube. The light show using hundreds of synchronized drones was orchestrated by Pablo Air. But the exciting part for Chung and others from Erickson Inc., is that the light show focused on the S-64 Air Crane® helicopter.

According to Chung, the flagship aircraft of the Forest Aviation Headquarters, is the S-64 Air Crane® helicopter.

“In Asia, these anniversaries are a big thing. It has the same meaning as it does for Erickson to celebrate 50 years,” said Chung.

There are 11 bases and 47 aircraft around the country. Their fire season is opposite of the United States as it starts in November, and it goes until the middle of May.

Check out the videos of the drone light show put on at the FAH 50th Anniversary celebration.

View Drone Light Show to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary, featuring drones in the form of S-64 Air Crane Helicopters