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19

Parksville, British Columbia --- Ascent Aerospace announces the STC
certification and production launch of the Ascent 50001C helitank system for Bell
212 helicopters.

Forest fire management agencies around the world are making increased use of
helicopter mounted tanks ‘helitank’ to rapidly attack wildfires before they can get
out of control.

Ascent’s 360 US gallon (1360 litre) helitank was designed with extensive input
from pilots and leading wildfire agencies and has a number of innovative features that set it apart from competing products.

The Ascent 50001C features a unique retractable snorkel for rapid uploading of
water, completing a fill of 360 US gallons in about 18 seconds. This feature
allows the helicopter to be ‘unrestricted’ in two categories: speed and utilization.

• The retractable snorkel removes limitations of forward airspeed, translating to
faster response times; approximately 20% faster than helicopters outfitted
with tanks that have non-retractable snorkels.
• Additionally, the retractable feature also allows the helicopter to carry
passengers in addition to ‘essential crew’ resulting in an expanded mission
capability.

To reduce pilot workload, all the controls and indicators for the helitank are
contained in a redesigned cyclic. With only one thumb, the pilot can control all
the tanks systems, including a master release.

The 50001C helitank is also certified with a water offload capability so water can be pumped from the hovering helicopter to firefighters on the ground using a
standard 1 ½ inch fire hose.

The rugged yet lightweight carbon fiber design has been engineered to allow a
3,000 lbs capacity external cargo hook.

A water drop tracking system (awaiting installation) has been designed to
seamlessly integrate with satellite-based flight tracking systems to map the GPS
coordinates for all water drops along with many other programmable data
collection parameters. These features will provide the helicopter operator/end
user with critical information regarding the effectiveness of each fire fighting
mission.

Ascent Helicopters, sister company to Ascent Aerospace, provides specialized
helicopter firefighting, external hoist, utility and special air services in Canada
and the United States.

Development of the Ascent 50001C helitank commenced in 2006 shortly after
Ascent Helicopters successfully bid on a long-term contract to provide services to the British Columbia Wildfire Management Branch (WMB) Rapattack program.

“British Columbia has been using helitanks for 30-years and the Rapattack
program had a long “wish list” of features they wanted to see, to enhance their
mission capability,” said Trent Lemke, president of Ascent.

“We decided to get into the helitank business when we discovered that existing
helitanks fell short of BC’s challenging mission requirements and could not be
easily modified.”

To meet the evolving nature of wildfire missions, the helitank was designed to
deliver several ‘drop patterns’ optimized to the type of fire being attacked.
Internally, the helitank has two water compartments accessible by two oversized drop doors. The doors can be opened independently or together, depending on the desired type of water drop.

With input from Australian wildfire agencies the tank was also designed with a
door seal that eliminates water loss in flight. Pilots can initiate a controlled flow,
causing the tank to produce a rain like drop pattern (restrictive drop) that is
effective on grass fires.

The initial Ascent 50001has been in operational service with the BC WMB for
seven years (under Limited STC), during which time the design was continually
refined.

The Ascent 50001C helitank was developed as a clean sheet design and it is
certified to the latest FAA FAR 27/29 STC requirements for helicopter safety and
crash worthiness. It received Supplementary Type Certification (STC) from the
Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) on June 19, 2013 and from
Transport Canada on November 1, 2013. FAA STC certification will be underway
in the near future.

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