HELiFIRE Buckets


About Us


"Collapsible Aerial Firefighting Systems"





HELiFIRE Engineering, is the design and manufacturing division of Rural Fire Service Ltd.  As private wildfire contractor, Rural Fire Service specialises in the provision of Integrated Wildfire Management services and the manufacture of Helicopter Role equipment. 


We are problem solvers and solution providers, designing and manufacturing innovative Helicopter Role equipment under the brand name “HELiFIRE™ Monsoon Bucket” that allow Helicopter operators and pilots to support rural firefighting operations and suppress wildfires. 





Our mission is to provide Helicopter operators with innovative, high quality solutions that outperform expectations, improve safety and increase the productivity. This idea has been the foundation of our success in continually introducing innovative new product technology in helicopter firefighting and live fire training simulators.





HELiFIRE Engineering was founded by Fire Captain Simon Osborne in 2000. After an early research and funding phase, HELiFIRE Engineering became fully operational in January 2000.  


Since then, Rural Fire Service established itself as a small, yet successful business in its specialist niche, and more than 54 of our HELiFIRE Monsoon Buckets have been delivered.  


18 years of dedicated service to the wildfire and aviation industries has allowed us to earn our reputation for quality, service and innovation. 


We have become a world leader in the design, manufacture and support of highly engineered aerial fire suppression products for helicopter operators worldwide.  With manufacturing facilities in Central Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, Rural Fire Service will continue to bring innovative technology to our customers. 


Rural Fire Service is proud to be an Australian Defence Force veteran owned and operated.





The HELiFIRE™ Monsoon Bucket was designed and is still built by Fire Captain and Director Simon Osborne who is a fully licenced Pilot (PPL), "A" Grade Automotive Engineer (Diesel) and Fitter and Turner by trade.


Simon decided in his capacity as an operational rural fire fighter to use his experience and knowledge of the Wildfire (rural fire) industry to good use and come up with a practical and effective Helicopter Monsoon Bucket to do the job “the Fireman’s solution”.


He rapidly came up with the concept of a collapsible HELiFIRE™ Monsoon Bucket that could be carried inside the cockpit of a H300 and R22 for deployment to wildfires…. or be used as an emergency cage to extract people from the fire or flood affected areas. 


He made models to prove the concept, as it had to fold compactly for storage in a Helicopter. Convinced by the models he then manufactured a prototype collapsible HELiFIRE™ Monsoon Bucket and enlisted the late Chris Gibbs a local Commercial Agriculture Helicopter Pilot to trial the original prototype.




Simon identified a few weight issues with the prototype HELiFIRE™ Bucket but carried on, undaunted, to get another HELiFIRE™ Monsoon Bucket fabricated with improvements to resolve the initial issues.


Three more HELiFIRE™ Monsoon Bucket prototypes were eventually made as improvements were identified and resolved. Some radical changes to the design were implemented which resulted in the manufacture of a simple, lightweight but strong helicopter monsoon bucket. The HELiFIRE™ Monsoon Bucket takes only seconds to erect, is very compact and the team sent it off once again for flight-testing.


The 180 Litre HELiFIRE™ Monsoon Bucket had passed all tests better than the team could have hoped. Great stability in the worst flight conditions that a fire could produce.





As the HELiFIRE Monsoon bucket is underslung from a Helicopter Hook (which is STC'd), there are no structural and electrical modifications required for the installation for a HELiFIRE Bucket on any Helicopter, and as such there is no requirement for HELiFIRE Bucket to have a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC).


In saying that our range of HELiFIRE Monsoon buckets are built to and operate under the New Zealand Civil Aviation Rule (CAA) Rule Part 133 – Helicopter External Load Operations and the National Rural Fire Authority (NRFA) Fire Equipment Standards for helicopter firefighting Buckets. 





For further information please call +64 6 856 6091 or Click Here to fill out our Online Enquiry Form .