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As It Was: Central Point, Ore., Logger Opens Air-Crane Company

In the 1970s, logger Jack Erickson was working on a new way to transport logs out of the forest.  He leased a Sikorsky S-64E Skycrane helicopter and opened the Erickson Air-Crane company in Central Point, Ore.  Before long, the company was transporting construction materials and moving supplies to remote regions in Alaska.

By the 1990s Erickson arranged with Sikorsky to become the manufacturer and support facility for the S-64 Air-crane helicopter, becoming the leading operator and manufacturer of S-64 helicopters.

In 1993, an S-64 Air-crane named Bubba, made history by lifting and resetting the 14,985-pound Statue of Freedom from on the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building during renovation. 

Capt. Rob Chambers, a pilot with Erickson for more than 20 years, described Bubba as 25 feet tall, 88 feet long and producing a lot of noise. 

As a working air-crane, the Bubba model can lift 25,000 pounds.  During wildfire season it drops 2,650-gallon loads of water to douse wildfires all over the world.  A two-man crew can dangle a 450-pound tube from Bubba to suck up water and drop it in two seconds when the door is wide open.


Sources: Moody, Jennifer. "Air Support." Albany Democrat-Herald, 14 Aug. 2018, democratherald.com/. /air-support/article_494144eb-bfe5-5643-81c3-d54bdd. Accessed 18 Nov. 2018; Battistella, Edwin. "Erickson Air-Crane." The Oregon Encyclopedia, Oregon Historical Society, 17 Mar. 2018, oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/erickson_air_crane/. Accessed 19 Nov. 2018.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.