Western Australia’s two new Black Hawk helicopters have officially been named Yelka and Florian, following more than 12,000 votes cast by the WA public.
A public naming competition ran on the Department of Fire and Emergency Services social media recently, with final voting closing on Monday, January 17, 2022.
Fittingly, the names honour both the State’s indigenous heritage and the firefighters who work to keep the WA community safe.
Yelka is the Noongar word for hawk, while Florian is the patron saint for firefighters.
The competition attracted more than 2,500 entries and names were narrowed down to a final list comprising five pairs, which were then voted on by the public.
For the first time, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services will have two Black Hawk helicopters as part of the DFES aerial firefighting fleet.
The two ex-military twin engine aircraft can carry 4,500 litres of water in their Australian-designed and built belly tanks.
They can operate for up to 10 hours a day and are a significant addition to the aviation fleet which comprises 37 aircraft and includes fixed wing bombers, helitaks and a national large air tanker.
As stated by Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson:
“I am thrilled to announce the names of our Black Hawk helicopters will be Yelka and Florian.
“Yelka and Florian are wonderful names – together, they acknowledge Western Australia’s indigenous heritage and honour the incredible contribution of our brave firefighters.
“Each year Western Australians follow the operations of our aerial fleet, so giving them the opportunity to name the two Black Hawk helicopters will further strengthen that connection.
“These two new Black Hawk helicopters will play a significant role in keeping the Western Australian community safe – not only for this bushfire season, but those into the future.