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August 2009

Serving the Worldwide Helicopter Industry

Franco-German Heavy Lift Offshore Hazards Giovanni de Briganti’s Paris Wrap Up

UAV REVOLUTION

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ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL MACHINES WE OFFER DOESN’T COME WITH AN ENGINE, A ROTOR OR A THROTTLE. Of course, we’re referring to the thousands of Bell specialists who make up one of the world’s best helicopter customer-support operations. They’re the ones busy getting you approved parts, expert advice 24/7, even FAA-certified training. So whether your environment is law enforcement, EMS, offshore, corporate or military, you can rely on all of us, working together to help you stay in the air longer. That’s the power of Bell customer support. Welcome to the leading edge of vertical lift.™ © 2009 Bell® Helicopter Textron Inc., all rights reserved.

1.800.FLY.BELL

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Vol. 43 | No. 8 August 2009

Personal|Corporate

Commercial

Military

Public Service

Training

24

Products

Services

Departments 10 Rotorcraft Report 16 People and Events 20 Program Insider

Australia to Upgrade Tigers

Columns 4 Editor’s Notebook 8 Meet the Contributors 46 Technology Today 47 Classified Ads Cover: Boeing’s A160T Hummingbird UAV. Boeing photo. Above: A Quantico demo to the U.S. Marine Corps of the UAV K-MAX’s cargo capability. Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin. Bottom: Modifying the existing platform of a U.S. Army CH-47F could make it a contender in the Franco-German heavy lift search.

Features

cover story

A momentous contract for these unmanned, heavy-lifters has competitors busy; the future is here. By Richard Whittle

30

■ Franco-German

48 Eurowatch 50 Advertisers’ Index 52 Law Enforcement 54 Military Spin

24 ■ UAV Revolution

Heavy Lift

30

A look at the two-nation initiative to develop this rotorcraft using an existing transport helicopter design. By Thomas Withington

34 ■ Offshore Hazards

Finding that tiny, unmarked patch on an offshore platform is hard enough; basics better be covered. By Pat Gray

40

■ Paris

Show Review

This was not your typical Paris Air Show. But it did give helicopters their chance to shine. By Giovanni de Briganti

The editors welcome new product information and other industry news. All editorial inquiries should be directed to Rotor & Wing magazine, 4 Choke Cherry Rd., 2nd Floor, Rockville, Md. 20850, USA; 1-301-354-1839; fax 1-301-762-8965. E-mail: rotorandwing@accessintel.com. Rotor & Wing (ISSN-1066-8098) is published monthly by Access Intelligence, 4 Choke Cherry Rd., 2nd Floor, Rockville, Md. 20850, USA. Periodical postage paid at Rockville, Md. and additional mailing offices. Subscriptions: Free to qualified individuals directly involved in the helicopter industry. All other subscriptions, U.S.: one year $89; two years $178. Canada: one year $99; two years $198; Foreign: one year $129; two years $258. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Rotor & Wing, P.O. Box 3089, Northbrook, Ill. 60065-3089, USA. Change of address two to eight weeks notice requested. Send both new and old address, including mailing label to Attn: Rotor & Wing magazine, Customer Services, P.O. Box 3089, Northbrook, Ill. 60065-3089, USA or call 1-847-559-7314. E-mail: RW@omeda.com. Canada Post PM40063731. Return Undeliverable Canadian Addresses to: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor, ON N9A 6J5.

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Editor’s Notebook By Ernie Stephens

Forget Work and Have Some Fun

T

his, my friends, is going to be a two-part editorial. This first part contains a recommendation directed at each and every individual who reads Rotor & Wing, from the CEOs of the industry’s leading producers, to the summer intern who found a copy of this magazine on the table in the break room. It has to do with something that happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I don’t fly as much as I used to, but I still get to pilot a helicopter a couple of times a month, if I’m lucky. It’s mostly to do aircraft evaluations for this publication. When I

question.) For a short, but glorious 30 minutes, I had a chance to do something I haven’t done in several years. I flew around with no particular place to go, no particular mission to complete, and no particular time fuel notwithstanding to finish by. And even though I didn’t really go anywhere spectacular, it didn’t matter. I got to enjoy the sights, the sounds, the feel and even the smell of flying for flying’s sake. And therein lies the point of the first part of this month’s editorial. When was the last time you set aside your professional responsibilities and

“Fun. Always try to get fun in!” — Philip Johnson, Architect do, I’m focusing on safety, of course, but I’m also paying close attention to things such as how the aircraft handles, whether or not the avionics are user-friendly, and dozens of other characteristics. A couple of weeks ago, I was getting a biennial flight review. So, instead of paying attention to those kinds of nuances, I had to be just as focused on executing the requisite maneuvers and “hitting the numbers” while being graded. (It was extra interesting, because I had not been in that particular model of aircraft in over two years.) Fortunately, I managed to prove that I was still capable of driving helicopters with some degree of proficiency and just the least little bit of flair. But before being told to return to the hangar, the flight instructor said, “We’re done. Do you want to just fly around for a while?” (He’s a smart guy, but that was sure a stupid

4

just piloted or rode in a helicopter for the pure enjoyment of it? And if you happen to work in this industry but would rather eat broken glass than actually go up in the air, when was the last time you just walked around a helicopter and admired the technological hocus-pocus that makes such an ungainly looking contraption fly? Do yourself a favor once in a while and just savor the enjoyment of being in or around helicopters. Take a ride. Soak in the view. See what your neighborhood looks like from 500 feet. If you don’t like to fly, bring a pal or child to the flight line. Surprise them with a ride, if you can. Have fun watching them discover vertical flying machines. It’ll put you back in touch with the joyful side of this industry, and remind you of how incredibly cool all of this is.

Rotor & Wing magaz ine | Au g ust 2 0 0 9

That leads me to part two of this piece. For several weeks I’ve been telling my boss that I miss flying, and how I wish I could get out this office more and visit the members of our beloved aviation community. But running a magazine takes quite a bit if time and desk work. I just don’t get very many chances. One day, he said, “Ernie, how would you like to be the editor-at-large for Aviation Today and Rotor & Wing?” Nope. I didn’t know what an “editor-atlarge” was, either. He said an editor-at-large goes to all of the aviation shows, visits businesses that serve the helicopter community and serves as the liaison between Rotor & Wing magazine, our big aviationtoday. com website and the world. How could I refuse? So, the bad news is that this will be my last issue as editor-in-chief of Rotor & Wing. The really, really good news is two-fold. First, I’ll now have more opportunities to be out among the people and machines that I’ve loved being around and writing about all these years. And second, Rotor & Wing’s new editor-in-chief will be Joy Finnegan, who was the boss at one of our sister publications. She’s been in the aviation industry for more than 30 years. She will be introducing herself to you in this spot next month. They say it’s nice when things come together just right, and this is one of those things. We get a great person at the controls running the magazine, and I get more time to see what you’re doing at your place and share the photos, videos and stories with everyone via the magazine and the website. It can’t get much better than that… unless my boss issues me a company helicopter to get around in!

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Ernie Stephens Editor-in-Chief, estephens@accessintel.com John Persinos Online Publisher/Editorial Director, jpersinos@ accessintel.com Giovanni de Briganti Paris Bureau Chief Claudio Agostini Latin America Bureau Chief Barney O’Shea Pacific Rim Correspondent Joe West United Kingdom Correspondent Contributing Writers: Charlotte Adams; Lee Benson; Ron Bower; Shannon Bower; Igor Bozinovski; Tony Capozzi; James Careless; Keith Cianfrani; Steve Colby; Frank Colucci; Pat Gray; Frank Lombardi; Douglas Nelms; Ray Prouty; Ann Roosevelt; Simon Roper; Terry Terrell; Todd Vorenkamp; Richard Whittle.

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Feedback Personal|Corporate

Commercial

Love it or Move

Concerning a recent article on your website, “High Fliers in Hamptons Irk Ground-Bound,” that states “East Hampton Airport’s complaint hotline registers about 100 calls each summer Friday and Sunday, about 95 of them complaining of helicopters,” I say, “Let them eat cake.” We should empathize with residents of the Hamptons? What we need is an “incentive program” that provides scholarships for the “old money” Hamptons residents to take helicopter lessons and then finance the purchase of their own machines. This would be a wise use of tax money. If they want to be free of helicopter noise, they should move to a neighborhood where residents cannot afford them. Howie Fuller Greenville, NH

Presidential S-92?

Sikorsky has been the leading example of [producing] Presidential helicopters. The S-92 was already in action when

Military

Public Service

Training

Products

Services

▶ R&W’s Question of the Month ? “Has the helicopter industry seen the worst of the recession?” Let us know, and look for your and others’ responses in a future issue. You’ll find contact information at the bottom of the page . they asked for bids. Except for the special interior, avionics and secret technology that will be installed, the S-92 is already proven, tested and produced. Bruce Ray Former HH-60 Instructor Pilot US Army

Another Silver State Victim

Regarding the story, “Silver State Helicopters: What Really Happened” (see R&W, March 2009), my son was one of the students affected by this fiasco. I

found your website in search of updates on what is happening with the investigation. Is there another place to be going? Though I am not a student, is there something that I can be doing to help out on this? My son, like many others, is not strong on believing that our voices will make a difference. While I am in no way involved financially on his loan, I still think what happened there is an atrocity and would like to see something done, [hopefully] justice. Name Withheld

Do you have comments on the rotorcraft industry or recent articles and viewpoints we’ve published? Send them to: Editor, Rotor & Wing, 4 Choke Cherry Road, Second Floor, Rockville, MD 20850, fax us at 301-354-1809 or email us at rotorandwing@accessintel.com. Please include a city and state or province with your name and ratings. We reserve the right to edit all submitted material.

YOU’VE BEEN FEATURED! Don’t assume they’ll read your article.

Place your press directly in the hands of those who matter most—your customers and prospects, with custom reprints from Rotor & Wing. October 2008

Serving the Worldwide Helicopter Industry

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Meet the Contributors Chris Baur is a dual-rated ATP with more than 11,000 hours, a certified aircraft dispatcher and flight instructor. He is a retired military pilot, who served in the U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Air Force (ANG) and currently is a captain at a major U.S. airline. His helicopter background includes flying the longest oceanic rescue mission in history, flown in a USAF HH-60G Pavehawk. Chris is also type rated on numerous helicopters to include BH-206, SA-365 and HU-369. He flew Part 91 and 135 commercial helicopter operations in the Northeast during the 1980s. James Careless is a long-time contributor to Rotor & Wing. He has written for other aviation magazines such as our sister publications, Aviation Maintenance and Avionics, as well as other industry publications. Giovanni de Briganti has covered the aerospace and defense industry since the beginning. Born in Italy, he lived in Texas, Virginia and South Australia before settling in Paris. He is currently editor-in-chief of www.defenseaerospace.com, a news website, having previously worked for Defense News, Armed Forces Journal and various European defense publications, including two that he founded. A self-avowed total helicopter person, he has been covering European issues for Rotor & Wing since the mid-1980s. Steve “ELROY” Colby Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force (ret) began his helicopter career 28 years ago as a USAF helicopter mechanic. He flew UH-1N, HH-1H, MH-60G, HH-60G, AH-6, MI-8, and MI-24s for the Air Force. He is dual rated fixed- and rotary-wing, a CFI and A&P. Pat GraY is our “Offshore Notebook” contributor, having flown in Gulf of Mexico helicopter operations for 20-plus years. Prior to that, he was in Vietnam in 1958 as a young paratrooper. While there, he flew with a French aero club and earned a Vietnamese pilot’s license. He returned in 1964 as an Army gunship pilot with the Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter

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Rotor & Wing magaz ine | Au g ust 2 0 0 9

Co., the first armed helicopter unit deployed in combat. He retired from the Army Reserve as a chief warrant officer 4, with more than 30 years active and reserve service. His civil helicopter experience covers crop dusting and Alaska bush, corporate, pipeline, and offshore flying. AndRew healey trained as a Royal Navy navigation officer and pilot with front-line tours flying anti-submarine Sea Kings from aircraft carrier Hermes, and Wasps off Antarctic patrol ship Endurance. Before leaving the navy with an ATPL(H), he was awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air for his part in the rescue of seamen from a burning ship in the English Channel. As a civilian, he flew Jet Rangers, A-Stars and Agusta A109s for a charter company near London. Frank Lombardi began his flying career in 1991 when he graduated with a bachelor’s of science in aerospace engineering. Frank became a police officer for a major East Coast police department in 1995, and has flown helicopters in the department’s aviation section since 2000. He is a commercial pilot with both fixed-wing and rotary-wing ratings. Frank remains active in test and evaluation, and holds a master of science degree in aviation systems-flight testing. He joins Rotor & Wing as a law enforcement columnist. RIchard Whittle writes the Program Insider stories for R&W and covers many aspects of the military. Rick is also the author of a book on the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor scheduled for publication by Simon & Schuster in April 2010. THomas Withington is a French-based freelance defence writer and analyst. He has contributed articles to a range of defence publications and mainstream media across Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia. He has performed major consultancy projects for a range of blue chip private sector and public sector clients. He is a research associate at the Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College, London; an associate member of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS); and a Member of the RAeS Air Power Group.

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cost-effective performance

The Honeywell LTS101 retrofit program is now certified in Brazil for the Esquilo helicopter. In partnership with Soloy Aviation Solutions, Inc., the LTS100-600-3A and LTS101-700D-2 are now available for retrofit into Esquilo helicopters. With increased high-hot margins, the 3A and D-2 engine retrofits reduce operating costs, maintenance requirements, and fuel consumption. Together with Honeywell’s global network of repair centers, the 3A and D-2 engines provide powerful operational solutions.

For enhanced efficiency, reduced cost and world-class support services, look to Honeywell and Soloy to keep you mission ready.

For more information, visit www.honeywell.com/helicopters For LTS101engine retrofit information, call Doug Kult at 1-602-231-1238 Š 2009 Honeywell International Inc. All rights reserved.


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Cougar Accident Raises Questions Over “30 Minute Rule” failure, the pilots were making a controlled descent to land in the water after the loss of MGB oil pressure, and were at about 500 feet above sea level. Three seconds afterward, the pilot cut off the engines to attempt an engines-off landing. “It’s showing us that there was control remaining and the guys were doing their best to get the helicopter down on the surface,” said Mike Cunningham, TSB investigator-in-charge. The main rotor was working throughout The S-92 wreckage shortly after being recovered from the descent. Fellow investigathe ocean off Newfoundland. The flight data recorder was found to be inoperative. tor Allan Chaulk explained to Rotor & Wing that following the gearbox oil loss, heat was transferred to the tail rotor takeoff pinion gear. “The gear rotates at six to seven times the speed of other gears in the assembly, and it wasn’t able to sustain that without lubrication.” “It’s at the top of the gearbox and the first thing to fail,” he continued. Photos on the TSB website (http://tsb.gc.ca) show the teeth of the pinion gear completely stripped. The interval between the loss of transmission oil and contact with the surface was “approximately 10 minutes.” The investigation determined the helicopter struck the water at a “moderate” speed. The pilot may have also flared before meeting the surface. Despite this, the helicopter hit the water with a significant impact—reportedly 20G—nose upward and banked slightly to the right.

Cougar Helicopters Flight 491 lost tail rotor drive about a minute before it crashed into the ocean off Newfoundland on March 12, killing 17 of the 18 people on board. The aircraft’s flight data recorder had stopped working but investigators were able to piece together information from the health and usage monitoring system (HUMS) and flight control computer. Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) says that, at the time of

Transportation Safety Board of Canada

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All flotation devices failed as the helicopter hit the three-meter seas. “The damage done ... during the impact was so significant that ... it might be unreasonable to expect that this (flotation) system could have even operated,” said Cunningham. “And would it have made any difference? If it did, is pretty hard to say.” “One of the bags was ripped right out of its housing,” he continued. This failure is still under investigation. Under Part 29 certification rules for rotorcraft, failures that result in the loss of lubrication to the drive train must allow for 30 minutes of flight time after the crew is presented with the cockpit warning. However, a clause notes that, if a failure mode is determined to be “extremely remote,” the  30 minute rule no longer applies. In an accident update communiqué, the TSB stated: “the investigation has revealed that, even though the Sikorsky  S-92A MGB was certificated to meet requirements of (FAR  29), there is a perception in some areas of the aviation community that the MGB can be run in a dry state—that is, without lubricating oil—for 30 minutes. FAR 29 does not require run-dry operation of a gearbox to meet the 30-minute ‘continued safe operation.’ “Based on the applicable guidance material at the time of certification, the lubrication failure modes of interest were limited to the failure of external lines, fittings, valves, and coolers. This practice was consistent with industry experience, which had found that loss of lubrication tended to be associated with external devices. Therefore, the possibility of a

www . r o t o r a n d w i n g . c o m


Rotorcraft   Report

Examination of the wreckage of the S-92A by the Canadian Transportation Safety Board showed two of three mounting studs that attach the oil filter assembly to the main gearbox had failed.

failure at the oil filter was considered to be extremely remote.” During its examination of the helicopter wreckage in March, the board discovered two of the three mounting studs that attach the oil filter assembly to the main gearbox had failed. An FAA directive then ordered the titanium mounting studs be replaced with steel studs. That directive grounded the 91-strong f leet of Sikorsky S -92As, including Cougar Helicopters aircraft, until the studs were replaced. This process is now complete. The TSB says a metallurgical examination of the titanium mounting studs revealed fatigue cracking and thread damage. The board is still trying to determine the origin of the fatigue cracks.

www . r o t o ra n d w i n g . c o m

Transportation Safety Board of Canada

Sikorsky was made aware of the potential problem last August, when an S-92A was forced to make an emergency landing in Australia after losing MGB oil pressure. The company issued an Alert Service Bulletin in January, asking that operators replace the studs within a year, or by 1,250 flight hours. The families of 15 passengers who died in the crash and the one survivor, Robert Decker, are suing Sikorsky, its maintenance subsidiary Keystone Helicopters and the parent company, United Technologies Corporation. Decker (27) managed to escape through a window to be rescued by the crew of another Cougar helicopter. On reaching hospital in St. John’s, Newfoundland, he was put on life support and a

ventilator: however, he is now said to be recovering at home. Cougar resc ue te chnic i ans Ian Wheeler and Stephen LeMessurier were later commended for their actions during the rescue mission. Wheeler is credited with reaching and sending Decker up to the rescue helicopter while waiting in the ocean. LeMessurier was recognized for his efforts to save one of the other people aboard the helicopter, though she did not survive. At press time Sikorsky commented, “our prayers continue to go out to the families of all those lost in this accident. It is our policy to not comment on pending litigation except to state that we will appropriately defend against these claims.” —By Andrew Healey

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Rotorcraft   Report

■ Commercial

Bell 429 Gets Certified It’s official—the Bell 429 light twin helicopter has received certification from Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA). With the FAA having also granted its certification, the floodgates are open and Bell is scheduled to begin delivering 429s to its North American clients. According to the Fort Worth, Texas-based company, more than Photo courtesy of Bell Helicopter 300 letters of intent to purchase Bell Helicopter’s 429 has achieved Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCAA) and FAA certification. 429s have been received to date. The Bell 429 has room for up ”This is an outstanding helicopter and one that is really resonatto eight people and is equipped with a full glass cockpit. Capable of a maximum cruise speed of 142 knots and a maximum range ing with our customers,” says Dick Millman, president and CEO of of 350 nm, the 429 can carry up to 2,700 lbs. It is powered by Bell. “I am extremely proud of the Bell team for the work they have two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207D1 engines. Safety fea- done to create the 429.” The Bell 429 is aimed at the corporate, EMS, law enforcement tures include a composite hub and rotor system, FADEC and an Integrated Instrument Display System (IIDS) to reduce in-flight and utility markets. Time will tell if it can unseat Eurocopter’s popular EC-135, which currently dominates the EMS market. demands on pilot attention.

■ Commercial

Sikorsky’s X2 Technology Demonstrator Achieves Milestone Stratford, Conn.-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation’s X2 Technology demonstrator has completed two test flights that included full engagement of the unique propeller for the first time. In one hour of testing conducted in two flights, the aircraft flew at speeds reaching 52 knots in one test and 42 knots with the

propeller providing forward thrust in the second flight. The X2 Technology demonstrator is designed to reach speeds of 250 knots, twice as fast as an average helicopter travels today. The demonstrator has accumulated more than three hours of successful flight time at Sikorsky’s facility in Horseheads, N.Y. The aircraft

Photo courtesy of Sikorsky

Sikorsky’s X2 demonstrator during a test flight around Horseheads, N.Y.

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will relocate to the company’s Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., before the end of July for continued test flights leading up to the 250-knot speed record. The X2 Technology demonstrator combines an integrated suite of technologies intended to advance the stateof-the-art, counter-rotating coaxial rotor helicopter. It is designed to demonstrate a helicopter can cruise comfortably at 250 knots, while retaining such helicopter attributes as good low speed handling, efficient hovering and autorotation safety, and a seamless transition to high speeds. Sikorsky is maturing this technology in preparation

for emerging missions, including rapid air medical response for the civil market and reconnaissance, attack, and special operations missions for the military market. “The program is progressing extremely well both technologically and from a future applicability standpoint,” says Mark Miller, vice president of research and engineering. “Certainly we’ve got much more to do, but interest continues to grow among both the military and commercial sectors in how this technology might improve current operations and enable new missions that today are simply not possible with the current helicopter flight limitations.”

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Rotorcraft   Report

■ Public Service

■ Commercial | observation

New MD500E for Hawaii County

The Last “New” B0105

Photo courtesy of MD Helicopters

Hawaii County is getting a new MD500E to replace its aging Chopper One. The new helicopter, which the Hawaii County Fire Department will operate, will handle rescue services and be based at Waiakea Fire Station. HCFD Chief Darryl J. Oliveira says that buying the new MD500E makes more economic sense in the long run, given that the 27-year-old Chopper One would require $800,000 to refurbish. “The older an aircraft gets, the more expensive it gets to maintain it,” Oliveira told West Hawaii Today. Instead, MD Helicopters is giving Hawaii County $238,000 trade-in credit on the old Chopper One.

Hawaii County’s Fire Department will use this MD500E as a replacement for Chopper One.

Photo courtesy of Eurocopter

After sitting in the Eurocopter Canada plant for the past four years, the twinengine predecessor to the EC135 has a new owner—Dam Helicopters of British Columbia, which purchased the helicopter for about $2.23 million. Dam Helicopters’ BO105 LS will be inspecting power lines, surveying for natural resources, conducting EMS missions and flying sightseeing tours. Duncan Wassick, owner of Dam Helicopters, snapped up the aircraft, noting that the price helped with the decision. “The BO105 has the same maximum payload of 2,500 pounds, but only costs half as much,” he says. “It is true Dam Helicopters of British Columbia will use its that the BO105 has an analog cockpit, as BO105 for various missions, including power opposed to the EC135’s computers, FADEC line inspection and resource surveying. and glass cockpit. But my customers don’t care about that. They just want a twin-engine helicopter. Besides, I like to work with technology that has stood the test of time, as the BO105 has.” German firm Bölkow Engineering designed the BO105 in the 1960s. When the BO105 started test flights in 1967, Bölkow had become part of Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm. It subsequently became part of Eurocopter in 1991. There were 1,407 BO105s built, finding work in police, EMS and military applications. Dam Helicopters’ BO105 LS will be flying a variety of missions. Eurocopter says that 1,008 BO105s are still in service. As a group, this aircraft has logged more than seven million flying hours.

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Rotorcraft   Report

■ Public service

NASA Rotary Research Not Confirmed

■ Training

Seven Win Bristow Apprenticeships Seven well-qualified students have won apprenticeship positions with Bristow Helicopters, from a field of nearly 120 competitors. Varying in age between 17 and 21, the seven young men are currently studying at Air Service Training, Perth. They are all beginning the second stage of their apprenticeship programs, and are working toward their Category A3 Licenses. If they succeed, all seven will gain full aircraft maintenance engineer qualifications. “We at Bristow are very mindful that we can harness talent at a very young age through the apprenticeship program. We recognize that apprentices can make your organization more effective, productive and competitive by addressing your skills gaps directly,” says Phil Mitchell, director centralized operations, Bristow, Eastern Hemisphere. “I had heard about Bristow and knew they were one of the largest helicopter companies in the area, so I knew this was a great opportunity,” says 21-year-old apprentice Ross Bisset, whose older brother is already working in the helicopter industry. “I found out that, unlike many companies, you don’t need an engineering degree to get into Bristow,” adds apprentice Andy Patterson, 17. All of the apprentices will be posted to Bristow Helicopter’s base in Aberdeen, Scotland. With its ties to the North Sea oil industry, the Aberdeen heliport is the busiest in Europe, with 40,000 flights annually. ■ Public service | training

Test Pilot Becomes Astronaut The European Space Agency has selected AgustaWestland Senior Test Pilot Tim Peake to be an astronaut. Peake will be the first-ever British astronaut to join the European Astronaut Corps (EAC). He is one of Tim Peake four successful candidates chosen for the EAC, which currently has eight astronauts. In his new position, Peake will be trained to fly to the International Space Station. He and his three EAC teammates were chosen from 8,413 applications. In an official ESA release, Peake said he is “delighted” to be selected for the European Astronaut Corps. “I think that the space industry is going to play an increasingly important role in overcoming many of the challenges that humankind faces, and to be a part of ESA’s team working towards that goal is a great privilege,” he added. Peake joined the U.K. Army Air Corps in August 1992. After gaining his wings in June 1994, Peake was posted to Germany as a Gazelle pilot. Subsequently, he became a qualified helicopter instructor and was “exchange posted” to the U.S. Army, where he flew Apache helicopters. He used that skill on returning home to train British Army Apache AH Mk.1 pilots. After training as a rotary-wing test pilot, Peake retired from the U.K. military following 17 years of service. He then joined AgustaWestland, test flying Apache and Lynx helicopters.

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Hold your horses—NASA does not have approval to spend $26.1 million on rotary wing research—at least not yet. Recent media reports quoted NASA aerospace engineer Odilyn Maria as saying the agency would spend this money on subsonic rotary wing projects in FY2010. These projects were supposed to develop and demonstrate an active rotor system that could change rotor speed in flight, according to industry reports. However, according to NASA spokesperson Beth Dickey, “the president’s budget request for NASA in fiscal year 2010 is still under consideration by Congress.” Translation: The money isn’t in the bank yet. A check within the budget request, available online at www.nasa.gov/news/ budget, confirms a $26.1 million request for subsonic rotary request. But, unless Congress okays the funding, it is a nonstarter. ■ Military

Lockheed Delivers 200th Common Cockpit Lockheed Martin has provided the U.S. Navy with its 200th Common Cockpit avionics suite. The equipment is designed to be used in the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R and MH-60S multi-mission helicopters. Built using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, the Common Cockpit standardizes flight operations on both Navy helicopter models. Each uses four 8 x 10-inch color displays that are compatible with night vision devices. To date, 47 Common Cockpits have been made for the MH-60R, the Navy’s newest antisubmarine/anti-surface warfare helicopter. The 153 Common Cockpits that have been produced for the MH-60S perform shipto-ship vertical resupply. According to Lockheed Martin, the cockpit has logged more than 250,000 flight hours since deliveries began in January 2000.

www . r o t o r a n d w i n g . c o m


AND THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING. At Bell Helicopter, we have a long history of hit products. And our customer support has been a hit for 15 consecutive years. We wouldn’t put our name on just anything. So it’s no surprise that Bell has certified over 130 Customer Service Facilities in 32 countries around the world. While they all meet our premier standards, 26 have gone gold, 48 have gone silver and six of them have just gone platinum, receiving our highest certification in customer service and support for three consecutive years. Making our Customer Support Facilities yet another hit with our customers.

866.562.4791 csfsupport@bellhelicopter.textron.com © 2009 Bell® Helicopter Textron Inc., all rights reserved


Rotorcraft   Report

PEOPLE

coming events

PAS Technologies has promoted Donald Spriggs to serve as the company’s chief te chnolo g y of f icer. Spriggs will oversee long-term technology initiatives for PAS. Spriggs, who joined Kansas City, Mo.based PAS Technologies in 2006, most recently served as vice president of product development. Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewic, Wash. has been appointed to the Joint Committee on Veterans’ and Military Affairs. Klippert, a Benton County sheriff ’s deputy serving his first term representing the 8th legislative district, is a helicopter pilot who recently was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He has

served more than 21 years in the U.S. Army National Guard and Reserve. R Srinivasan has been appointed as Managing Director, Helicopter Complex, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). He will head the Helicopter Composite Manufacturing and Barrackpore divisions, and Helicopter MRO, Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre. Ste ve Ols on ha s joined XRI Testing as business unit manager for its facility in Cleveland, Ohio. Prior to XRI, Olson was the owner of Olympia Foundry and Fabrication, a casting facility in Monett, Mo. He replaces Bob Henchar, who has joined the XRI Technical Consulting Group.

August 13-15—LABACE 2009, Sao Paolo, Brazil. Contact ABAG, phone +55 115-032-2727 (International) or 1-202-783-9000 (NBAA) in the U.S. Web: www.abag.org.br/labace2009/site_labace.Labace1.htm

October 5-7—Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. Visit www.ausa.org/news/ meetings/annualmeeting2009/Pages/default.aspx

August 17-21—42nd Annual Comprehensive Short Course in Rotary Wing Technology, State College, Penn. Contact: Phone: 1-814863-0602; Web: www.outreach.psu.edu/programs/rotary-wing

October 19-20—2nd International Forum on Rotorcraft Multidisciplinary Technology, Seoul Korea. Contact AHS International, phone 1-703-684-6877 or visit www.vtol.org

August 27-30—2009 Open German Helicopter Championship, Mengen-Hohentengen, Germany. Contact FAI, +4121-345-1070 or visit www.fai.org/fai_news_03_07

October 20-22—National Business Aviation Association 62nd Annual Meeting & Convention, Orlando, Fla. Contact NBAA, phone 1-202-783-9000 or visit www.nbaa.org

Sept. 2-3—R&W’s Search & Rescue Summit and Helicopter Heroism Awards, Hyatt Regency, Reston, Va. Visit: www.SearchandRescueSummit.com September 11-13—131st National Guard Association of the U.S. General Conference & Exhibition, Nashville, Tenn. Contact: NGAUS, 1-202-789-0031 or visit www.ngaus.org September 22-24—Helitech 2009, Cambridge, U.K. Contact: Phone: +44 (0) 208-271-2155 ; Web: www.helitech.co.uk September 22-24—Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) & Standardization Conference, Orlando, Fla. Contact DMSMS, phone 1-937-426-2808 or visit www. dmsms.org September 22-25—35th European Rotorcraft Forum, Hamburg, Germany. Contact: +44-220-395-8692 or visit www.erf2009.org September 29-October 1—International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST)’s Third International Helicopter Safety Symposium, Montréal, Québec, Canada. Contact IHST, phone 1-703-684-6777 or visit www.ihst.org

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Waco, Texas-based Blackhawk Modifications has appointed Bobby Patton as distributor program manager. He was formerly director of sales for Raisbeck Engineering, where his duties included its OEM contract with Hawker Beechcraft. Jimmy Ravenne is the new general manager of Chromalloy’s turbine engine repair and maintenance facility near Paris, France. He comes from Honeywell aftermarket organization Secan, where he served as integrated supply chain and site leader. Ravenne’s other experience includes vice president of engineering and maintenance for Brit Air/Groupe Air France and with SR Technics in Zurich.

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October 25—Wings, Wheels & Rotors Expo, Los Alamitos, Calif. Contact: 1-562-598-6659 or visit www.wwrexpo.net October 26-28—Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) Air Medical Transport Conference (AMTC 2009), San Jose, Calif. Contact AAMS, 1-703-836-8732 or visit www.aams.org October 26-29—DoD Maintenance Symposium & Exhibition, Phoenix, Ariz. Phone 1-877-606-7323 or visit www.sae.org/dod November 2-5—Intl Air Safety Seminar, Beijing, China. Contact FSF, 1-703-739-6700 or visit www.flightsafety.org November 4-5—Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance, Phase 1, Las Vegas, Nev. Contact Grey Owl Consultants, 1-204-848-7353 or visit www.greyowl.com November 15-19—Dubai Airshow, Dubai, UAE. Contact Fairs & Exhibitions, +9714-286-7755 or visit www.dubaiairshow.aero November 30-December 1—Human Factors in Aviation Safety, Los Angeles, Calif. Contact USC Viterbi School of Engineering, 1-310-342-1345 or visit www.viterbi.usc.edu November 30-December 3—The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference, Orlando, Fla. Contact: 1-703-247-2569 or visit www.iitsec.org

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Rotorcraft   Report

■ Products

Sikorsky to Build S-92 Cabins in India

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■ Products

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Sikorsky Aircraft has announced plans to make S-92 cabins in India. In June, Sikorksy made public an agreement with India’s Tata Group. Under the arrangement, Tata Advanced Systems will manufacture S-92 cabins at a new facility to be built in Hyderabad. The first S-92 cabin delivery is due in 2010. Sikorsky President Jeffrey Pino notes that “India’s aerospace market is poised for signif© 2009 Cobham Avionics. All rights reserved. icant growth, and we are thrilled to have the opportunities to support that growth and to tap into the capabilities of India’s highly skilled aerospace workforce.” Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Sons, says he believes “that the manufacture of the S-92 cabin in India is a significant first step in the growth of India as a global hub for aerospace manufacturing.” Michel Merluzeau, principal of G2 Solutions, notes that this is an interesting move. “There is a definite trend with several Asian clusters becoming points of manufacturing. However, in most of these commercial clusters, you have almost no integration of complex subsystems or finishing work,” says Merluzeau. He predicted that all of that work will stay in North America and Europe for a while. “I would hope that we learn the lessons from this depression and ensure that we retain/ rebuild our manufacturing base in this country,” Merluzeau adds. The Tata family of companies includes Tata Steel, Tata Motors and Tata Communications.

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The recession hasn’t hurt Aeronautical Systems Inc. In fact, the Sterling, Va.based supplier of military replacement parts and turnkey repairs has increased its market share in recent months. “Our agile and responsive approach has been rewarded by increased orders for ASI-supplied parts and componentlevel repair and overhaul,” says ASI CEO Felipe Rodriguez. ASI supports fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, including the F15, F18, F4, AV8 and P3 aircraft and H3, H60 and H53 helicopters. C CMY

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Rotorcraft   Report

■ Commercial

Bell Goes After Eurocopter Bell Helicopter has filed its own lawsuit against Eurocopter. The suit comes after a June 16 incident at this year’s Paris Air Show. According to Reuters, a French bailiff turned up at Bell’s booth armed with legal documents, forcing the company to remove panels from its 429 to allow inspection. Eurocopter previously filed a lawsuit against Bell for patent infringement, based on the accusation that Bell illegally copied patented Eurocopter landing gear technology and used it in developing the 429. The Paris incident interfered with Bell’s 429 flight schedule, and was somewhat embarrassing for the U.S. company. Bell is asking the U.S. District Court for damages to cover one-quarter of the cost of running its Paris Air Show booth, including expenses related to sending company personnel to the show and the shipment of the 429. Eurocopter is not commenting on the lawsuit.

■ Public service

EMS Helicopter Cuts Lines An EMS helicopter operated by Air Evac EMS unintentionally shut down traffic on Route 50 in Greenwood, W.V. on June 17, 2009, after clipping some power lines. The Bell 206B helicopter, transporting a six year-old seizure victim, hit the lines after taking off in dusk conditions from Route 50. The helicopter landed safely, but the strike caused a fire. It was quickly extinguished by local firefighters. While a ground ambulance took the patient to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, the Bell 206B was pushed off the road and the downed power lines were repaired. “Due to the setting sun in the West, neither the pilot nor the crew were able to visualize the wires,” according to Air Evac President & CEO Seth Myers, as reported by the CONCERN Network (which tracks such incidents). No one was injured.

■ Products

Simplex acquires Helipod International

Simplex Manufacturing, which makes aerial applications systems for helicopters, has acquired Helipod International. The purchase gives Simplex access to Helipod’s certified accessory products for Robinson helicopters, including cargo pods, spray systems and other specialty items. “Helipod represents an important milestone in our overall strategy of acquiring value added product lines and businesses that are focused on the aviation industry,” says Simplex COO Mark Zimmerman. “We are very excited to be partnering with Peter [Maloney, founder/CEO of Helipod] and look forward to his assistance in developing new technologies and expanding our line of FAA-certified products.” Under the deal, the two companies will merge their distribution networks. However, Simplex will continue to manufacture products in the U.S., while Helipod will maintain is plant in New Zealand. “We were impressed with their large distribution network and their extensive product line,” says Maloney.

■ Military

U. S. Gives Pakistan Russian Choppers When Pakistan’s government asked for helicopters, the U.S. came through by providing four Russian-built MI-17 cargo helicopters to the Pakistani Army. “The additional helicopters are meant to enhance Pakistan’s capabilities in current operations against militant

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extremists, and its efforts to care for hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis who have been displaced from their homes by the fighting,” a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan said. “The U.S. is in the process of identifying additional MI17s that may be made available to Pakistan in the future.”

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Why would the U.S. government provide an ally with Russian-built helicopters, rather than rotorcraft made at home? “The reasoning was that the U.S. had them on hand, and Pakistan already operates this model and so would have no difficulty absorbing them on short notice,” explained John

Pike, director of the intelligence site GlobalSecurity.org.

www . r o t o r a n d w i n g . c o m


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PROGRAM INSIDER Australia to Upgrade Tigers Australia’s latest defence capability plan (DCP), released July 1, reveals plans to upgrade or replace three types of helicopters in service with the country’s Defence Force (ADF). In particular, it looks at modernizing the mission equipment to its Eurocopter Tiger fleet, “to ensure the Australian Tigers retain currency with operational requirements.” The new DCP predicts a “new phase—or phases—to maintain the effectiveness of the capability. This project is expected to provide system upgrades to the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH), consistent with the parent Franco-German Tiger program. “The upgrades may include weapons, engines, software, aircraft mission management system and ground support system upgrades.” The package is expected to cost between A$100 million and A$500 million ($80m to $400m). The DCP says that “Defense will commence work on developing this phase for government consideration after 2016.” Last month the Australian DoD flagged more specific modifications to the Tigers, to improve their interoperability with the army’s battlefield command-andcontrol system. DoD officials told Australian Senate defense budget hearings that the modifications include improved data-

linking, to support transfer of targeting and situational awareness. Australia remains in the delivery phase for its Tiger fleet. Twelve ARHs are currently in service with six more under assembly, at Australian Aerospace at Brisbane, and four more to come. Two squadrons, the 161st and 162nd, have been formed at Darwin as part of the Army’s new ARH regiment. If, as widely predicted, France sends some of its own Hélicoptère d’Appui Protection (HAP)-variant Tigers to Afghanistan, Australia is expected to send at least one observer to join them. If the political decision is taken, an initial three aircraft from the ALAT (Aviation Légère de l’Armée de Terre) 4th Airmobile Brigade will be dispatched. The HAP combat support Tiger is said to be “technically and operationally” ready for deployment, with two years of operational training with the elite 4th Brigade under its belt. The DCP also sets Initial Operational Capability (IOC) dates for new Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Seahawks and F-model Chinooks for the Army. Australia wants to achieve IOC with its replacement Seahawks for both the cancelled Kaman SH-2G (A) Seasprite and existing S-70B-2 fleets between 2014

and 2016. First pass approval (initial agreement) to procure 24 Sikorsky MH60Rs is scheduled for between now and mid-2011. Second pass—formal acquisition approvals—should happen between mid-2010 and mid-2012. The new aircraft will replace RAN’s 16 existing Seahawks, which are scheduled to be withdrawn from service by 2019. The acquisition is forecast to cost between A$500 million and A$1.5 billion ($400m to $1.2bn). The Army will not achieve IOC with its seven new Boeing CH-47F Chinooks before 2016. In the meantime, it plans to issue tenders later this year for a deeper maintenance support capability for its six existing CH-47D aircraft. The DCP says that government approvals to proceed with the CH-47F acquisition may not occur until mid-2012. This is despite Australia lodging a $560-million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) acquisition application for the aircraft with the U.S. DoD in April. While FMS remains the planned purchase mechanism, the DCP says that the Australian industry is expected to realize work opportunities on the new aircraft through “design and fitment of additional mission equipment to the CH-47F, once they are delivered to Australia.”

the purchase of five 412EP aircraft along with logistical support, spare parts package, special tools, and training. Work is to be performed in Quebec, Canada (88 percent), Piney Flats, Tenn., (8 percent) and Fort Worth, Texas (4 percent), with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., was awarded a $60.4-million contract for the procurement of four UH-60L aircraft uniquely configured of the Brazilian Air Force. Work is to be performed in Stratford with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2012.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Owego, N.Y., was awarded a $13.9-million contract for the procurement of specialized test equipment used to perform depot-level repairs to the common cockpit avionics suite components for the MH-60. The equipment consist of one audio management computer, one relay assembly, one flight management computer, one mission computer, and the communication systems controller testers. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif. (50 percent), Owego (25 percent) and Farmingdale, N.Y. (25 percent), and is expected to be completed in October 2010.

CONTRACTS Tyonek Fabrication Corp., Madison, Ala., was awarded a $5.7-million contract for the OH-58 Kiowa airframe for 340 each, control box, part number 635107M100. Work is to be performed in Madison, with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2012. Tyonek was also awarded a $6.9-million contract for 344 each, de-ice control and indicator unit for the UH-60 A/L Blackhawk. Work will also be performed in Madison, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2011. Bell Helicopter Textron, Hurst, Texas, was awarded a $51.5-million contract for

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Rotorcraft   Report

■ Military

VH-71 Job Losses Unaffected by Congress Attempts to revive the VH-71 by Congress will not change how many j obs are b ei ng lost at L o ck he e d Martin. “A week after the program was terminated, we announced that we would end up laying off up to 750 people,” said Troy Scully, a Lockheed Martin spokesperson. Congressional efforts to bring back the program won’t change this fact: “Unless Congress passes a bill and the President signs it, we have to continue to follow the direction of our client and terminate the program,” he told Rotor and Wing. While efforts to revive the VH-71 program in some shape or form continue, Lockheed Martin has been trying to find

www . r o t o ra n d w i n g . c o m

Lockheed Martin’s VH-71

Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin

new positions for those displaced by the cancellation. Final information as to

actual job losses, and who will be affected by them, is expected soon.

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MTrax Maintenance Tracking Version 2.0 Keeping close tabs on your aircraft’s maintenance is a top priority. Tdata computerized the solution to this problem by developing MTrax, a maintenance tracking program. Now the company has released version 2.0 of MTrax. With just one license, owners and operators can track an unlimited number of aircraft. Functionally, MTrax keeps an eye on ADs, service information, life-limited components, inspections, overhauls, and even publications. It can meter its tracking on hours, cycles, RIN and/or date. The program’s structure meets FAA record-keeping requirements, and MTrax can produce reports based on due lists, summary lists, maintenance status, and full detail reports. For security’s sake, MTrax Autobackup function creates a complete, verified time-stamped backup of files every time they are accessed. When autobackup files are opened, the work can be seen at different points in the past, before changes were made. Details about MTrax 2.0 can be found at www.Tdata.com.

AMETEK Fuel Gauging System Accurate fuel gauging is an absolute must in aircraft. Unlike a car, you just can’t pull a helicopter “off to the side of the sky” when the fuel runs out. This is why Carson Helicopters’ Sikorsky S-61 cockpit/avionics upgrade, which was just approved by the FAA and Transport Canada via a supplemental type certificate (STC), includes an AMETEK fuel gauging system. Unlike older passive probe systems, AMETEK’s uses active capacitance probes, fuel quantity signal conditioners, low-level sensors, highlevel sensors and pressure transducers to provide accurate fuel measurement. The AMETEK fuel quantity signal conditioner processes signals from active fuel probes located in the tanks. It calculates fuel contents, and produces 0–5 VDC outputs for the cockpit display system. For accuracy, each tank has an independent signal conditioner. The forward and aft tank systems include an independent low-fuel level warning function. The AMETEK system is made by AMETEK Aerospace & Defense. For further information: www.ametekaerodefense.com.

Merlin S333 AATD Simulator Merlin Simulation has just delivered its first Sikorsky S333 Pro Series AATD flight simulator to Rotors of the Rockies—a flight school based at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield, Colo. The new S333 simulator offers “new generation’” features such as advanced technology, superior visual imagery, and true flight modeling that was previously only available in high-end flight training devices. According to Merlin, the S333 simulator offers a nearly 180-degree field of view using high resolution graphics; high fidelity cockpit and systems replication, including engine start up and shut down with all of the associated malfunctions; and an easy-to-use instructor station with record/playback functions. The S333 also has a Garmin 530 GPS/Nav/ Comm moving map display. All told, this AATD provides students with a realistic and complex flight environment, with lots of room for things to ‘go wrong’. Find out more at www.MerlinSimulation.Com.

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www . r o t o r a n d w i n g . c o m


AviIT eManWeb eManWeb is a web-based solution to carrying and constantly updating aviation technical manuals. Made by AviIT, eManWeb is a server-based product that allows companies to save, edit and store technical documents formatted in PDF, SGML and XML. These documents can then be accessed by pilots and maintenance personnel via ethernet or wifi connections on desktop/laptop computers, PDAs, and tablet PCs. The EManWeb solution has recently been adopted to store and distribute all Metro Aviation technical publications, OEM applications, ERP programs, electronic files, and other company maintenance documentation to all authorized users via the eManWeb portal. “Very seldom does a product come along that has the potential to truly and substantially reduce work load, increase productivity and assure compliance with the Federal Aviation Regulations like eManWeb,” said Milton K. Geltz, Metro Aviation’s managing director. A demo version of eManWeb can be obtained at www.aviit.com/Default.aspx?tabid=87.

REBTECH’s Night Vision Cockpits REB Technologies’ night vision systems are catching on with EMS providers. In fact, Air Evac Lifeteam EMS recently contracted this Bedford, Texas supplier of NVG equipment to modify 32 more of its EMS helicopters, following REBTECH’s successful modification of 17 aircraft. Through its REBTECH division, the company provides a total NVG package to include NVG modification kits, NVG goggles and flight training. The NVG kits include modifications to the existing cockpit lighting and cabin lighting as well as external lighting such as the beacon and positional navigation lights. Meanwhile, Aero Instruments, another division of REB Technologies, handles the installation and servicing of NVG equipment within the aircraft. This includes internal modifications to instruments, avionics as well as external modifications to displays. The end product represents the most advanced and convenient NVG system available today in the civil market. REBTECH is a distributor of NIVISYS NVAG-6 night vision goggles, the only TSO’ed NVG on the market, REBTECH currently holds 18 rotorcraft STC’s with several more in progress. Want to know more? Check out www.rebtechnologies.net.

Frasca EC-135 Flight Training Device Frasca’s EC-135 flight training device (FTD) is a dual certified (JAA FTD 3 and JAA FNPT 3 MCC) trainer for the Eurocopter EC-135 helicopter. Frasca’s EC-135 FTD features a TruVision visual system with 200-degree horizontal x 60-degree vertical field of view for the “pilots.” The system uses high-resolution projectors to create realistic imagery drawn from Frasca’s highly detailed database. The EC-135 FTD also includes simulated EFIS and VEMD displays, flight test validation data, electric control loading, multi-channel sound simulation and NVG compatibility. Meanwhile, Frasca’s Autotest utility uses a series of sensors and software to automatically fly the FTD though the required JAA maneuvers, record its performance and allow the FTD’s performance to be compared to flight test data from an actual EC-135. The German Bundespolizei has received dual certification for their Frasca-built EC-135 FTD. Learn more about this simulator at www.frasca.com. www . r o t o ra n d w i n g . c o m

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MILITARY | UAV

ROTORCRAFT

UAVS The UAV revolution is gaining steam and vertical lift. Unmanned helicopters may soon be resupplying troops in Afghanistan.

U

nmanned aerial vehicles of the fixed-wing variety have proven their worth to the military beyond doubt during the past 15 years or so, especially since U.S. troops went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, with a lag time less dramatic but still reminiscent of the four-decade gap between the dawn of powered flight and the debut of the first useful helicopters, interest in rotorcraft UAVs is clearly taking off. “In a perfect world, I would have the capability of a Reaper or a Predator but not be tied to a runway,” said Maj. Thomas Heffern, whose job at the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Development Center is to study how the Corps can best exploit the explosion in UAV technology. Being “runway independent,” Heffern noted, means “vertical lift.” The U.S. Air Force’s fixed-wing MQ-1 Predator and newer MQ-9 Reaper, perhaps the most famous UAVs in the U.S. military inventory, have become technological stars in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Defense Department, especially under Secretary Robert Gates, can’t seem to get enough of them. Equipped with

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reconnaissance gear and weapons, Predator and Reaper provide military commanders — and the CIA, reportedly — the ability to search out and track insurgents and terrorists around the clock and attack them with missiles and bombs before they know what’s about to hit them. A UAV that could do all that but take off and land anywhere, rather than relying on runways, would be a hot item, Heffern ventured. “Whoever can crack the code on that, that’s going to be interesting to an expeditionary, amphibious organization” like the Marine Corps.

A Brief Background

Small observation helicopter UAVs, such as Japanese firm Yamaha Motor Co.’s RMAX, have been flying industrial missions for years, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been working just as long on advanced UAV rotorcraft concepts for the U.S. military. DARPA has studied concepts as futuristic as an unmanned rotorcraft gunship that could fly as a “wingman” for manned U.S. Army helicopters, whose pilots would control the UAV by voice command.

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By Richard Whittle Rotorcraft UAVs aren’t quite there yet, and may not be for a while, but defense contractors are increasingly busy working on medium-sized helicopter UAVs that can conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), carry air-to-ground weapons, and perform a range of other missions, from serving as communications nodes to carrying cargo. In the not-sodistant future, vertical lift UAVs may even perform combat search and rescue operations, some experts predict. Vertical lift UAVs and concepts for them come in all sizes, and the military is seriously interested. The U.S. Navy, as the service that leads Defense Department Joint Explosive Ordinance Disposal programs, gave Honeywell a contract in 2008 for the company’s Tarantula Hawk, a video camera-equipped micro UAV that can fit into a backpack. The T-Hawk, which looks more like an appliance than an aircraft, will be used by bomb disposal teams to hover over and examine suspected bombs before the teams set about defusing them. Under the $65-million contract, Honeywell will provide 180 T-Hawks, 90 ground control units, training, spare parts and other support.

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The UAV Revolution

The Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Navy Fire Scout.

Northrop Grumman Photo

The military is eager to start using larger vertical lift UAVs, too. The Navy earlier this year conducted sea trials with Northrop Grumman Corp.’s MQ-8B Fire Scout, a 30-foot-long unmanned helicopter, and plans to deploy Fire Scout aboard ships as an ISR and targeting aircraft. The service scheduled operational test and evaluation of the Fire Scout this summer. The Navy eventually plans to arm Fire Scout as well, but cargo transport may be the next military mission vertical lift UAVs take on. The Office of Naval Research asked industry this past January to propose cargocarrying vertical lift UAVs for the Marine Corps. “The ideal candidate,” the ONR said, “would be a shipboard compatible, high speed VTOL platform that is autonomous, affordable, rugged and reliable.” The agency said it was interested in UAVs that might be fielded within five, 10 or 15 years. The ideal long-term solution, it added, would be a vertical lift UAV that could carry 1,600 pounds of cargo to four separate locations at speeds of 250 knots or better and to a radius in excess of 285 nautical miles, or 328 statute miles. Those distances and speeds would rule out a UAV

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that flew like a conventional helicopter, and such goals may challenge industry for years to come. With thousands of additional Marines being sent to Afghanistan this year, the Corps decided the time had come to buy an unmanned helicopter for resupply missions. Getting supplies to remote Forward Operating Bases, or FOBs, in Afghanistan has proven a challenge for all armed services deployed to that rugged country. “There’s no doubt that this is the most difficult terrain that I’ve ever seen in 33 years to actually walk across, operate in, or to fight in,” Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 101 in Afghanistan, said in a recent teleconference with Pentagon reporters. Schloesser’s command, he noted, leases donkeys from local Afghans to get supplies up some difficult mountain peaks.

UAV RFP

For those reasons, the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory at Quantico Marine Base, Va., issued a Request for Proposals on June 1 for what it calls the Immediate Cargo Unmanned Aerial System. The

requirements make it clear that the winner will be an unmanned helicopter. The winning UAV will have to deliver at least 10,000 pounds and ideally 20,000 pounds of cargo within 24 hours to a roundtrip distance of 150 nautical miles, or 172.5 statute miles. It will have to fly at 15,000 feet density altitude and be able to hover at 12,000 feet density altitude either in or out of ground effect. How many trips the UAV might make to deliver all that cargo within the 24-hour time limit wasn’t specified, but the RFP said the “smallest element in a cargo package shall be equivalent to at least a standard wood pallet” measuring 48 x 40 inches loaded with at least 750 pounds of cargo and preferably 1,000 pounds. The aircraft also will have to operate autonomously but be equipped to let Marines on the ground control it “beyond line-of-sight” when delivering supplies, meaning it will need to carry a satellite communications dish. The goal of the program is to “get Marines off the road” by delivering supplies to small units by air instead of by truck convoy, explained the Combat Development Center’s Heffern, who had no role in evaluating bids but has worked on the

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Military | UAV

An unmanned K-MAX aerial truck delivers 2,500 pounds at 13,600 ft density altitude during summer flight tests in the Colorado Rockies. Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace are preparing to demonstrate the aircraft’s unmanned cargo delivery capabilities to the U.S. Marine Corps later this year.

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Aerial photo by Chad Slattery

The UAV Revolution

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Military | UAV

resupply problem. Given the demand for helicopters in Afghanistan already, using a UAV for such jobs also should ease the burden on manned Marine Corps rotorcraft that can be used to deliver supplies but are needed for a variety of other missions, too. “There also could be some other areas where it may potentially be a game-changer,” Heffern said. “There may be situations where the risk of ground fire or weather may be so elevated that we’re unable to take manned aviation into particular areas.” The Marines “may be more willing to assume that risk with an unmanned system,” he continued. The Marines got at least three responses to their RFP, with major differences among the entries.

K-MAX

Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Systems Integration division at Owego, N.Y., partnered with Kaman Helicopters of Bloomfield, Conn., to offer the beefiest entry, an “optionally manned” version of Kaman’s K-MAX. The manned version of the K-MAX has been used since the 1990s for logging and other medium-lift jobs, but Kaman has sold only a few. The K-MAX’s empty weight is 6,000 pounds, and with its two intermeshing “synchropter” rotors, which cancel out torque, and no tail rotor to bleed power from its single engine, Kaman boasts that the aircraft can lift its own weight in payload.

Hummingbird

Boeing Co. also bid on the Marine Corps contract with its A160T Hummingbird, a 35-foot-long helicopter UAV whose claim to fame up until now has been its ability to stay aloft for long periods — 18.7 hours in a 2008 test. The Hummingbird was developed by the ever-inventive Abe Karem, who also devised the fixed-wing UAV that evolved into the Predator. The Hummingbird uses Karem’s rigid Optimum Speed Rotor, whose revolutions per minute can be adjusted for maximum efficiency at different altitudes and cruise speeds. DARPA and the Army funded the development work and Boeing took over Hummingbird when it bought Frontier Systems Inc. in 2004. Designed for endurance, the Hummingbird is light — about 2,500 pounds empty — and according

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to Boeing can carry up to 2,500 pounds of cargo in addition to its fuel.

Game On

Going into the competition, Lockheed and Kaman officials were confident the K-MAX’s superior lifting ability would give their entry the edge needed to win the Marine Corps contract. “They require that you have to deliver 20,000 pounds of cargo over a 24-hour window,” said Dan Spoor, vice president for rotary wing programs at Lockheed’s Owego division. “That’s the key requirement. We can handily meet that requirement.” The K-MAX also has a carousel cargo hook that allows it to carry four separate loads and drop them at four locations, said Salvatore Bordonaro, president of Kaman Helicopters. “We actually call it the ‘aerial truck,’” Bordonaro explained. The companies tested a K-MAX flying autonomously in June 2008 for the Army, whose Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is very interested in the optionally manned K-MAX, though that service has no plans as yet to buy a helicopter UAV for cargo hauling. The Army tests were flown with a “safety pilot” aboard because Federal Aviation Administration regulations severely limit unmanned aircraft flights in domestic airspace. In those tests, Lockheed and Kaman proved that an operator on the ground using a ruggedized laptop computer with a joystick could control the K-MAX through a data link. Team K-MAX, as the companies are calling their partnership, also showed that the aircraft could take off autonomously, pick up and deliver a 3,000-pound sling load, and change its preplanned route in flight. For the Marine Corps competition, Lockheed is installing a satellite communications system in the K-MAX to allow ground operators to control the aircraft when it gets beyond line of sight. A typical mission for the Marines, Spoor said, might be to deliver food, water, ammunition and medical supplies to a FOB located 75 miles or so from a hub base. A ground operator at the hub would put the aircraft into a hover at around 50 feet and hold it there while Marines hooked cargo loads

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to the K-MAX. The aircraft then would fly a preprogrammed route autonomously at 12,000 to 15,000 feet to one or more FOBs. At each FOB, a Marine on the ground with a handheld control station would take control of the K-MAX as it approached, put it into a hover, release one or more of the cargo loads, then return control to the aircraft’s mission management computer. “They can proceed back to other FOBs or to the hub with a series of ground controllers operating it along the way,” Spoor said. “It has the full capability to be flown unmanned autonomously,” he added, but because the K-MAX has a cockpit, “if you want to ferry it between locations with a pilot, you could do that. You kind of get the best of both worlds.” Boeing officials said they were confident their Hummingbird could do what the Marine Corps wants. The requirement, observed Boeing’s Mike Lavorando, A160T deputy program manager, breaks down to delivering at least 2,500 pounds and ideally 5,000 pounds of cargo every six hours, and the 150-nautical-mile round-trip requirement is no problem for an aircraft that has shown it can fly literally all day and much of the night, on one tank of gas. The Hummingbird, Lavorando added, offers its own advantages. Should the Marines decide they want their UAV to carry cargo faster than 70–80 knots, the top speed most any helicopter would be able to fly hauling a sling load, he said, the A160T can be fitted with an aerodynamic cargo pod that would let it fly as fast as 140 knots. Lavorando said the company was still designing a system to carry sling loads but already had flown the A160T with a cargo pod, though not to 140 knots. A 40 x 48-inch pallet loaded with 750 pounds of cargo won’t fit into the pod, but in principle “the Hummingbird offers the faster podded resupply capability,” Lavorando said. “Getting cargo delivered in half the time, basically, that you could do with a sling load would be a big advantage.” The Hummingbird has flown a mission profile such as the Marine Corps wants autonomously, but as the competition began, Boeing was still working to equip it with handheld and beyond line-of-sight control systems. John Groenenboom, Boeing’s A160T program manager, said the com-

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The UAV Revolution

pany would meet the beyond line-of-sight requirement by attaching a satellite dish to a static mast above the Hummingbird’s rotor. Lavorando said the Hummingbird could have an edge in the competition because it was designed from the ground up as a UAV. Boeing has been able to flight test the Hummingbird in the high desert near Victorville, Calif., under an authorization given to DARPA by the FAA. “All the development done has been unmanned and all the lessons learned from that have been incorporated into the aircraft and into the control system,” Lavorando said. “Starting with a manned platform and trying to unman it is very difficult.” The Hummingbird also would offer the Marines more than just a way to get cargo to remote FOBs, he added, though supply delivery is all the Corps is officially seeking. The aircraft has internal storage capacity that could be used to carry other payloads, such as sensors and communications gear, Lavorando said, “So it could be conducting a resupply mission, at the same time providing a communications relay capability for the troops, and it could be conducting ISR missions while it’s hauling cargo.” Beyond that, the U.S. Special Operations Command has tested a Hummingbird carrying a foliage-penetrating radar called FORESTER to detect ground troops moving beneath jungle canopy, confirmed Maj. Wesley Ticer, a spokesman for the command. The radar works best when used from a hovering platform, which enables it to distinguish the speed difference between the hovering aircraft and the troops as they move on foot. Boeing’s Groenenboom said the company also has begun experimenting on its own with arming the A160T by flying it with three dummy Hellfire missiles attached to one of two stub wings added to the fuselage. “That is one of the visions our customer has eventually” for helicopter UAVs, Groenenboom said.

Fire Scout

With the Marine Corps still evaluating the bids, Northrop Grumman declined to release any details about how its Fire Scout could meet the program’s requirements.

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In an e-mailed response to questions from Rotor & Wing, Mike Fuqua, business development manager for Fire Scout, would say only that the aircraft can “carry a significant amount of cargo” in “pods that have been designed for this increased requirement.” How much cargo the Fire Scout could carry, he added, would depend on time, speed and “environmentals.” Fuqua also noted that, in addition to being chosen by the Navy as a vertical lift UAV for ISR missions at sea, Fire Scout was the Army’s choice as a helicopter UAV to perform ISR, targeting and communications relay missions under that service’s Future Combat Systems program. The Defense Department ordered the Army to cancel Future Combat Systems on June 24, but Fuqua — commenting before that — said the fact that Fire Scout had been “a mature program of record in two services” should make it “the obvious choice” for the Marines.

A Version of the AH-6

Another arm of Boeing, its Rotorcraft Systems unit in Mesa, Ariz., has been developing an unmanned version of the company’s AH-6 Little Bird helicopter, whose manned and armed version is flown by the Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Boeing considered but decided against entering the AH-6U, as the unmanned Little Bird is designated, in the competition for the Marine Corps cargo resupply contract. “It was the company’s decision to bid only one platform, and then the decision was made that the platform to be bid was the A160T,” said Boeing Rotorcraft Systems spokeswoman Carole Thompson. Even so, Dino Cerchie, Unmanned Little Bird program manager for Boeing, said it wasn’t inconceivable that the Marines could decide later that the AH-6U would be a good choice for cargo resupply missions. “We’ve been working with the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, helping them develop their CONOPS (concept of operations) for precision delivery and resupply,” Cerchie said. “They’ve already seen us demonstrate this capability.” Boeing has been developing the unmanned Little Bird since 2003, and in recent years has demonstrated various UAV

missions, such as communications relay using a high bandwidth link with phased array antennas. That gave the AH-6U the ability to communicate with multiple aircraft and ground units simultaneously, Cerchie said. The unmanned Little Bird, which weighs just under 2,000 pounds empty, has carried cargo loads up to 870 pounds and could carry as much as 2,000 pounds, he added. The company also has studied arming the unmanned Little Bird with missiles, rockets and even .50-caliber machine guns. “In 2005–2006, since it was such a new concept, we had a pretty broadband approach to demonstrating anything and everything to everyone,” Cerchie explained. Since then, under an Army contract, Boeing has been using the unmanned Little Bird in AH-64D Apache Block III tests as a stand-in for the Sky Warrior, a new Army version of the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems fixed-wing Predator flown by the Air Force. Boeing’s Apache Block III gunship helicopter is being equipped to allow its crew to control Sky Warrior and the UAV’s sensors and communications relay gear in flight. Sky Warrior isn’t far enough along to be used in tests of that capability, so Boeing has flown the unmanned Little Bird as a “surrogate.” “I think all current and future variants of all manned (military) aircraft are going to have some level of UAV interoperability,” Cerchie said. “The Apache, being the cornerstone, is probably going to have a little more than most.”

Other Contenders

American companies are not alone in moving to cash in on vertical lift UAVs. Schiebel Group of Vienna, Austria flew its little Camcopter S-100 unmanned helicopter at Le Bourget this year — the first time a UAV had flown in that storied venue, according to a company news release. Other companies playing include Saab of Sweden and Swiss UAV of Niederdorf, Switzerland, which in May announced that they would collaborate in developing and marketing unmanned helicopters. “VTOL UAVs are the future,” said VTOL historian and vertical flight consultant Michael Hirschberg. “It’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when.’”

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Military | Heavy Lift

The German Army presently uses CH-53G aircraft to provide heavy lift for its armed forces. Despite undergoing a recent upgrade, these aircraft are aging. However, the new Sikorsky CH-53K version could prove an attractive airframe for the Franco-German requirement.

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Photo courtesy of NATO.

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Design Challenge

By Thomas Withington

France and Germany want to procure a common heavy lift helicopter. This will be a difficult and ambitious task given the numerous needs of both countries.

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o say that it is an ambitious product would be an understatement, but to say that it is impossible would be exaggeration. However, France and Germany have certainly set themselves a difficult task. Both countries want to procure a common heavy lift helicopter. Germany needs to replace its Sikorsky CH-53G aircraft by around 2020, while the French armed forces, which have not previously operated a heavy lift rotorcraft, have discovered the need for such a machine in the canyons of Afghanistan and in the wide open spaces of Chad, west Africa, where the Armée de Terre (French Army) have a major peacekeeping operation. Moreover, both France and Germany are mindful that, as well as requiring a means to move heavy equipment and troops into areas bereft of airstrips, they also need an aircraft that is capable of performing humanitarian assistance opera-

Photo courtesy of NH Industries

The NH Industries NH-90 is one of the largest helicopters currently in production in Europe. Using the NH-90 as the baseline aircraft for the Franco-German heavylift initiative would require the aircraft to undergo serious, and expensive, modifications.

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tions such as the evacuation of large numbers of civilians from disaster areas, or the movement of food and medical supplies. Although the out-of-service date for the CH-53Gs illustrates just how pressing Germany’s need for a new heavy lift helicopter is, history may not be on Paris and Berlin’s side. The pan-European Airbus A400M turboprop military airlifter, which involves France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Belgium and Luxembourg, is currently running around fours years late regarding its service entry with the Armée de l’Air (French Air Force), the launch customer. The situation for pan-European helicopter programs looks little better. The NH Industries NH-90 troop transport and naval helicopter, a joint program involving France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal, is suffering delays of up to two years for the NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) version of the aircraft to enter service. The Franco-German heavy lift initiative can be traced back to 2006, when the Ministries of Defence of France and Germany announced a wish to acquire a new heavy lift helicopter and released a Request for Information to this end. Both countries are looking for a rotorcraft which can lift up to 13 tons, or 70 fully-equipped troops, more than 540 nautical miles (1,000 kilometers). The maximum take-off weight of the helicopter is in the region of 35 tons. Eurocopter has been tasked by the governments to devise a design which could fulfil this requirement. The company has looked at developing its own heavy

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Military | Heavy Lift

lift helicopter before, unveiling a concept design for such an aircraft at the Berlin Air Show in 2006 as a potential replacement for Germany’s CH-53Gs. The aircraft was envisaged to have three powerplants, each producing 6,700 horsepower (5,000 kilowatts), a maximum 650-nm (1,200-km) range and a 160-knot (300-kilometres-perhour) top speed. However, the company is reaching out to American and Russian partners to develop a design capable of meeting France and Germany’s requirements, and it would appear that plans by the company to develop its own heavy lift helicopter have, for now, been shelved, although this is denied by Eurocopter’s

Dominique Maudet, executive vice president of Governmental helicopters. When speaking to Rotor & Wing at this years’ Paris Air Show, he emphasized that Eurocopter was not necessarily pledging that the heavy lift helicopter will be a completely new design, “but it could be.” Either way, the aircraft is a big in both scope and size: “two to three times bigger than the NH-90,” notes Maudet. The procurement of the helicopter will be performed through the European Defence Agency (EDA); an organization of the European Union tasked with deepening pan-European cooperation in armaments procurement. However, the

Photo courtesy of French Air Force

A Eurocopter EC-725 Caracal of the French Air Force. Apart from the NH-90, this is one of the largest helicopters operated by the French armed forces. It is a development of the company’s Super Puma/Cougar family, although any further increase in size of this aircraft to meet the Franco-German requirement would almost certainly be impossibly expensive.

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involvement of the EDA in the project indicates that the cost of developing such an aircraft themselves will just be too much for the French and German governments combined. “We will need a big budget to start from scratch”, concedes Maudet. Instead, the company is looking at existing aircraft designs which can be modernized to meet the requirement, and plans to “pick and choose elements and concepts from other aircraft for the design,” which will eventually fulfil the Franco-German requirement. France and Germany’s strategy for procuring the heavy lift rotorcraft is essentially simple. A standard, existing heavy lift helicopter design will be used as the baseline airframe that will then be extensively modified to meet the requirements. The candidate aircraft are the Boeing CH-47F Chinook, Mil Mi-26T and the Sikorsky CH53K. Experiments to find the ideal airframe have already begun. In November 2008, the French DGA (Délégation Générale pour l’Armement) procurement agency received a Mi-26T on loan, which was flown for a series of flight trials at Istres Air Force Base in the south of France near Eurocopter’s headquarters and factory near Marseilles. Broadly speaking, French Army officials who participated in the test flights found the Mi-26T to be a satisfactory airframe, although with a five-person crew, a substantial modernization of the types’ avionics will be required to reduce the aircraft’s flight crew from five to three people. However, the Mi-26T is a relatively inexpensive option, costing around $10 million per unit. Moreover, Eurocopter could share the avionics development with the Suhopútnyje vojská Rossíjskoj Federácii (Russian Army) which operates the aircraft, and which plans to upgrade all 16 in its fleet. The Sikorsky CH-53K would bring its own attractions as a candidate airframe for conversion into a heavy lift platform. Firstly, Germany is familiar with operating the CH-53G type. Secondly, the CH-53, which has over 40 illustrious years of US Navy and Marines service under its belt, would provide France with a maritime heavy lift capability by virtue of its design. Heavy lift from the sea is a particularly important

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Design Challenge

The Russian giant Mil Mi-26T heavylift helicopter is the design which closest meets the requirements for France and Germany’s future heavy lift helicopter. However, the aircraft would require major modifications to operate with the countries’ armed forces.

capability for the Marine Nationale (French Navy) in particular, which took delivery of the Tonnerre and Mistral amphibious support ships in 2006, which have large helicopter decks with a forward landing spot strengthened to accommodate a CH-53 or Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey-sized aircraft. The Boeing CH-47F solution is, perhaps, the ‘dark horse’. On one hand it could be one of the more expensive options, but on the other hand, would offer a high degree of commonality with Europe’s other Chinook operators; principally the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Spain and the United Kingdom. This could help to reduce costs all around to operators through the possible pooling of maintenance assets and spare parts. Moreover, both the Sikorsky CH-53K and CH-47F aircraft are at the start of their assembly. This could allow Eurocopter to ‘bleed off ’ airframes from the existing production run for the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army, and convert them into the heavy lift aircraft either in the United States or at Eurocopter’s facilities in Europe. On one hand, the promise of American participation, and therefore American jobs, in the heavy lift helicopter’s production could be a key factor in encouraging Boeing or Sikorsky’s full participation for the project. However, both the French and German governments will be under considerable pressure from trade unions and parliamentarians at home to ensure that

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Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Defense

jobs building the future heavy lifter remain in Europe. Either way, Eurocopter will have to walk a delicate line should it choose an American design as the baseline airframe. However, Maudet notes that American participation would bring major benefits: “The U.S. coming into the project would be a strong asset.” In fact, Reuters reported in March 2009 that American participation in the project is looking increasingly likely, following discussions of the program by Department of Defense officials. Despite that the CH-47F is expected to remain in U.S. Army service until at least circa 2030, with the CH-53K flying with the USMC until at least 2040, both services will have to consider what heavy lift rotorcraft solution will fulfil this role for each service after these airframes retire. Having a heavy lift helicopter developed with European assistance and ready to enter service in the 2030–40 timeframe could offer significant cost savings to both services. Moreover, commonality with European operators would help to reduce the support costs of the aircraft for the Army and the Marines. The project has also received significant endorsement from the European Union (EU) with General Henri Bentegeat, chief of the EU’s Military Committee, which gives military advice to the EU’s Political and Security Committee (which in turn oversees EU foreign and defence policy). He endorsed the heavy lift program during

the EDA’s Helicopters — Key To Mobility conference, which studied methods of addressing the perennial issues of rotary shortfall across the European continent in March this year. Although a Franco-German initiative, with the program now under the auspices of the EDA this will enable other European countries to participate in the project and, crucially, bring development funds to the table during what promises to be an expensive acquisition. The final requirements for the helicopter are expected to be agreed by France and Germany by 2009 and, according to Maudet, Eurocopter will have a full concept definition of the aircraft by 2012. The signing of a contract for the helicopters is expected to follow soon afterwards with initial deliveries scheduled for 2017. This seems an optimistic schedule as it is entirely possibly that the program could be subject to delays. The path of pan-European defence projects has not always run smoothly, with the A400M and NH-90 being two notable examples. However, US participation in the initiative could bring the vital technical expertise required to build such a large rotorcraft. Apart from Russia, the United States is the only country which has succeeded in developing heavy lift helicopters and crucially, future U.S. Marines and Army requirements may bring much-needed developmental funding.

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TRAINING | OFFSHORE

SAFETY & TRAINING FOR OFFSHORE OPERATORS Weather, mechanical failure, airspace congestion, crowded helidecks, fuel issues, crane operations, take your pick. Constant vigilance and anticipation of dire consequences are your companions for all offshore flights.

By Pat Gray

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any years ago, a friend and I were discussing the job prospects of joining an offshore helicopter company as line pilots. He was adamant that the only over water time he cared about logging was sitting on the commode with his monthly copy of Rotor & Wing. As for me, I saw opportunity knocking and have logged more than 7,000 hours flying over the Gulf of Mexico spanning some 23 years. They were good years without a single worry about sharks, swimming or other ocean flying hazards. Concern, yes. But certainly not fear. Like many helicopter pilots throughout the world, I enjoyed a sweeping variety of flying jobs during 40-plus active years sitting in the front seat of more than a few types of helicopters. This discussion is about flying offshore in support of the oil and gas industry. I have made a list of some offshore flying hazards that I am familiar with and are recognized by most of the offshore operators. We will examine some of the conditions that have unique impact on offshore flying.

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Weather

There is no specific government weather forecasting for offshore flying in the Gulf of Mexico. Through the years, there have been several private weather services that provide custom weather briefings. The larger, better-equipped helicopters have avionics that can upload real-time radar pictures, but the old standby is still the pilot and observer reports from destination platforms. Radar cannot yet detect fog and though normal fog can be forecast rather easily, sea fog is a different story. It’s a phenomenon caused by a sudden differential temperature in the water surface and the overriding air. It is thick and persistent. Even seagulls are grounded in sea fog. Haze over water can be a serious problem leading to IFR flight even though you have the required minimum visibility. I once flew over Vermilion Bay south of Lafayette, La. in heavy haze and the color of the sky matched the water color of the bay, making any reference to the horizon impossible. You can go on the gauges or onto the deck low level until the barrier islands come into view. Once you are far

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enough offshore, the water color and the sky have enough contrast to define a horizon and you can proceed at the recommended VFR altitude, even in heavy haze. Thunderstorms are always a threat. There are many times when they move directly over the platform from which you are operating. Besides hail, lightning and heavy rain, wind is the most treacherous hazard. Most heli-decks are made of steel plates and with metal skids there is little friction to hold the aircraft in place. Nonskid paint is used on the decks and it helps to stabilize the aircraft but not up to the standards of Earth. Especially if the deck is wet.

Aircraft Tie Downs

Blades are tied down routinely the same as with onshore operations. Offshore, the entire aircraft has to be tied down at certain times such as: on platforms that allow two or more aircraft operations; if the possibility of high winds could occur; and for overnight parking. A high-risk factor comes into play relative to undoing those tie downs prior to flight. Too many times

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Water Birds

Mechanical Failure

It can happen anywhere, but over water it takes on a more serious aspect due to lack of landing choices. Even with floats, a helicopter is not a very good substitute for a boat.

Bird Strikes

Helicopters have a few things in common with birds, but mostly, we fly in each others airspace continuously, whereas airplanes just sort of transition. There are a lot of birds around the Gulf Coast, many of them chicken size or larger. Strikes are common and some can result in major damage and injury. There is an accident involving a large helicopter with fatalities that is under current investigation by the NTSB, with bird activity being one of the suspected contributors. The photo you see (below right) is from an actual in-flight strike on another helicopter while it was turning on final to land. The mallard duck was pierced and impaled on the roof wire cutter.

Cranes

Almost every platform in the Gulf has a boom-type crane affixed to the rig. They are in heavy use from sun up to sun down. Because of the tight space on the rigs, many of these cranes will impose on the heli-deck operating space. Nowadays, there are few incidents concerning helicopter operations and crane operations where they are in conflict, but it was not always so. There will be more on this later.

Landing on Work Barges

A work barge is not fixed to the ocean floor like a regular oil platform. It is a shallow draft barge that can be anchored over a site to do various things like laying pipe, erecting fixed platforms, digging underwater pipe ditches, etc. There is a beehive of activity aboard one, including multiple cranes in operation. Almost all have helidecks and are supported by helicopters. Landing on one in high winds and turbulent seas can be a real experience because they bob up and down and laterally at the same time. Due to the crowded barge

W W W. R O T O R A N D W I N G . C O M

deck, there is usually only one way into the heli-deck and one way out, and neither is rarely directly into the wind. The pilot’s choice sometimes comes down to: Should I let the barge bang into my skids or should I bang the skids onto the deck? Either way, it is a thrill to land and take off, especially in a quartering crosswind and it takes a great deal of skill to do it smoothly.

aircraft is also stated. Due to obstructions, some platforms do not permit omnidirectional takeoffs and landings. It’s one way in and one way out. All landings offshore are not directly into the wind, meaning an offshore helicopter pilot must be extremely wind sensitive for takeoffs and landings.

Wind Socks/Indicators

A blowout is when the oil well or gas well pressure exceeds the capping capability and the product (either oil or gas) shoots wildly out of the well, usually catching fire. These incidents take place during normal well drilling and also with older wells that are being maintained. The well or drilling activity takes place at a distance measured in feet from where the helicopter deck is located. In some cases, the entire platform is destroyed along with everything on it. Poison gas (hydrogen sulfide) is a well by-product that can sometimes accompany hydro carbon extraction and seep into the atmosphere. It is deadly but rarely encountered. All drilling companies have detectors in place, just in case. Nevertheless, it could be a hazard to helicopter pilots who work near the drillers and over crews.

Blowouts & Poison Gas

All the platforms with heli-decks have some type of wind indicator. The preferred is a woven wind sock but some use a metal flag that can swivel with the wind direction. You would think that it would hardly be needed when you can look at the wave action as you approach, but the direction of the waves can be a false indicator. The actual wind can cut across the wave action and could be as much as 180 degrees off the perceived direction.

Poorly Marked Decks

There are no air traffic control towers on the platforms. The pilot’s only source of information about the landing deck is the painted information thereon (and the wind indicator that is, hopefully, also visible from the heli-deck). Like runway and taxiway information, there is a painted code that can offer a great deal of information. Maximum allowable weight is a critical one. The deck can be overstressed depending on the engineering of the braces, etc. Included in this information are obstruction clearances, no hover areas, no tail rotor areas, passenger exit and entry points, aiming circles for a touchdown point and takeoff and landing directions. The allowable length of the

Gas Venting

It becomes necessary to vent gas off of platforms on occasion, usually for production or maintenance reasons. To keep the gas away from the platform, a long boom is installed, usually on the downwind side of the prevailing wind. The gas is pumped through this boom and sometimes ignited (called a flare), but sometimes it is not. If a helicopter were to fly through this gas and get sucked into the engines, there would be an immediate overtemp and possible damage.

Shown here is one of many offshore dangers: the impact of a large water fowl on a helicopter.

Fuel

Photo by Pat Gray

pilots have left a skid tied down and paid the price when applying takeoff power.

Fuel can be a logistics problem. Two things that make it a hazard are availability and contamination. Fuel must be transported by work boat from the shore to the designated rig, off-loaded via crane, positioned and connected. It comes in bulk containers, usually 500 or 1,000-gallon capacity. There are two main helicopter support functions in the Gulf, keeping in mind

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training | Offshore

that there are quite a few other functions. First is the transport of personnel for crew changes and the second is field support. Oil field workers who man the platforms often work schedules of seven days on and seven days off. The larger helicopters that can carry 10-plus passengers do much of the crew changes and fly routes directly from the home base, to as far out as 200-plus miles offshore. They drop off 10 passengers and pick up 10 more to return home. They use a lot of fuel. Field support is done using the smaller helicopters. A field could be a 100-square-mile area where a customer may have as many as 10 to 35 platforms. The smaller aircraft is constantly on the move within this field and could be refueling five or more times a day. Many of the days refueling operations are “hot” refuels, or rapid refueling (RR), due to the limited number of refueling points in the Gulf and that only one helicopter at a time can take on fuel. This means that others awaiting their turn will have to circle the platform until the deck is clear. Fuel quality and quantity are critical. There are numerous quality control inspections done daily, monthly and yearly on these fuel systems. Quantity is checked daily and the level is reported to the helicopter company via phone or radio. Each helicopter company provides its own fuel and decides where it wants to establish refueling locations offshore. It does depend on what oil companies they have contracts with when determining these locations. Fuel consumption from the location must be monitored carefully to assure availability. It is a constant exercise

to operate the offshore helicopters with minimum legal fuel so payload can be maximized. It is critical that fuel be available when the fuel stop is flight planned.

body, not under the seat. Passengers open and close their own doors and talk to the pilot. A passenger sits in the copilot’s seat and helps the pilot look for airborne traffic. Passengers load and unload their baggage and tools. If qualified, a passenger might even refuel the helicopter. Sometimes these do-it-yourself things go awry. An incident some years ago occurred when an experienced passenger was sitting in the copilot seat and he lodged his foot between the cyclic stub and the vertical seat wall. The helicopter crashed into the sea, but not before the passenger apologized to the pilot. The pilot survived but the passenger did not. Tools have been thrown into spinning rotors, baggage doors have been left open or unlocked, passengers on the heli-deck have been hit by moving helicopters, and some have walked into tail rotors. In spite of being told repeatedly, there are some that insist on undoing their seat belts even before the skids are down on the deck. How do you manage your passengers when you have to fly a very complicated and attention-demanding aircraft? Do the briefings and hand out briefing cards. Some of the oil companies have videos of how to conduct yourself around the helicopter, as do the helicopter operators.

Fish Spotting

Small single-engine airplanes are used to find schooling fish, usually just off the beach. As many as five of the airplanes are stacked up directing the boats to those fish, and their attention is mostly on the fish, not the airspace. Care must be used when nearing these operations.

Crowded Airspace

On a daily basis, there are at least 500 helicopters operating offshore in an area from Mobile, Ala. to Port Mansfield, Texas. This arc contains some 88 helicopter bases. A good guess is that the majority operate from the shore to about 100 miles out. Most operate below the 3,000-foot segmented circle of even/odd altitudes established by FAA guidelines. Destinations are shared by almost all of the helicopters, regardless of the helicopter operator who has a contract with a particular customer. With the exception of the towered airports on the beach, and a few companycontrolled locations, the use of the VHF radio, and published procedures, is the best defense against midair collision.

Safety and Training

Passengers

Every large helicopter operator in the Gulf has a safety and training department that meets or exceeds FAR Part 135 requirements. What is unique here in the Gulf of Mexico, is an organization called the Helicopter Safety Advisory Conference

There is no comparison of passenger management in helicopter operations versus airline operations. Passengers in the helicopter world have no seat assignments or boarding passes. The life vest goes on the

Five Year Gulf of Mexico Offshore Helicopter Accident Data Number of Accidents

Aircraft Category Year

36

# # Accidents Fatal

Injuries # Eng Related

Pax

Aircraft Damages

Aviation Accident

Classification

Rates

Severity

Crew Injured Fatal

# Fatal # Acc # Acc # Fatal Minor Substantial Total 100k 1M 100k Flt Loss 100k Hrs AccHrs Occupants Stages

2004

10

4

2

16

6

7

15

0

3

7

2.77

1.11

3.99

0.79

2005

8

2

2

16

7

18

5

0

4

4

2.05

0.51

1.21

0.61

2006

6

1

1

4

3

5

2

1

1

4

1.48

0.25

0.48

0.48

2007

7

2

0

4

5

6

3

0

5

2

1.70

0.49

1.02

0.54

2008

2

1

0

4

1

0

5

1

0

1

0.49

0.24

1.14

0.16

Yr. Avg.

6.6

2.0

1.0

8.8

4.4

7.2

6.0

0.4

2.6

3.6

1.70

0.52

1.57

0.52

Roto r & Wing magaz ine | Au g ust 2 0 0 9

www . r o t o r a n d w i n g . c o m

Chart courtesy of HSAC.

Number of Accidents


Water Birds

(HSAC) that is an industry model for propagating safety. Born of tragic circumstances in the 70s, (a crane/helicopter collision aboard a helideck with multiple fatalities), HSAC has matured into a world-class leader in open dialogue and unprecedented cooperation on safety related issues. The motto of the organization is “Safety Though Cooperation.” They meet three to four times annually in two-day work sessions, but are in continuous contact throughout the year, working to resolve issues of major concern. The knowledge and insight garnered during their sessions are put to use through communications with the entire Gulf Coast helicopter community, plus the oil producers and drillers. A key publication they use is the HSAC Recommended Procedures (RPs). There are currently 21 RPs covering all of the hazards referred to in this article, plus additional hazards. The amount of concentrated radio traffic in the Gulf has got to be the heaviest in the U.S., if not the world. HSAC also publishes a pilot information and frequency card. Ten pages, very small print. They make it into an accordion fold so it will fit in the pilot’s shirt pocket. You could not operate offshore without this information. The group has alliances with many government agencies such as fish and game, customs, FAA, military, mineral management and U.S. Coast Guard, all of whom attend the meetings. HSAC works closely with the Helicopter Association Intl (HAI). The single most important thing that results from HSAC activity is the implementation of their well-thought-out safety practices into the training manuals of the offshore helicopter operators.

flown by aircraft type, i.e., single engine, multi-engine, light, heavy and medium. Accident categories cover power loss, tail rotor, tie down procedures, loss of control, loose cargo, CFITW, fuel management, fuel quality, obstacle strikes, weather,

passenger control, and heli-deck design and size issues. (See chart on page 36.) Compilation allows the safety managers of the various companies to focus in on problem areas and develop training scenarios that address those problems. The

Train with the best: S-300CBi

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Statistics

Through the years, HSAC has developed and shared a comprehensive accident reporting and recording program referred to as an Operations and Safety Review. It is a compilation of statistics based on the types of accidents and the types of helicopters involved. Operational inputs cover passengers per day and per year, average flight duration, total hours

www . r o t o ra n d w i n g . c o m

www.sacusa.com

Schw P2 RW.indd 13

3/13/09 1:59 PM

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TRAINING | OFFSHORE

of computer-assisted classes and in-flight training using the helicopters. A small company, HeliWorks, Pensacola, Fla., operates four singleengine helicopters from Abbeville, La. and Beaumont, Texas. Bob Wade, the Gulf Coast manager, uses a program similar to Rotorcraft Leasing, but it differs in that they only hire well-experienced pilots with offshore backgrounds. Flight Safety International (FSI) The Helicopter Safety Advisory Conference meets several times has opened a training facility in each year to discuss safety-related issues in the Gulf Coast. Lafayette, La., and is concentrating Training its efforts toward the Gulf Coast Michael White, simulator technician for Are personnel being trained for the repeat- Era, said they can give the pilot human fac- helicopter market. The facility manager, able accident scenarios that seem to recur tors training by simulating scenarios such Amparo Calatayud, said that they have on a much-too-frequent basis? Interviews as crowded deck space, crane operations Level D simulators for the S-76 and S-92 seem to indicate that they do. Simulators and obstructions. They can crank in actual that provide IFR training. FSI is in the proor flight training devices (FTDs) are begin- weather conditions such as fog, haze and cess of obtaining two level 7 FTDs in Bell ning to make their mark on the Gulf Coast. low clouds. Broussard, La.-based Rotorcraft 407 and AS-350 configurations. They will Era Helicopters, of Lake Charles, La., has Leasing Co. operates mostly single engine provide the VFR training for operating in been employing a Frasca FTD for a while. aircraft. Their training programs consist the Gulf environment.

The LEO just got better ‌ >cigdYjX^c\i]ZcZlA:D">>>"=9[ZVijg^c\ 8VgaOZ^hhDeigdc^XhHZchdghDei^Xh

Photo by Pat Gray

two recordable accidents in 2008 were the smallest number since the statistics were first recorded in 1984, and a milestone. Is offshore helicopter flight more dangerous than onshore flying? I think not. It’s the same old story that we have heard again and again: procedures, procedures. As always, when the pilot departs from the established procedures and ad libs the operation, then the risk increases.

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COMMERCIAL | MILITARY

PARIS AIR SHOW REPORT gave rotorcraft a rare opportunity to shine in its own right.

O

ne welcome by-product of the global recession is that this year’s Paris Air Show was largely free of the boring succession of multibillion dollar deals for Airbus and Boeing airliners that have dominated past editions. And, as orders and hard news in the military fixed-wing field were also few and far between, rotary-wing aviation had a rare opportunity to shine on its own. And, as luck would have it, helicopter manufacturers had a number of new, or nearly new, products to exhibit, and announcements to make. The two European majors, playing on their home turf, both managed to exhibit significant products for the first time in Paris. A year after first unveiling the concept at the Farnborough Air Show,

40

AgustaWestland brought to Paris a fullscale mock-up of its latest military helicopter, the AW-149, in a variant designed to compete for the Turkish government’s Utility Helicopter Program (TUHP). The other competitor is a variant of Sikorsky’s Black Hawk; which Turkey has been operating for 20 years or so. Although Paris was not its true “premiere,” as it had been unveiled at the IDEF defense exhibition in Istanbul in late April, the TUHP 149 generated significant interest on its first appearance at a major show. The TUHP149 was displayed in fullyarmed configuration, carrying a full range of weapons including rocket pods, guided missiles and cabin-mounted automatic weapons. A point of interest is that, unlike its predecessor, the highly successful commercial AW139, the AW149 is fitted with a complete avionics suite developed and produced by AW. In addition to moving profit margins back to AW, the use of proprietary avionics also ensures that the company is not held hostage to the perhaps conflicting priorities of a vendor when it urgently needs modifications or major changes. The TUHP 149 is designed to carry a standard Turkish Army nine-man infantry

ROTOR & W I N G M AGA Z I N E | AU G US T 2 0 0 9

squad, in addition to two pilots, flight engineer and two gunners. AW says that, at a pinch, it can seat 18 soldiers in its 11-cubicmeter cabin (and 3-cubic-meter stowage compartment), but they would have to be very small soldiers indeed, to judge by the size of the seats fitted to the mock-up. The Turkish government was expected to announce the winner of the TUHP competition, which calls for a total of 109 helicopters (plus 110 more to follow later) for seven different government departments, in early July, but as this hasn’t happened, the decision will slide back until the autumn. This will allow AW to pursue the 149’s development. The company plans to fly an engineering testbed by year-end, with the first prototype to follow in mid-2010. It then plans three years for qualification — no civil certification is planned — leading to initial deliveries in the second half of 2013. The engineering testbed, by the way, will consist of an AW149 fuselage mated to AW139 drive-train. The company has not yet begun to market the AW149, as it prefers to wait for first flight, but it is confident that the design will find as sizeable a market as its

W W W. R O T O R A N D W I N G . C O M

All photos by Ernie Stephens

This year’s show

By Giovanni de Briganti


Show Report

smaller AW139, whose production rate has tripled since 2004, to 90 aircraft/year, to meet sustained demand. In fact, the AW139 accounted for 20 of the 50 orders AgustaWestland booked through the first five months of the year, and although civil orders have slowed down, company officials are confident that the military market will more than make up for this dip. The Italian Air Force’s long-deferred order for a new search and rescue helicopter to replace its venerable HH-3Fs is now expected to be awarded by the end of the year, and is expected to cover between 12 and 15 AW-101s. (Note that AgustaWestland has now adopted the AW designation for all of its helicopters, including the A-109 and the EH-101). Also in AW’s backlog are the Future Lynx (now AW159 Wildcat) for the UK, the ICH-47 Chinook for the Italian Army and, of course, the NH-90 program, in which AW has a 32 percent share. After many teething problems and delays, NH-90 production is slowly increasing, and the consortium should deliver as many as 42 helicopters this year, including those held over from 2008 for various reasons. NH Industries, the NH-90’s prime contractor, exhibited for the first time in flight an NFH-90 naval variant, this one belonging to the Italian navy and fitted with a complete mission system as well as a heavy store carrier, an MU90 torpedo, and a Marte MK2/S anti-ship missile. At the air show, AW also unveiled the latest variant of the AW101 medium lift helicopter. Featuring new, more efficient BERP IV main rotor blades, more powerful engines, a new cockpit display system and a new, up-rated tail rotor, this new version (as yet unnamed) increases payload by over 900 kg (2,000 lbs) when operating in “hot and high” conditions, and allow the AW101 to operate at its current 15,600 kg maximum all up weight as well as at the higher takeoff weights that AW plans for the future. With 226 helicopters delivered in 2008, and new orders steadily if unspectacularly coming in, securing and increasing its production capabilities is a continuing

W W W. R O T O R A N D W I N G . C O M

NH Industries NH-90

objective for AgustaWestland. The company is mulling the acquisition of Poland’s Pezetel, for example, which has built more than 1,000 of its cabins, and remains a highly-qualified yet affordable alternative to outsourcing to the other side of the world. Eurocopter also brought an almost-new product to the Paris Air Show, in this case a full-scale mock-up of the EC175 that it is developing jointly with China’s Harbin Aircraft Industry Group (HAIG) for the civil market, and which made its European debut at Le Bourget. Eurocopter says the program is on course for its first flight at the end of the year, and it sees a potential market for more than 800 aircraft over the next 20 years. Surprisingly, however, the number of orders still stands at 111 units, and has thus not increased since the aircraft was unveiled at the 2008 HAI. Or, taking the opposite view, the program has so far weathered the recession without a single cancellation. Most, if not all, of these EC175s will go to commercial customers. Another Eurasian product, the Korean Helicopter Program, which should also make its maiden flight by year-end, is intended as Eurocopter’s lead military product in the medium twin market. Launched in 2006 by the Korean government as an UH-1 replacement, the Eurocopter Tiger HAD

KHP is a joint venture between Eurocopter and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The Korean military are to take 250 aircraft, and a similar number is expected to be sold, primarily by Eurocopter, on the international market, where it will directly face-off with the AW149. Both are similar in terms of size, both are due to make their first flights by year-end, and both should be ready for initial production by 2012–2013. Interestingly, the KHP is to weigh 8 metric tons, compared to 8.1 tons for the AW149, but it is designed to carry 12 equipped soldiers, rather than the 18 that AW sees as the capacity of the AW149. Another Eurocopter initiative was the unveiling of a Stand-Alone Weapon System (SAWS) which, although exhibited on an AS550 Fennec, can be fitted to any of the company’s light and medium helicopters. The SAWS is composed of a core, including a mission and firing control computer with controls and interfaces, and a choice of sensors (FLIR, TV, HUD, etc.), guided (such as the Denel Ingwe laser-guided missile) and unguided weapons, such as rockets and guns. The company says it is intended to satisfy increased market demand for armed helicopters by offering an easily configurable and modular package. During the show, Eurocopter’s Tiger HAP attack helicopter performed daily flight demonstrations. Tiger recently qualified for operational service with the French Army, which plans to deploy three Tigers to Afghanistan later this year. The company continues to compete for military aftermarket business. During the show, it announced that it had won a contract to retrofit 26 German Army CH-53G helicopters for personnel recovery missions; the contract is valued at 25 million

AU G US T 2 0 0 9 | R OTOR & W I N G M AGA ZI NE

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Commercial | military

euros and the first retrofitted helicopter is scheduled for delivery in early 2010. Eurocopter is also waiting for the UK Ministry of Defence to decide whether it will go through as planned with the midlife update of its fleet of Puma transport helicopters. “Negotiations are very, very advanced … and we are shaving the price where we can,” said a senior company official, adding, however, that financial pressures are forcing the MoD to review all of its procurement plans. This could mean the Puma update could be dropped in favor of the replacement of the entire Puma fleet, which could ultimately make better long-term financial sense; here, Eurocopter sees an opportunity for the NH-90. Eurocopter also used the show to demonstrate its green credentials, with the Bluecopter demonstrator that promises 30 percent better fuel efficiency, and much lower emissions, thanks to its turbocharged

42

Eurocopter EC225

diesel engine instead of a turbine and other innovations. Sikorsky used the Paris Air Show to announce that it had completed its restructuring into three distinct divisions, which it believes will allow better response to the market. One business unit, Sikorsky Military Systems, is focused on the U.S. and international military market, while Sikorsky Global Helicopters, announced in February, brings together its existing commercial business units. The company had already launched Sikorsky Aerospace

Roto r & Wing magaz ine | Au g ust 2 0 0 9

Services, which will group its customer support business. Sikorsky, which posted increased revenues for each of the past seven years, says it is following a “four-pronged business strategy: growth with margin expansion, excellence in execution, technological leadership, and globalization.” Its restructuring is intended to make it more global, better focused on specific customer segments, and better able to continue growing, according to a statement. The company had no big announcement or product at the show, but released some interesting news. For example, it said that the more than 300 Black Hawk helicopters operated by the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan have logged “over 900,000 flight hours without a single material failure with the aircraft.” It added that, since February 2003, the Black Hawk has maintained an 84 percent mission-capable rate despite extreme heat, wind, and sand conditions.

www . r o t o r a n d w i n g . c o m


Show Report

Product-wise, Sikorsky and Elbit Systems announced at the show that they had successfully completed the test phase for the Armed Black Hawk (ABH) demonstrator helicopter, also known as the Battlehawk. An optical missile, a laser-guided rocket, and a 20-mm turreted gun were all fired during these tests. This clears the way for Sikorsky to begin marketing conversions of in-service Black Hawks, and new production Battlehawks, to customers worldwide. The demonstrator configuration also includes Elbit cockpit displays, a Mission Management system with digital map, Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) and ANVIS/ HUD helmet systems with cueing capabilities integrated into the avionics suite. Sikorsky also announced at the show an agreement for Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) to manufacture Sikorsky S-92 helicopter cabins in India, with the first cabin due for delivery in late 2010 from a new greenfield facility that TASL

EADS/Eurocopter Bluecopter

will build at Hyderabad in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Sikorsky is also making progress in outsourcing its Black Hawk production. It announced at the show that major components of the first S-70i (i.e., export) Black Hawk helicopter have been joined at PZL Mielec in Poland, “marking the first time a Black Hawk helicopter has been assembled outside the United States and signaling a major step forward in producing Black Hawk helicopters internationally,” according to a statement.

This helicopter includes a cabin produced at Mielec, a tail cone made by Turkish Aerospace Industries and a cockpit section produced by Kaman Aerospace in the U.S. It is somewhat ironic that the Black Hawk, a military helicopter once the company’s most “domestic” product, has now adopted a truly international supply chain, while the global network of risk-sharing partners and subcontractors that it had originally envisioned for the S-92, a commercial helicopter, never materialized. Bell Helicopter’s exhibition centered around its Model 429, the light twin on which it is counting for future growth in the commercial market. The company organized demonstration flights during the show, and won favorable reviews for the aircraft’s roomy cabin, exceptional visibility from the cabin, and power. Although it was hoping to announce the 429’s certification at the show, Bell

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Commercial | military

missed by only a few days, as Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) granted its certification on July 1. The 429 has also completed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification requirements, and Bell expected to begin initial deliveries in July. Bell currently has about 300 letters of intent for the 429, which it now hopes to convert to firm orders — and increased down payments. Over 60 percent of these orders come from international customers, so Bell is hopeful that the 429 will help re-establish the company as a player in the global marketplace. Like most aerospace manufacturers, Bell is jumping onto the “green” bandwagon. The company’s efforts so far are limited, however, to creating a “new enterprise wide eco-innovation initiative aimed at evaluating its products using a life cycle assessment.” In other words, says Craig Lieberman, who has been appointed to lead this effort: “We have started to evaluate our products and operations … to determine the total impact of our manufacturing efforts with the goal of a substantial reduction in all areas.” What this brings to the table, other than good will, is unclear, but meanwhile Bell is stressing the 429’s eco-friendly features, which it says include low noise, lower fuel consumption and the significant use of composites to reduce the overall weight of the aircraft. Boeing’s Rotorcraft Division held a rare press conference at the show, highlighting not only its venerable Ch-47 Chinook, V-22 Osprey and AH-64 Apache, but also

its AH-6i light attack helicopter and various conceptual studies it is working on to meet future heavy lift requirements. Boeing, despite having only a limited product range, booked record orders in 2008 and projects strong annual growth through 2015. In the military business, this upbeat view is also shared by its competitors; it is only the commercial helicopter business that has suffered some cancellations, and a slowing of orders, due to the global economic recession. However, given the huge backlog of commercial orders enjoyed by most manufacturers, with the exception of Bell, any decrease of orders could have a silver lining, by reducing the frankly excessive delivery times that have no doubt dissuaded some perspective customers.

Russia Redux?

Russia’s helicopter industry was back with an upbeat message at the show, after a decade or two of aimless to- and fro-ing during which it wasted time and money and let its Western competitors take a gigantic head-start that Russia may never be able to make up. The Russian Helicopters Joint Stock Company (RH) managing company, an affiliate of UIC Oboronprom, said that the consolidation of the Russian helicopter industry has entered its final stage, and that it is aggressively developing its research and production capacity. To catch up with its global competitors, RH is finishing its own R&D centre in Moscow’s suburban Panki, and new engineering centre, test production line, and

research centre are also nearing completion, it says. Ultimately, Russian Helicopters wants to take a 15 percent share of the global market but, in the short term, it recognized that the challenge is to use its profits to modernize and to raise the competitiveness of its products, rather than to offset losses. The shortest-term target is the launch of the new Mi-38, Ka-62, Ansat, and Ka226T models. However, given the relatively old technologies of these helicopters, it is doubtful whether they will raise any significant interest in the market. Russian Helicopters is going to keep the current production line, retaining the heavy helicopter segment and gradually expanding the midsize and light segments. The main goal is to keep hold of traditional markets. These are first of all India, China, Africa, and partly SouthEast Asia. The company is planning to expand to Latin America, become stronger in Southeast Asia, and keep its positions in India and China. While building its new product line, RH will concentrate on offering upgrades for its family of Mi-8/-17 Hip medium transport helicopters, for which it foresees stable demand until 2020 and for which it plans a glass cockpit (to be completed by the end of 2009) and modern avionics suite. Despite the abundance of news, helicopter manufacturers announced few new contracts or sales during the show. The total adds up to 19 helicopters, which is a modest tally by any measure: 10 for AgustaWestland (three AW109s, five AW119Kes, and two Grands plus two options), seven for Eurocopter (six Ecureuils and a single EC135), and two 412EPs for Bell. If the number of sales during the show was disappointing, manufacturers like Eurocopter and AgustaWestland are already seeing the beginning of a recovery in the commercial market. The big, unanswered question at the show was whether the industry has already passed the worst of the recession or whether, in a “W” recovery scenario, a harsher dip is to be feared for 2010 before the recovery begins. And this question remains as valid after the show as it was before.

Bell 429

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www . r o t o r a n d w i n g . c o m


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Training | Technology

By Chris Baur

Ground Based Augmentation Systems

W

hat good is a technology if it only has one name? Ground based augmentation systems (GBAS) is one such technology that is part of the FAA’s NextGen roadmap. It resides within a category known as LAAS (local area augmentation system). Its purpose is to supply a differential correction or augmentation to the basic GPS or GNSS, while providing a significant improvement in accuracy. Instrument approaches flown with GBAS are called GLS approaches, otherwise known as global navigation satellite landing system. You may have also heard of WAAS (wide area augmentation system) and want to know what the distinction between them is. Are you wondering why we even need augmentation for GPS/GNSS? A previous article discussed FAA’s NextGen roadmap relating to performancebased navigation (June 2009, page 60). We looked at required navigation performance (RNP) as a “game changer,” as it provides greater access, increased safety, and reductions in both environmental impact and fuel consumption. RNP has certain accuracy limitations that are based on “raw” GPS/GNSS data from an aging constellation of satellites. Unlike a monitored ILS navigation aid, GPS approaches have no means of providing a real-time alarm, flag or alert for signal loss, interference, or satellite clock drift. This is where LAAS and WAAS come in to provide the alerting and correction for these potential sources of error, and providing lower instrument minimums than raw GPS alone.

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Each sector of our industry incubates and shares different technologies, techniques and procedures. While RNP began with the airlines, it has quickly spread to corporate aviation and the military. Like RNP, GBAS also has its origins in the airlines, and now this technology is spreading. The military version of GBAS is called joint precision approach landing system (JPALS), which will allow the military to use GPS/ GNSS augmentation to perform precision landings anywhere and at any time. The U.S. military requires the capability at airfields, aboard ships or temporary ad-hoc locations. Many former Army pilots can probably recall the “TAC NDB” approaches. Imagine possessing the all weather capability to operate Category I instrument approaches day or night, even when surrounded by terrain. While both LAAS and WAAS provide signal augmentation, each system uses a different method to accomplish this task, and ultimately performs a different service for the user. WAAS utilizes a network of ground-based reference stations to detect minute variations in the GPS/GNSS signal. This information is routed to master stations and ultimately geostationary WAAS satellites where the correction is broadcast to WAAS-enabled receivers. In contrast, LAAS is focused on providing signal augmentation at a single location. GBAS provides the correction with a sole VHF signal, broadcast on or near the local airport site. In comparison to WAAS, GBAS can provide an accuracy of one meter or better and provides auto-land capability for Category I/II/III. Combined

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with RNP, GBAS can support curved path multi mode approaches. These curved path approaches can be flown in a fusion of RNP and GBAS, with RNP supporting the curved path portion of the approach while GBAS provides the necessary accuracy to support Category I/II/III minimums. Pilots flying a GBAS approach will require minimal training, since GLS approaches appear the same as legacy ILS approaches. Unlike a costly ILS system, one GBAS station can support 26 runway independent approaches, supplied in a digital broadcast on a single VHF frequency. Without RNP, GBAS can also provide curved path approaches and missed approaches as another feature called terminal area path, or TAPs. Since this technology is runway independent, it can be installed above ground, even on the roof of a building. GBAS stations are installed and operational in Sydney, Australia, Malaga, Spain, Frankfurt and Bremen, Germany, Guam, and later this year, Newark, N.J. In Australia, GBAS-equipped operators such as Capt. Alex Passerini are enthusiastic about the results in their Boeing 737 and Airbus A380 fleets, and see much potential for GBAS helicopter operations as well. A single GBAS station can provide a multitude of approaches to heliports, offshore oil platforms, and independent precision helicopter approaches at larger airports. This will provide unprecedented all-weather access in congested urban airspace, hospitals, conventional heliports and challenging locations with terrain or obstacle constraints. While the GBAS technology began with airlines, the potential for helicopters is huge.

www . r o t o r a n d w i n g . c o m


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Military

By Giovanni de Briganti

V-22: It’s Time to Move On

T

he V-22 Osprey has had a long, expensive and very chequered history, and in addition to highly publicized—and very deadly— crashes it has suffered more than its share of criticism. So, initial reports from the Marine Corps about its glowing performance in Iraq were received as a sign that one of modern aviation’s most intriguing concepts had finally matured. Of course, we should have known better. A study of the Iraq deployments by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and June 23 hearings by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, laid bare the sorry truth: the V-22 seriously underperformed in Iraq; it is unsuited for shipboard deployment; and it is hideously expensive. So bad was its performance, in fact, that Committee chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) called for a halt to its production, saying “It’s time to put the Osprey out of its misery.” Despite a spirited—and sometimes exasperated—defense by Marine Col. Karsten S. Heckl, commander of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (VMM162), one of three squadrons that flew the MV-22 in Iraq, the hearings pretty well demolished whatever credibility the V-22 still had. Here are some points that came to light. In Iraq, the three MV-22 squadrons averaged mission capable rates of 68, 57, and 61 percent respectively, instead of the objective of 87 percent, GAO found; Iraq-based CH-46Es and CH-53s were averaging 85 percent or better.

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Availability was not better fleet-wide. Only 47 of the 105 Ospreys that the Marine Corps has bought since 1988 are considered “combat deployable,” and only 22 of these 47 were ready for combat on a given day, according to information provided by the Corps for the hearing. Indeed, costs are exploding. The V-22’s research, development, test and evaluation costs have tripled since 1988, from $4.2 to $12.7 billion, while the number to be procured was halved, from nearly 1,000 to less than 500. And a V-22 flying hour costs $11,000, or 140 percent more than the CH46E it is intended to replace, the GAO says. But did it perform well? Lt. Gen. George J. Trautman, the Marine Corps’ Deputy Commandant for Aviation, noted with satisfaction during the hearing that “the three VMM squadrons that have deployed to Iraq have flown over 9,800 hours while executing more than 6,000 sorties, carrying over 45,000 passengers and lifting 2.2 million pounds of cargo.” But this works out to an average of 7.5 passengers and 366 lbs load per sortie, which is pretty dismal performance for an aircraft costing $93 million. Operationally, the V-22 cannot fly above 10,000 feet, and as it does not have a weather radar and its ice protection system is unreliable, it is currently prohibited from flying through known or forecasted icing conditions. A bit low for Afghanistan, where it is due to deploy next. And, although the Marine Corps will be its largest user, the V-22 is not suitable for shipboard deployment. “Ships can carry

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fewer V-22s than its predecessor aircraft … and is only cleared to take off and land from four of the six operational deck spots of the LHA- and LHD-class ships usable by CH46s.” Furthermore, rotor downwash is dangerous and can blow people off the deck. Finally, during testimony it emerged that, to prevent the V-22’s very hot exhaust from damaging flight decks while the aircraft idles more than one or two minutes, sailors are forced to place protective metal plates under the engine exhausts, and to reposition them each time it moves. Congressman Towns summed up by saying the V-22 “has problems in hot weather, it has problems in cold weather, it has problems with sand, it has problems with high altitude and it has restricted maneuverability … we’ve gotten half the aircraft for three times the cost.” Clearly, and except for very few, carefully selected missions, the V-22 is not up to the job it was designed for. There are too many things wrong with it to hope it can be fixed. As it has already cost $29 billion, it would be very wasteful to cancel the program, but what else to do? Pretend its shortcomings and faults don’t exist and then express surprise and regrets when the next crash kills all aboard? Or when one is shot down as it lands in a combat zone? Compared to the flood of money lavished on the banking and mortgage systems, the Osprey’s $29 billion are just a rounding error. It’s time to admit the V-22 is a challenge that hasn’t worked out, and move on to other technologies that will provide fast, efficient and affordable medium lift.

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September 2009: NVG Technology Update—Confused about NVG terms such as NVG-A, NVG-B and wondering what is the difference and importance of having TSO’d goggles vs. non-TSO’d goggles? R&W looks at the advances in NVG technology for both military and commercial operators, and how it might impact future operations.

Helitech Preview—The now annual Helitech exhibition continues to grow and rise in prominence as the pre-eminent helicopter venue with opportunities for live flight demos. This year the show returns to Duxford, just outside Cambridge, England and we poll the exhibitors and organizers for a comprehensive preview of what you can expect to find at this year’s event.

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First Flight: Bell 429—R&W editor-at-large, Ernie Stephens, takes his first flight in the long-awaited Bell 429 and candidly reports what he finds. He then sits down with the key Bell program managers for a full update on the status of the aircraft and when we should expect to start seeing Bell’s much-anticipated light twin hit the market and get to work. Helicopter Training: NVG Training Special Report—This month we provide a round-up of the growing variety of training options now available for commercial operators flying NVG aircraft, and the unique perspectives and expertise each has to offer. If you are flying NVG or looking at the possibility in the future, you don’t want to miss this Helicopter Training Special Report!

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49 ...............Aero Dynamix................................................. www.aerodynamix.com

5 .................Edwards & Associates...................................www.edwards-assoc.com

42 ...............Airborne Law Enforcement ...........................................www.alea.com

49 ...............FEC Heilports .................................................... www.fecheliports.com

47 ...............Alpine Air Support..................................................... www.alpine.aero

55 ...............FlightSafety....................................................... www.flightsafety.com

56 ...............American Eurocopter ................................... www.eurocopterusa.com

49 ...............HelicopterHelmet.com.............................www.helicopterhelmet.com

13 ...............Artex............................................................. www.cobham.com/artex

47 ...............Helivalue$ ........................................................... www.helivalues.com

19 ...............Aviall............................................................................www.aviall.com

9 .................Honeywell Defense ............................................ www.honeywell.com

21 ...............Becker Avionics ................................................... www.beckerusa.com

47 ...............Keystone Helicopter ..............................www.keystonehelicopter.com

51 ...............Becker Helicopters..............................www.beckerhelicopters.com.au

45 ...............Reed Exhibitions ...................................................www.reedexpo.com

2 .................Bell Helicopter................................................www.bellhelicopter.com

37 ...............Schweizer ..................................................................www.sacusa.com

15 ...............Bell Helicopter Customer Service ...................www.bellhelicopter.com

49 ...............Skybooks ...............................................................www.skybooks.com

50 ...............Bower Helicopter ..........www.bowerhelicopter.com or 512-345-1292

49 ...............Sun-foil......................................................................www.sunfoil.com

38 ...............Carl Zeiss Optronics ......................................www.zeiss.com/optronics

47 ...............Switlik .......................................................................www.switlik.com

47 ...............Chopper Spotter .....................................................www.jbk.rotor.com

43 ...............Teledyne Battery .............................................. www.gillbatteries.com

17 ...............Cobham Avionics......................................www.cobham.com/avionics

6 .................Wulfsberg Electronics.......................................... www.wulfsberg.com

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AU G US T 2 0 0 9 | R OTOR & W I N G MAGA ZI NE

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Public service | Police

By Frank Lombardi

Say Thank You to Your Maintenance Staff

T

he next time you’re doing your preflight and marvel at the complexity of your craft, think about all of the parts that go unseen, which must work harmoniously for hours on end without fail. Lucky for you, your maintenance staff is intimately acquainted with all those parts. They have to be, if we are to provide airborne law enforcement day-in and day-out, and return safely to earth without an afterthought. Before they can put their tools to work as a combined airframe and powerplant mechanic, they must first acquire at least 30 months of collective practical field experience, or learn their job skills during at least 1,900 hours of training in one of about 170 schools certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Either way, after completion they must then pass a written, oral, and practical exam, much like a pilot does, before finally earning their A&P license. Each mechanic must then maintain at least 1,000 hours of work experience every 24 months, or take an approved refresher course in order to keep their license current. Although not required, they can advance their certifications by taking courses in avionics and radio equipment as well. Today’s rotorcraft mechanics might be more appropriately called ‘maintenance technicians’ since they must be proficient in a multitude of areas. They must have the insight of a cryptologist in order to understand and interpret the many Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs), Airworthiness Directives (ADs), Technical Service

52

Bulletins (TSBs), and numerous other documents. They must be skilled with a wrench in order to remove and replace a faulty engine part one day, and equally skilled with a multi-meter and soldering iron in order to fix a scratchy radio the next day. Modern avionics and mission equipment of a police helicopter can be a godsend to a pilot, but when they malfunction, they can create an electrical nightmare for the maintenance staff. In today’s digital environment, mechanics must possess near hacker-like skills to troubleshoot the aircraft’s many electronic signal processors. They must be perfectionists to an exacting degree when they tighten fasteners to certain torque values and measure tolerances to hundredths or even thousandths of an inch. Think of that whenever you let your altitude fluctuate plus or minus 50 feet. The next time you’re on an extended search thinking about how uncomfortable your cockpit seat is, remember all the positions your maintenance techs contort their bodies into, in order to remove or replace parts, or even just to get a good look at something during their daily aircraft inspection. You will find them working through the uncomfortable summer heat for hours at a time on a ladder servicing the rotor head, where I’d swear it’s 10 to 15 degrees hotter just a few feet up from the hangar floor. Even in the bitter winter they are dependably outside running engine leak checks, again on ladders, this time under the dangers of the spinning rotor. If their job does not involve 24-hour shift-work, you can bet someone is standing by on-call,

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waiting for that phone call asking for help with an unscheduled maintenance item. Essentially, our helicopters defy gravity by virtue of a fine balance of mathematical equations. Each component works for a very specific reason, and if a critical one fails, the results can have obvious farreaching consequences. It was once said (hopefully somewhat tongue-in-cheek) “Mechanics like pilots who fly their craft so that components reach their full service life … As a pilot, you are neither feared nor envied, but merely tolerated.” I’d be willing to bet that whoever said that was specifically talking about police aviators, as it would seem like we have an uncanny ability to break things better than most. And if your organization employs its own in-house maintenance staff, then there probably exists a special bond between those who fly ‘em and those who fix ‘em. Once you share meals and laughs with the people who help ensure your safety, it is something you don’t ever want to part with. Our maintenance crews spend their days diligently inspecting and maintaining the integrity of our aircraft. I admire their resilience when they complete a required inspection, then work on an unscheduled item, and finally close their toolbox only to have us fly the next aircraft into yet another inspection. They do this everyday, because, after all, it is the nature of aviation. They knowingly and routinely accept this level of dedication and perfection required to keep us flying and free from harm. I speak for the entire flying community when I say they do a fantastic job. Thanks guys.

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LAST CHANCE TO SUBMIT YOUR NOMINATIONS

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iiAugust 1, 2009 is the nominations deadline Go to www.SearchandRescueSummit.com for forms and information

Above and Beyond the Call Award nominations will be considered in each of the following operational sectors: iiPublic Service iiMilitary iiCommercial/Corporate/Private Winners will be selected by a panel of prestigious individuals from within the helicopter community and presented at the Helicopter Heroism Awards Luncheon during the 2009 Search & Rescue Summit on September 2-3 in Reston, VA. *When submitting nominations, acts of heroism must have taken place between 1/1/08â&#x20AC;&#x201C;12/31/08.

ii www.SearchandRescueSummit.com ii 16160


Military

By Steve “Elroy” Colby

Old School Fuel Planning

C

omputing available fuel for contingency mission execution is an art lost to the technology of mission computers. Sometimes having a simple tool to pull from your mental toolkit or from a page in your kneeboard can be a godsend during time-critical mission tasking. When tasked for a mission that includes a search, it’s paramount to properly calculate all the segments of the search and rescue which consume fuel. Clearly, you must calculate the time and fuel consumption for the enroute portion of your mission. Based upon mission criticality and/or available onboard fuel, this may be flown at maximum continuous speed VH or maximum range speed VM/R. A commonly omitted allowance is for sighting checks. Deviations from planned search patterns to confirm or ignore a possible sighting often consume 5 percent of total fuel onboard during a search. Remember to include fuel for the survivor landing (or hoist) and recovery. Some turbine aircraft burn substantial amounts of fuel even at flat pitch while waiting for the medics to package your patient. Some aircraft can’t be throttled back to idle without bringing an APU online which then consumes a large portion of the potential idle RPM fuel savings. Knowing and using your most fuel efficient idle mode is essential to saving fuel and maximizing support time. Knowing your bingo fuel helps make the idle versus shutdown decision. The next enroute leg is to the hospital or recovery area. Again speed is dependent upon patient criticality, available fuel and distance.

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Remember to calculate the distance from the farthest point in the search area as Murphy always seems to put you there when you need gas or find your survivor. Sometimes you’ll simply have to fly at VM/R to have sufficient fuel reserves to make it to the delivery site. Delays at the hospital helipad are inevitable. From the delivery point you’ll have to either get to a fueling site or home. Finally, civilian and military regulatory guidance provides the requirements for your VFR or IFR fuel reserve. What results is a simple kneeboard spreadsheet format on which you have all the consumables in the top box in both pounds and hours and the available fuel on the bottom from which you subtract the sum of the consumable segments. The fuel remaining after these segments is that available for the search. The planner then has to determine at what speed he’s going to fly his search pattern to maximize cover-

Search & Divert Fuel Calculation Sheet Fuel Required

a. Enroute b. Sighting Checks c. Recovery Ground/Hoist d. Trip to Hospital e. Hospital Loiter f. RTB/Refuel site g. Reserve Total

#

Hrs

#

Hrs

#

Hrs

#

Hrs

#

Hrs

#

Hrs

#

Hrs

#

Hrs

#

Hrs

#

Hrs

#

Hrs

Joker # Bingo #

Hrs Hrs

Fuel Available

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Total in Tanks Minus Total Above Total Available for Search Joker = Bingo + 20 min Bingo = Sum d. to g.

age. A good rule of thumb is to use recommended cruise speed for preliminary route, parallel or creeping line searches, and max endurance VM/E speed for the concentrated search portions. Establish a Joker fuel level that triggers a crew decision point for search continuation or a refueling stop. One obvious need with this manual method is a quick means to measure time, distance and heading for the initial divert and for the various segments without using the navigation computer. Even the most advanced flight management systems don’t have the flexibility to quickly calculate segment fuel without manually entering several waypoints and running the fuel calculator. Keying in several lat/long takes a long time and using a plotter and a whiz wheel is a bit of a pain. I carry in my flight bag, what’s called a Declitractor. I’ve made a local modification creating a flexible laminated plastic plotter scale that’s pinned in the center of it. This scale has distance and time (at nominal VM/R speed) measurements with 1:500 sectional scale on one side and 1:250 JOG on the other. You drop the device centered on your present position, align the declination grid (adjustable for agonic line changes), pull the plotter scale to your destination to obtain time and distance, and read the plotter line against the compass for proper magnetic heading. Quickly put these times into your fuel chart and compute the appropriate fuel consumption for each segment based on required speed. The chart provides a quickly calculated loiter/search time for your mission, taking the guesswork out of search and divert fuel planning.

www . r o t o r a n d w i n g . c o m


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mission is corporate/executive transportation, emergency

You leverage the unmatched resources of the world’s

medical transport, offshore support, law enforcement

leading aviation training company. More courses, more

or newsgathering, our industry-leading training focuses

instructors, more top-level fully qualified simulators,

on your particular challenges, helping ensure that you’re

more training locations. We’re the authorized trainer

prepared when the routine turns into the unforeseen.

First to Develop Level D Rotorcraft Simulators

1,800 Highly Qualified Instructors

for the majority of aircraft manufacturers, including Bell Helicopter and Sikorsky Aircraft.

We offer training for Bell helicopters at Fort Worth, Texas, and for Sikorsky helicopters at West Palm Beach, Florida,

Simulator-based training from FlightSafety is the single

and London Farnborough, England. Our newest Learning

most effective way to enhance safety in helicopter flight

Center at Lafayette, Louisiana, dedicates its efforts wholly

operations. We continue our decades-long rotorcraft safety

to helicopter safety training, offering customer-specific

leadership with the world’s first Level 7 helicopter flight

training supporting multiple aircraft manufacturer

training devices for effective and economical training. We

product lines. The center’s training programs serve all

were the first to bring Level D performance to full flight

sectors of the industry, including the large and diverse

helicopter simulation and the first to introduce the quiet

fleet operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

precision of simulator electric motion and control loading. Run down our helicopter training checklist and then

Mission-specific training uses realistic scenarios

ask yourself an important question. Could you benefit

to prepare pilots and crew for the conditions and

from the FlightSafety Advantage?

For information, contact Scott Fera, Vice President Marketing • 718.565.4774 sales@flightsafety.com • flightsafety.com • A Berkshire Hathaway company

Dedicated to Enhancing Safety Since 1951

Integrated Customer Training System

Worldwide Network of 40 Learning Centers

Online Training Program Management

Flexible and Convenient Scheduling

Outstanding Customer Service


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