Page 1

WInTER 2012




Flight Show & Tell Guide Aviation shows and conferences.


The Editor’s Letter


Aerial Forum Doctors & Pilots against knife crime Letters to the Editor Flying Crackers

6&7 10 8&9

Bell 407 Test Flight 32 Georgina Hunter-Jones flies the Bell 407GX courtesy of its new UK dealers HeliCharter at Manston in Kent and sees the differences. CH-47F Handover 40 Carlo Kuit & Paul Kievit/Bronco Aviation 298 Squadron receive CH-47F model Chinooks.

New Technology from Claus Richter G Hunter-Jones puts the R44 Raven 11 Gyronimo performance pad on her ipad and evaluates its usefulness as a weight and balance tool, performance and flight time checker.


The Cost of Ownership Georgina Hunter-Jones talks to James Wilson about the cost of running his Robinson R44 both as a private enterprise and with a leaseback at the local flying school.


105HU Daring Eagles Phil Camp and Simon Watson vist the largest helicopter troop in India based in Uttar Pradesh and see how they use the helicopters they need for their work.


Golden Gate Coastguard Carlo Kuit & Paul Kievit/Bronco Aviation

44 48

World News A variety of writers, look at how companies in the old world work to beat the recession and how the new world is benefitting from the growth in and use of helicopters.


Training - Calidus and Magni gyros Chris Jones, a gyrocopter instructor compares and contrasts the two popular models recently on the market and vying for their own position.


Green Blade Pegasus Arjan Dijksterhuis goes to Belgium to see combined forces including the special services training and practicing how to get hostages out of a ‘hot’ situation.


AMREF Flying Doctors Helicopter Life looks at an ingenious system which gives both tourists insurance cover through East Africa and aerial health care for the local population. Book Reviews


Peter Foster on Sirio upgrade


Accident Reports


House & Helicopter


helicopter LIFE, Winter2012


26 February - 1 March 2013 AVALON Geelong, Victoria, Australia 5 March - 7 March 2013 HAI HELIExPO Las Vegas, Nevada 24 April - 27 April 2013 AERO FRIEDRICHSHAFEN +49 (0)7541 708367 9 May - 11 May 2013 EUROPEAN HELICOPTER SHOW (EHS) Hradch Kralove LKRK Czech Republic 0044 208 549 3917 Email: Astrid Ayling Tel: 0044 208 549 5024 Email:

WInTER 2012 HON. EDITORIAL BOARD Captain Eric Brown, CBE, RN The Lord Glenarthur, DL Jennifer Murray Michael J. H. Smith Wing Cdr. Ken Wallis, MBE, RAF EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / PILOT Georgina Hunter-Jones CREATIVE DIRECTORS COPY EDITORS Evangeline Hunter-Jones, JP Gerald Cheyne CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Bronco Aviation, Carlo Kuit & Paul Kievit, Arjan Dijksterhuis, Chris Jones, Peter Foster CONTRIBUTED PHOTOGRAPHY Paul Cordwell, Gerald Cheyne, Arjan Dijksterhuis, Bronco Aviation, Carlo Kuit & Paul Kievit, Chris Jones, Peter Foster SPECIAL THANKS TO Dave Smith ATPL(H)IR, Flight Path Ltd

31 May - 2 June 2013 AEROExPO (UK) Sywell Aerodrome Northamptonshire for more information contact Paddy Casey on +44 (0)20 8255 4218

SUBSCRIPTIONS Go to our website or turn to page 54

17 June - 23 June 2013 50TH INTERNATIONAL PARIS AIR SHOW Le Bourget, Paris, France.

See Helicopter Life on Facebook & Twitter

24 September - 26 September 2013 HELITECH Excel, Docklands, UK 4


21 May - 23 May 2013 EBACE Geneva Airport, Switzerland

20 July - 21 July 2013 FAIRFORD ROYAL INTERNATIONAL AIR TATTOO Fairford, Gloucestershire, UK



ADVERTISING Telephone: +44-(0)20-7430-2384,


COVER PHOTOGRAPH Bell 407GX over Manston Harbour in Kent by Paul Cordwell. HELICoPTER LIFE is published quarterly by FlyFizzi Ltd. 59 Great ormond Street London, WC1N-3Hz. Copyright © FlyFizzi Ltd. 2012. ISSN 1743-1042. All rights reserved. opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the publishers, the Editor or any of the editorial staff. Reproduction in whole or in part, in any form whatever, is strictly prohibited without specific written permission of the Editor.

helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

PhotograPh gerald Cheyne

Show & Tell Guide

o, the new EASA regulations are now out and ready for use after several delays. Already there is vast confusion. Hopefully, as time progresses so will the new regulations develop, but one anomaly is already causing a financial problem for many pilots and schools: the medical. As many readers know I am an examiner. For many years I used to test students for skill tests in Jerez. This was a school set up by Germans, in Spain using the British system, all completely authorised by the British CAA/JAA. The majority of students were German, although there were also many Russian (not in the EASA system and so not covered by the change in regulations), Dutch and so forth. As these students returned after gaining their licence to their own countries they were required to have a medical from their own national authority, this is perfectly understandable, given that they would be flying in that national airspace and the medicals, from various countries, were accepted by the CAA. Now under EASA, whose plan is to draw us closer to European integration, this has changed. Now if you wish to have a British licence you must have a British medical. The upshot of this change means that anyone who got a licence away from their home country is now left in a dilemma; do I travel to the UK every year to renew my medical, or do I get a new licence in my home country; both options are clearly going to increase costs highly. Incidentally, all the medicals were compliant with JAA requirements, so clearly this is not a safety issue, it is a financial one. The CAA wish the money to come to the UK via the medical staff and not to other countries. This appears to me to be a short termist issue which will hurt helicopter aviation in the long run and it worries me. There are other changes that a PPL helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

The ediTor’S leTTer may want to watch out for, specifically that if a PPL holder allows his licence to lapse by more than 3 months he will need to do retraining at an ATo (Aviation Training organisation) before he can apply for a PC (proficiency check, the former LPC). If it is less than three months he will have to get a certificate from the ATo, and if it is over 3 years he will need to do the complete type rating again - ie five hours. While in some cases, notably low time PPLs, this may be sensible, it seems the current legislation has no flexibility to deal with pilot who, owing to have a number of types on their licence, do not revalidate the types they are not currently using until they need them. If this turns out to be more than three years it may not be cost effective for them to renew the type at all. What EASA changes do not appear to have looked at, though, is useful things like national regulatory variations: if the experimental category of helicopter is legal in Italy and Greece, why is it not legal in the UK? Below is a transcript of a letter I received from the CAA in November. In october, I renewed my examiner rating and thus had to change my licence to EASA at once. I did this at a cost of £477. However, my new licence did not arrive. I emailed the CAA to ask about it, they said it had been sent three weeks before. I then asked them, as it had not arrived, to send it to me again. This is the reply: Dear Mrs Hunter-Jones, Thank you for your email. In order for us to re-issue a duplicate EASA licence and EASA examiner certificate, we require the fee of £52.00 as per our scheme of charges, which includes the £6 FedEx fee. Please see the payment form SRG1187 attached and submit to our Licensing Department. ..

Well done the CAA, an excellent way of fund raising in these hard times: Charge for the licence, don’t send it and then insist that the owner pays a second time for transport of the licence. over the next week we had a variety of correspondence which ended with the CAA agreeing to resend the licence by post, although with dark threats that should it get lost again I would be expected to pay for a duplicate licence. However, there are really two points here that I think have got lost. one is that the charges most commercial pilots have to bear are too high. Pilots are not particularly highly paid and they do spend a significant proportion of their income on training and re-training costs. Adding to the burden with huge regulatory costs does not help. The other is that we are now in a digital age. Why can the new licence not be sent by email, reducing both the cost and the liklihood of the licence getting lost. I might say when I suggested this to the CAA employee he behaved like a train drivers’ trade union representative when faced with the possibility of driverless trains. Happy Christmas!


AeriAl Forum

Nils Mordt and Ben Spencer of the Saracenes are supporter of the London Air Ambulance scheme

Doctors and Pilots against Knife Crime London Air Ambulance and The Liverpool Project work together to help the victims of violent attacks


ondon’s Air Ambulance, the Charity which runs London’s helicopter emergency medical service, is pleased to announce its collaboration with The Liverpool Project, a project that has been set up to teach young offenders the basic medical skills necessary to manage victims of violent attacks. Young offenders, who are often present at the scene of violent incidents are trained to provide immediate haemorrhage control in the vital minutes after injury until the arrival of the emergency services. Training shows young people how to how to recognise the symptoms of blood loss, how to manage a penetrat6

ing wound, how to carry out the recovery position, how to perform CPR, how to calm the victim and how to respond when medical teams arrive. The Liverpool Project is led by recently qualified doctors and medical students. Medical students are selected for their ability to engage and use appropriate communication skills with Young offenders. In doing so The Liverpool Project team are able to highlight the consequences of penetrating trauma and therefore have a direct impact upon young people’s attitudes towards high risk behaviours thus helping to prevent further violence. Recent successes have encouraged the expectation that helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

the teaching provided by the young doctors working for the Project will directly result in a reduction in morbidity and mortality from penetrating injuries in the UK. Although the project started in Merseyside, it has been cascaded to several other cities in the UK. Dr Nick Rhead from Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool and one of the founders of the project said, “The need for this sort of public health intervention is there in most of the cities in the UK. Young people in general, and particularly those who are known to the criminal justice system are witnessing more and more penetrating trauma. We therefore train these young people to deliver immediate care as they are all too often present at the scene of a violent attack – essentially providing a reservoir of potential health care providers. They are therefore able to act positively to help save a friend’s life in the moments that matter providing a healthier victim for services such as London’s Air Ambulance. “That’s why collaboration between London’s Air Ambulance and The Liverpool Project is particularly beneficial. The Liverpool Project will benefit greatly from the skill and experience that London’s Air Ambulance provides and this will ultimately improve training provided to the young people - reducing morbidhelicopter liFe, Winter 2012

ity and mortality from penetrating trauma, the third biggest cause of death amongst this age group.” London’s Air Ambulance attends stabbings and shootings on a daily basis and this category of callout is the most common after road traffic collisions in the Capital. , London’s Air Ambulance doctors and paramedics perform life saving procedures at the scene of the incident when minutes are vital for survival, however any emergency response times can never be as quick as that of a bystander. While bystanders’ are generally not medically trained, there are important simple interventions that can be done that, with the right training, may help to improve the chances of survival. Commenting on the collaboration, London’s Air Ambulance Research and Development Lead, Professor David Lockey, said: “Unfortunately knife and gun crime is high amongst the young population of London and our doctors and paramedics witness the negative effects of this daily. We are delighted to collaborate with this innovative project run by committed and dynamic young medics and believe it has the potential to impact on this growing and destructive problem in London and elsewhere. London’s Air Ambulance will provide support to the project as it develops and expands. “ 7

helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

Enstrom new Website

enstrom, sikorsky and the london air ambulanCe

Denel Aviation, South Africa’s largest defence equipment manufacturer, and UIC oboronprom, the parent company of Russian Helicopters, announce that they have signed a Teaming agreement to create a servicing hub for Russian-made military and commercial helicopters in SubSaharan Africa. Mike Kgobe, the Chief Executive of Denel Aviation, said that the agreement will significantly expand the company’s business in Africa and strengthen its position as the premier provider of MRo services in the Sub-Saharan region. “our objective is to become the maintenance hub for most of the modern commercial and military aircraft operating in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Mr. Kgobe. “The agreement represents the culmination of a long-standing partnership between the two companies.”

HEMS Hairy Fund Raising

A small British company claims to have made fuel The London ‘Hair’Ambulence have been raising money from air, and now hopes to use a similar processes to using their ‘Movember’ page which encourages hair growth. produce aviation fuel, but there are still some reasons More than £600 so far. they probably won't be creating vast quantities of fuel from air anytime soon. Since August, the systems and processes developed by Air Fuel Synthesis in Stockton-on-Tees has produced “five litres of petrol” from carbon dioxide and water vapor. The company reportedly says it hopes that within two years it will be able to build a commercial-scale plant that will turn out one ton of petrol per day from the conversion. Researchers have long been aware of the science behind the processes -- and the inefficiencies and costs that likely explain why no one other than Air Fuel Synthesis is attempting it now.

Enstrom Helicopter underwent a website redesign in the early part of summer this year. Enstrom teamed up with Burnham Richards, a brand elevation company out of Green Bay, Wisconsin, to complete the upgrade. The goal of the redesign of the website is to make the page easier to navigate, more interactive, and easier to find information for visitors. The recent redesign included adding Responsive Web Design as a feature for the company’s website. Responsive Web Design is a function that allows a website to respond to the screen size on different devices, such as computers, mobile devices, and iPads. Having this feature allows Enstrom’s website to be available virtually anytime and anywhere to visitors. Burnham Richards also revamped Enstrom’s Facebook page, giving it a more attractive look and adding to the content the page delivers.

Chinese owned Sikorsky S76D

Courtesy of

African Aviation Expands

Air to Fuel - for a price



The president of Jetlev Southwest, Dean o'Malley, flew (tethered to a floating powerplant and not without stops) over 26.2 miles of open ocean from Newport Beach, Ca, USA to Catalina on Saturday, Sept. 29, to promote the company's jetpack product.The promotional stunt aimed to set a record for longest jetpack flight. Jetlev ( manufactures a jetpack that uses water pressure for thrust. The water is pumped from a floating power unit through a hose to two downwardfacing nozzles attached to a backpack worn by the pilot. The system handled the trip in about four hours but its 200-hp four-stroke marine engine emptied the craft's 22-gallon fuel tank twice along the way.

Helicopter aviation is a high-growth market in Africa, and Russian Helicopters is well positioned to be a market leader on the continent for years to come,” said Russian Helicopters CEo Dmitry Petrov. “We see great potential for our helicopters in countries across Africa, and are delighted to be working with Denel Aviation to provide a complete customer care programme for our clients on the continent,” Mr the potential for a factory built Petrov said. RR300 powered Model 47 is very exciting for both us and our cusRolls Royce for Scott’s Bell 47 tomers.” Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, has signed a 50 year record broken Memorandum of Understanding with Skydiver Felix Baumgartner stepped Scott’s – Bell 47 Inc. (SB47) to from his space capsule on Sunday examine the application of its 14th october at 128,000 feet. He RR300 engine to the Model 47 mul- broke two records that had stood for tipurpose light helicopter. more than 50 years. The Bell 47 helicopter is world“When standing up there,” he told renowned, with over 1,000 in opera- reporters, “the only thing you want is tion. you want to come back alive because The RR300 engine embodies new you don't want to die in front of your technology and advanced design parents, your girlfriend." methodology. The engine draws on His was the highest-ever parachute the proven record of other Rollsjump and the highest manned Royce turbine engines to deliver a balloon flight. Baumgartner is reportpowerful and dependable engine at a ed to have reached Mach 1.24 competitive price. The RR300 was during freefall, which made it the FAA type certified in 2007 and since fastest freefall. At four minutes that time over 500 engines have and 18 seconds it was not the longestbeen delivered and it has accumulat- duration freefall. That record ed over 12,000 operational hours. still belongs to Col. Joe Kittinger, Key attributes of the RR300 include: who waited until 4:30 to pull the lower acquisition and operating chute on his 1960 jump. costs; low-weight, compact design; Baumgartner's successful jump took improved specific fuel consumption; place exactly 65 years, to the day, an embedded engine monitoring sys- after Chuck Yeager first broke the tem; and the ability to burn a variety speed of sound in the rocket-powered of commonly available jet fuels. X1. Like Yeager's flight, Scott Churchill, President & owner Baumgartner's jump had its potenof SB47 said, “We are very pleased tially dangerous moments. to be working with Rolls-Royce on Felix is also a helicopter pilot and has the RR300 engine. The capability of a CPL. Concluding his record he said, the current Bell 47 M250 powered he wants a nice job flying rescue heliSTC helicopter speaks for itself and copters.

georgina hunter-Jones

JetPack Record






helicopter liFe, Winter 2012



To The


59 Great ormond Street, London WC1N-3Hz, England. Telephone: 020-7430-2384, Email: Please include your name, and email or phone.

Weight & Balance App Dear Editor, My name is Claus Richter, I am a commercial helicopter pilot. Recently, I recently developed a new kind of iPad and iPhone app for weight and balance and performance: (see New Technology) At this time these apps are only available for Robinson R44 / R22 helicopters. I know that many pilots don't like to do cumbersome weight and balance and performance calculations (including myself) so I thought it is time to develop a computer program for this. This is not the ‘usual’ weight and balance matrix, the apps can do far more! - In Ground Effect Hover Ceiling - out of Ground Effect Hover Ceiling - Max Continuous Power - Never Exceed Speed and much more. Best Regards Claus Richter

SOS Italian Helicopter Rescue Operations

Dear Georgina Australia is now 6th in the world for the number of helicopters – not bad for a nation of only 22.5 million. (Same population as Shanghai, China). The long term growth rate of over 10% is probably the highest in the world and reflects our sound economy – good news in the current international financial climate. Full coverage of opportunities to participate at AHIA events during trade days at Avalon 2013. Conference speakers and proposed papers wanted urgently. (No costs involved). Kindest regards, Rob Rich Company Secretary Australian Helicopter Industry Association Limited Email:

Courtesy of the

estate of the late

hilaire dubourCq

Thank you for your attention. Ciao Dino Marcellino. 10


Dear Georgina, I have finally realized a my dream, a very long work: I have published a book about the heli-rescue. It is titled " SoS Italian Helicopter Rescue operations from Mediterranean Sea to Mont Blanc". I wrote it in English, and it is in high quality 170gram glossy paper: (see advert inside front cover for more details.) All images and words are by myself. If you or someone working there, or your friends, wish to buy it, please please look at the inside front cover advert with order details. (If it is possible unify orders of two or three book with a single payment and single delivery address it is possible to save a lot of money in international forwarding charges). The book is ready to be sent from 11-December.

Australia comes 6th

helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

new TeChnoloGy




on the performance charts, you put in outside air temperature, local altimeter setting and elevation and the computer works out your pressure and density altitudes placing them on the screen in relation to your actual height. In certain places this could well be a lifesaver. on the flight leg, you can change winds and strength and watch the effect it has on your track, you have the already calculated pressure and density altitudes and this information is presented on a table to the side of the main screen. There is also a ‘Helicopter’ section on which you can see helicopter data, airspeeds and limits and definitions, and in the Weight and Balance section you have a side screen for

conversions, which is extremely useful; how many times have I ground my teeth moving from the Robinson to the JetRanger trying to remember how many pounds equates to 25 US gallons or something similar. I loved it. It made calculations much easier, it brought my students’s attention to the difference between PA and DA and as well as being useful it was great fun to use. Plus, as the app costs only £6.99, you can download it, give it a try and move on if you don’t like it. Brilliant.

" Gyronimo Performance Pad from Claus Richter


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helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

105HU Daring Eagles

The Daring Eagles were created in November 1959

words and pictures by

Simon Watson and Phil Camp


orakhpur Airbase in Uttar Pradesh is home to the Indian Air Force’s second oldest and currently largest Helicopter Unit. the 105 HU. The 105 HU known as ‘The Daring Eagles’ have a long and distinguished career over the skies of India having been created in Jorhat on 23rd November 1959. In the early years The Daring Eagles operated with the Bell 47G and S55, later receiving two Chetaks in 1962 before converting to the Mil-4 on 30th September 1963. The first eighteen years of their existence they operated around the demanding environs of Eastern Air Command. They saw action in the Indo-China conflict of 14

1962 where a three aircraft detachment at Lumpo performed reconnaissance, CASEVAC and re-supply missions in support of the Indian Army’s 4th Division. Their impressive performance included the evacuation of 135 casualties from the front and the supply of 14.6 tonnes of stores. The unit saw further combat during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. Here, in the Eastern Sector at Sylhet, together with 110 HU and 111 HU they airlifted a force of Indian Army troops across the Meghna River at night, under enemy fire. This was followed by an advance on Daudkandi and then onto the outskirts of Dacca. helicopter liFe Winter 2012

The combined helicopter force completed 409 sorties in 36 hours, lifting a total of 6023 men and 5,500 kgs of supplies during the Sylhet Airlift. Throughout the conflict, 105 HU flew an impressive 94,972 kgs of supplies. The Daring Eagles converted to the Mil-8 on 1st September 1981 and moved to their current home of Gorakhpur in August 1987. They have also taken part in various rescue missions over the decades as part of the remit to assist the civilian powers with disaster relief, predominantly with regard to floods and earthquakes. Their first major mission was to West Bengal in 1976 to assist in flood relief and since then they have been called into action nearly 20 times, with virtually nonstop deployments since the year 2000. In october 1987, they were deployed to the Jaffna Peninsula in Sri Lanka to assist the Indian Army with peace keeping duties during ‘operation Pawan’. In March 2008, they were awarded the ‘Presidential Standard’ for services to India and in September 2010 they converted to the Mil-17. Today, the unit continues in its civil relief missions, as well as standard re-supply, Army support and VIP missions. In June 2011, the unit took over the mission of helicopter liFe Winter 2012

supporting the Indian Military and Police in their operation against Naxal guerrillas in India’s ‘Red Corridor’. The ‘Red Corridor’ consists of several Indian States that extend from the borders of Nepal and China, south the border of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The states concerned are amongst the most under developed and poorest in India and include, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Naxalite is a generic term used to describe the various militant communist groups operating in the corridor. The insurrection by the Naxalites is the result of under development in the most rural of areas and exploitation of the locals by corrupt officials and major Indian Corporations. The activities of the various groups increased between 2000 and 2010 leading to the Government of India declaring them to be terrorist organisations predominantly funded by foreign powers. The Government of India has attempted to resolve the situation with the introduction of an integrated action plan that broadly seeks to develop economic regeneration projects in the effected areas as well as increasing police funding for the better containment of the communist influence. The increased

Original historic workplace

funding has led to four IAF helicopters being deployed into the area, together with three Border Security Force HAL Dhruv’s based at Ranchi in Jharkhand. This helicopter force has aided the various police and paramilitary groups such as the Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, Indo Tibetan Border Police and various local state forces. The helicopter force has been vital to the various ground units with their ability to deploy reenforcements, re-supply and casualty evacuation. The Indian Air Force commitment, known as ‘operation Triveni’, was previously performed by 152 Helicopter Unit, home based at Sarsawa in Western Air Command. However the baton was passed over to 105 HU in 2011 and the size of the unit rose as a consequence, from the customary 8 to 14 helicopters. Currently they have four aircraft detached to Raipur to support operations in Chattisgarh and surrounding areas. The Daring Eagles bear the brunt of the work due to ongoing serviceability problems with the HAL Dhruv and on average each crew will spend approximately twenty-one days on rotation. Indian rules of engagement do not allow for use of the UB32 rocket pods against their own civilian population. However, they do take incoming fire whilst flying and are allowed to return fire in self defence. The Mil-17s are particularly vulnerable in the hover, especially whilst tak-

ing off and landing. Rocket propelled grenades and mortars have been used against them and to counter this they are equipped with AK47s and 7.62 mm machine guns located in the port side cabin door and first window of the starboard side. Furthermore, the attachment of bolt on armour around the cockpit gives added protection to the crew against small arms fire, which normally consists of the pilot, co-pilot, engineer and air gunner. In the first 6 months of operations in the ‘Red Corridor’ has seen the unit come under fire several times and several of the crew men have been put forward for commendations. The Indian Government action plan appears to be having positive results as the number of effected states has started to decline. By the end of 2011 they were reporting that the number of Naxalite related deaths and casualties nationwide had decreased by nearly 50% in the preceding year. The IAF has been a big user of Mil Helicopters from the Kazan plant having ordered 130 Mil-8’s, 93 Mil-17’s, 50 Mil17-IV’s, 80 Mil-17V5’s and with the prospect of more. The older Mil-8’s are gradually being replaced as newer Mil-17’s enter the inventory. Mil 17s are particuarly vulnerable in the hover

Each crew will spend 21 days on rotation

helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

Around the World Kamov Ka-226T Emercom


his light multirole Ka-226 is certificated by the Interstate Aviation Committee to AP-29 standards and holds ST 225-Ka-226 certificates. The Ka226’s coaxial rotor system and original fuselage layout give it important benefits of modularity thanks to its advanced flight characteristics, simplicity and ease of flying. Distinctive features include its modular fuselage structure, which can be used for various purposes in one helicopter. The latest version – the Ka-226T – is equipped with

powerful and economic Arrius 2G1 engines (certificated by the EASA in 2011) and the latest Russian VR-226N gearing system. It is the first time that the Arrius 2G1 has been used in a coaxial helicopter. This gives the Ka-226T unprecedented levels of safety – even with just one working engine it has enough power to manoeuvre (up to 750hp). The combination of advanced engines, an accident-proof fuel system and energy absorbing seats make this one of the greenest and safest helicopters in its class.

King of Spain flies nH90


is Majesty Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, flew from the Cuatro Vientos Air Base in Madrid for a flight in the Spanish variant of the cutting-edge NH90 helicopter, fitted out and tested at the company's facility in Albacete. The first deliveries of this aircraft to the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET) are scheduled for next year. His Majesty King Juan Carlos I is an experienced pilot with 3,740 helicopter flight hours. Most of these flights have been in aircraft built by Eurocopter, particularly the Super Puma but also the EC135, EC145, EC225 and even the Tiger attack helicopter. 18

helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

Bond in Lerwick Harbour


rews of Lerwick Harbour pilot boats and Bond offshore Helicopters’ aircraft working together to ensure the high level of skill required in Bond’s search-&-rescue operations in Scottish waters. Exercises take place once a week, this the 100th. Bond’s offshore search and rescue operation comprises two dedicated, specially-modified Super Puma AS332L Mark II helicopters made available under a long-term contract with BP to provide 24 hour airborne search-&-rescue and medical evacuation for its workforce in a unique UK North Sea system known as Jigsaw. one of the high-specification, twinengine aircraft is based at Sumburgh Airport. Shetland, the other on the Miller platform, in the central North Sea.

Russian Helicopters’ Hingeless Torsion Bar in the Ansat


ussian Helicopters, is to join the international “Carbon Valley” project, which aims to develop next-generation composite materials for the aviation sector. These innovations – particularly carbon-fibre reinforced polymers and hybrid airframe parts – will substantially reduce helicopter production and operating costs and improve aircraft reliability and lifetime. Helicopter manufacturers use glass or carbon fibre composites in the main rotor blades and fuselage. Composite materials have a much longer fatigue life than metals, which substantially reduces servicing needs and the total lifecycle costs of the aircraft. Composite materials generally comprise at least 20 per cent of new helicopters produced today. Most helicopters produced by Russian Helicopters are equipped with composite main rotor blades. Fully 50 per cent of the Ka-62’s airframe, for example, is made of composite materials, making the aircraft much lighter and more economic to operate. helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

Composite materials are also used in the light multirole Ansat, shown above, which has a hingeless, maintenance-free rotor/shaft assembly. The hinges have been replaced by a rigid rotor with a flexible element – a composite torsion bar. The four-blade assembly consists of two crossed bars, with two blades affixed to each. With hingeless rotor system, the helicopter is more controllable and manoeuvrable, is lighter, and costs less to manufacture and substantially less to operate. The hingeless torsion bar assembly is a Russian innovation and has great prospects for further development. 19

Presidential Helicopter Agreement


helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

robinson heliCoPters


hotograPhs Courtesy of

Northrop Grumman and AgustaWestland are partnering to offer total solutions without compromise: proven, advanced rotorcraft, built in the United States, and fully integrated with the most advanced mission suites, integrated onboard sensors and communications systems available in the world today – systems that will meet the future needs of both programs. The AW101 system is a mature, reliable, highly capable and combat-proven multi-mission aircraft that affordably meets the needs of the nation’s combat search and rescue (CSAR) forces and will serve the Nations’ Presidents far into the future. “This is a strong partnership between two companies that combines each company’s strengths,” said Paul Meyer, vice president and general manager of Advanced Programs and Technology at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems sector. “While Northrop Grumman has broad expertise in systems integration of large aircraft programs, AgustaWestland has world-leading expertise in global rotorcraft and vertical-lift. We believe that this industry partnership will bring together the best experience, expertise and resources, ensuring that the customer receives the best solution.” “We are delighted to have Northrop Grumman as a partner, with their impressive history of supporting the U.S. Department of Defense," said Bruno Spagnolini, CEo of AgustaWestland. "We strongly believe that the AW101 is the right aircraft for both missions and that this team can succeed."

PhotograPh agustaWestland


orthrop Grumman Corporation and AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, announced in September that they have signed a comprehensive teaming agreement to respond to anticipated requests for both the new Air Force Combat Rescue Helicopter and the Navy’s recently announced program to develop a new ‘Marine one’ Presidential Helicopter. A US built helicopter based on the AW101 platform will be offered by Northrop Grumman to meet these requirements. The teaming of Northrop Grumman’s proven management and systems integration expertise with AgustaWestland’s world-renowned rotorcraft manufacturing and advanced helicopter design/development, offers both programs an optimum mix of capability to successfully bring the best possible new combat rescue helicopter to the Air Force and the best possible new Presidential helicopter to the Navy-Marine Corps team. Northrop Grumman’s successes in managing the development of complex air systems are unequaled— from fully autonomous strategic unmanned systems like the Fire Scout, to the E-2D Hawkeye, the B-2 bomber and the E-8 Joint Stars. Couple that with the continuous investment in rotorcraft technology development AgustaWestland has made to field the world’s most advanced, rugged and reliable helicopters, and both the Air Force and the Navy will receive and field the best possible affordable systems.

Robinson R66 Police Helicopter

he Robinson Helicopter Company has received FAA certification for the R66 Turbine Police Helicopter. Robinson’s R66 Police model is specially configured for law enforcement and meets the latest FAA crashworthiness regulations. The four-place R66 Police helicopter combines R66 power, altitude performance, and capacity with the latest in surveillance systems. Turn-key ready, the R66 police comes standard with FAA-approved technology including the FLIR Ultra 8000 thermal imaging camera, a 10-inch fold down color monitor, the new Spectrolab SX-7 searchlight with 30-million candlepower, and a dual audio controller. Robinson believes the modest price tag of US $1,104,000 and simplified maintenance schedule will appeal to both large and small police agencies. The first production R66 Police Helicopter will be delivered in october of this year to Southern California’s Fontana Police Department. Fontana is the lead agency in a four city alliance and has used Robinson R44 Police helicopters since 2005. Performance specifications of the R66 Police Helicopter include a cruise speed of up to 120 kts (138 mph), payload of 800 lbs with full fuel, and a hover ceiling oGE at max gross weight of 10,000 ft. Robinson will continue expanding the R66 line with an ENG (Electric News Gathering) version and a float version both targeted for release in 2013. helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

£46 million for AgustaWestland UK civil rotorcraft projects

helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

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bond heliCoPters


PhotograPh georgina hunter-Jones


A world class company supplying 30 plus helicopters a year for home use and export. An established research facility where work could be done on present and future technologies such as fly-bywire and tilrotor technologies. The integration of these technologies into development work done in the factories where key technologies are understood thanks to an experienced and training engineering workforce. AgustaWestland joins groups all over the UK that have benefitted from £1 billion given by the RGF. Bidders also put £6 billion of their own money into these enterprises and the government stresses that the RGF not only gives the tax payer £6 of private sector investment for every £1 of taxpayers money, it increases employment and is a key to sustaining jobs in the long term. The RGF fuding will support development work in the AW609 Tiltrotor, which is expected to get certification in 2016 and enter the civilian market shortly after.



avid Laws, MP for Yeovil, thanked Graham Cole the UK Chairman of AgustaWestland for his tireless work over more than three years culminating in “almost £100,000,000,000 to create and safeguard jobs for the local community. It will be,” he said, “a game changer for the local community in the South West” (of the United Kingdom). AgustaWestland has been selected to go forward to the contracting phase for their bid of up to £46 million from the Government’s Growth Fund. This involves a matching investment from AgustaWestland which will mean £100 million invested to establish a Civil Helicopter Hub based in the South-West. Four and a half years ago it became clear that AgustaWestland would need a civil strategy to replace the declining needs of the military helicopter market. Graham Cole was certain that civil and parapublic helicopter requirements were set to expand. He proposed to the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) that three things were vitally necessary to the economy:

Bond Air Services operation to support the Greater Gabbard offshore windfarm

ond Air Services started operations to support Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm in october this year. The company’s support of the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm is the first helicopter operation of its kind in the UK. With a generation capacity of 500MW and a total of 140 turbines, the Greater Gabbard wind farm, located 25km off the Suffolk coast, is currently the world’s largest offshore wind farm. Under the contract, Bond will provide helicopter services in delivering maintenance technicians by hoist to the turbines of the wind farm. Bond Air Services anticipates that wind farm operators and turbine manufacturers that choose to include helicopters as part of their operations & Maintenance strategy helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

will ultimately benefit from increased productivity. Stephen Rose, offshore Wind Generation Manager at Greater Gabbard offshore Wind Limited, said: “Safety is our number one priority at all times, and by using helicopters it means that we can get greater access to the turbines in conditions which may have been otherwise impossible by boat.” David Bond, Commercial Manager for Marine Services at Bond Air Services said: “We’re delighted to have started operations at Greater Gabbard. It marks an important milestone for the company which strengthens our reputation for innovation and reinforces our position as the UK’s market leader in the provision of helicopter services”. 23

Sikorsky in China - private sale of S76 and S92 marks a new milestone

Russian Helicopters at Dubai Helishow


helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

sikorsky heliCoPters Courtesy of


russian heliCoPters


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in April 2012, when a blaze engulfed more than 300 meters of the 67th floor at the Federation Tower in Moscow, more than 270 meters above ground level. More than 20 fire brigades were called out to respond to the incident – the highest altitude fire in Moscow’s history – but the fire was only contained after two Ka-32As belonging to the Russian Emergencies Ministry were called into action and ferried in water from the nearby Moscow River. More than 70% of fires worldwide occur in towns and cities, while only 30% are wildfires. Experts say that fires in high-rise buildings pose a real problem for today’s cities, and fire brigades, rescue workers and other emergency services all say that tackling them is a highly complex operation that requires specialised equipment – primarily helicopters – and training. The capabilities of the Ka-32A11BC and other specialised Russian-built helicopters – such as the modified medium Mi-8/17 and light multirole Ansat and Ka-226T – were highly recommended. Dubai Helishow 2012 ran from 6-8 November in Dubai, with more than 100 companies from around the world exhibiting. The show focused particularly on the potential uses of helicopters for security and rescue operations.



new Russian helicopter could put out a fire at the top of the 163-story Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world at 828 metres – when the complexities of high altitude make using traditional firefighting techniques impossible, a Russian Helicopters official told the High-Rise Aerial Firefighting & Rescue conference at Dubai Helishow 2012. The Ka-32A11BC is an all-weather coaxial rotor helicopter that can be equipped with special horizontal firefighting equipment. “Today this helicopter is a unique and highly effective tool for tackling fires in high-rise buildings and skyscrapers,” Russian Helicopters’ Dmitry zuikov said. “The Ka-32A11BC’s coaxial rotors give it a crucial edge in terms of stability and manoeuvrability in the turbulent air found in fire zones, making it a high-precision tool that can fight fires with maximum efficiency.” The Ka-32A11BC is highly configurable with more than forty different options available to buyers, This includes Bambi-Bucket and Simplex fire-fighting systems of various capacities, stowable lifting cabins for transportation and rescue operations, and other equipment such as water-canons for horizontal fire-fighting, which would be perfectly suited to tackling a blaze in any of Dubai’s skyscrapers, like the Burj Kalifa. The Ka-32A11BC proved its fire-fighting credentials

ikorsky and Ruili Jingcheng Group announced the signing of two contracts for the introduction of a S-92® helicopter and a S-76D™ helicopter. This is Sikorsky’s first S-92 helicopter sale to a private Chinese operator and the first ever Sikorsky S-76D helicopter sale into China. Both aircraft will be configured for airline use. “Today’s announcement signals a major milestone for Sikorsky’s business development in China,” said Ed Beyer, Vice President, Sikorsky Global Helicopters. “We are truly feeling the warmth of the fast-growing helicopter market here as more S-76 and S-92 helicopters keep flying into China. We are even more pleased that our newest customer here has chosen Sikorsky because of the popularity of our products in this market and the high reputation we have built over the past 30 years.” Ruili Jingcheng Group, a private conglomerate based in Ruili, Yunnan province in southwestern China, is expanding its business into the aviation sector by establishing three aviation subsidiaries, including a helicopter operating company. RJG will be the newest Chinese commercial customer for Sikorsky, and will be the first operator in China of the Sikorsky S-76D helicopter, the newest S-76® helicopter model. The S-76D was granted type certification by the FAA on oct. 12. Sikorsky has been highly successful in China for the past decade. Currently, there are 31 S-76 and four S-92

helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

helicopters of various configurations flying in China. on China’s intermediate market segment (7,000 to 15,000 lbs gross weight), the S-76 occupies more than 40 percent (the highest) of the segment. The S-92 helicopter continues to gain in popularity and is becoming the helicopter of choice among offshore oil companies. Designed for safety, reliability and efficiency, the S-76D helicopter’s standard equipment features are all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades; an advanced THALES integrated avionics system and autopilot; health and usage monitoring system, active vibration control; and powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S engines. Rotor Ice Protection System for all-weather capability will be available as an option. There have been more than 800 S-76 helicopters delivered to the global fleet since 1979, contributing daily to a growing 6 million-plus flight hours. S-92 helicopters perform search and rescue (SAR) missions as well as a variety of transportation missions for VIPs including Heads of State, offshore oil and gas crews, utility and airline passengers. The worldwide fleet of 151 S-92 helicopters has accumulated nearly 400,000 flight hours since deliveries began in 2004. The S-92 helicopter was certified to FAA/EASA harmonized Part 29 requirements, as amended through Amendment 47. The S-92 helicopter remains the only aircraft to have been certified to this rigorous airworthiness standard without exception or waiver. 25

Green Blade Pegasus Words and pictures by Arjan Dijksterhuis


Kleine Brogel Air Base is the home of the 10th Tactical Fighter Wing. This Air Base served as a Deployed operating Base (DoB) for both the Green Blade exercise and that of Pegasus. Pegasus 2012 relied on using the helicopter as part of their training. Combining both exercises into one not only offered the right training opportunities for both


he Belgian Air Component, ably supported by Luxembourg, hosted the joint and combined helicopter training and Special Forces 2012 exercise, Green Blade/Pegasus, at the Kleine Brogel Air Base, Belgium in october. The exercise was hosted by the EDA (European Defence Agency) Helicopter Training Programme. 26

helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

helicopter liFe, Winter 2012


helicopter crews and Special Forces, but also had the effect of reducing costs, both a good example of the pooling and ‘sharing’ concept of the European Defence Agency and saved a lot of tax-payers money during these difficult financial times. Pegasus Pegasus 2012 was organised by the Belgium Special Forces Group and is a biennial exercise with an international character. Special Forces from Belgium (21st Company 3rd Parachute Group from the Special Forces Group in Heverlee), Italy (IX Battaglione “Col Moschin” in Livorno) and Spain (Escuadrón de zapadores Paracaidistas in Murcia and Fuerza de Guerra Naval Especial in Cartagena) gathered at Kleine Brogel, Belgium. The commander of the Special operations, Lieutenant Colonel Tom Bilo; “A combined exercise like Green Blade and Pegasus gives a very good opportunity to the task groups from different countries to train and to cooperate with task groups from other countries. A lot can be learned by just coming together and sharing the experiences. With this combined exercise, a unique and challenging opportunity is offered to the special forces to train and to improve their tactics, techniques and procedures while also training with allied Task Groups and improving the interoperability using rotary and fixed wing assets. Last but not least, as an international exercise, Pegasus also fosters comradeship between the different nations and communities”. Green Blade The Green Blade exercise had three objectives: To enhance the interoperability at the tactical level in a realistic and challenging environment, to manage the

deployment of the helicopter units and to conduct operations in a multinational environment. About 550 personnel and fifteen helicopters arrived at Kleine Brogel on Monday 17 September. Host nation Belgium took part with five Agusta A.109BA “Hirundo” utility helicopters from 1 Wing which is based at Beauvechain. Transporthubschrauberregiment 30 (THR30) from the German Army (HEER) arrived with six UH-1D Hueys from their homebase Niederstetten, Germany. The Aviazione dell’Esercito Italiano (Italian Army) participated with two types of helicopters, a pair of Agusta A.129C Mangusta attack helicopters and two CH-47C Chinook transport helicopters. The A.129C Mangusta helicopters are operated by 5° Reggimento “Rigel”, based at Casarsa della Delizia (located North-East of Venice), while the Chinook helicopters came from Viterbo (North of Rome), Italy and are assigned to 1° Reggimento “Antares”. The exercise followed a ‘step by step’ approach using three different modules while increasing the complexity of the missions. In the first week the participants familiarised themselves with the exercise area, the equipment and procedures of the other foreign units as part of the Combat Enhancement Training/Force Integration Training (CET/FIT) phase. on Tuesday 18 September, familiarisation briefings and flights were made to make the Special Forces familiar with the different types of helicopters and the procedures for boarding and disembarking in a safe way. Pinpoint navigation flights were made over the provinces of Antwerp, Liége, Limburg and Namur to make the aircrew familiar with the landscape, local flight rules and exercise specific operating procedures. Non tactical training flights including night flying with Night Vision Goggles (NVG) and Nap of Earth

Boarding the Italian Chinook 28

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flights were made as well. Workshops were given on a variety of subjects like Medics, Forward Air Controller (FAC)/JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller), Communications, Sniping, Tactical Site Exploitation and demolitions. The Special Forces practiced free fall parachute jumps from a C-130H Hercules of the Belgian Air Component, shooting, balloon jumping and practiced Fast Roping and SPIE Rig (Special Purpose Insertion/Extraction Rig) extractions, both day and night. Fast-roping is a technique to deliver personnel from a helicopter onto places that a helicopter can not land on or is too restricted for a safe low level hover. The forces quickly descend on by one using a thick rope. This technique was developed by the British and first used in combat during the Falklands war. The SPIE Rig was developed by the US Marines to insert or extract personnel rapidly while wearing a harness with a carabiner. The descenders hook up to a D-ring on the SPIE rope and secure themselves with a second safety line. The helicopter climbs vertically until the rope and personnel are clear from obstacles, and the helicopter will proceed in forward flight. The crosstraining with the Special Forces started from Sanicole, a small airfield near the Leopoldsburg Barracks, close to Kleine Brogel Air Base. During the next two weeks, the Field Training Exercise section took place. In the second part of the exercise, the units had to analyse, plan and execute a wide variety of Special operations Forces related missions such as insertion, extraction, hostage rescue, personnel recovery and on request also the more traditional helicopter missions such as airmobile operations, MedEvec, Recce and Surveillance flights. Direct actions, such as the capture of High Value Targets (HVT) and Hostage Release operations (HRo) were practiced, combined with platoon size raids, Tactical Air Land operations, Medevac/Casevac, Close Air Support and Close Combat Attack missions. F-16s from Kleine Brogel also participated in this part of the exercise) using a Forward Air Controller or a Joint Terminal Attack Controller. Personnel Recovery (CSAR, Combat Search and Rescue). This was demonstrated by an Italian A.129 Mangusta when the ‘downed’ crew was evacuated while sitting on the undercarriage of the main landing gear. The nature of the missions in the third part of the exercise were similar to the previous one, but the helicopters were temporarily deployed to a Forward operating Base (FoB) in the south-east of Belgium. The FoB also operated as a Forward Arming and Refuelling Point (FARP) point during the this part of the exercise. Helicopter Life closely witnessed one of the operahelicopter liFe, Winter 2012

Entering the targeted house

Special forces going to the extraction zone

Extraction of rebel leader

Member of the Speical Forces

Arrival of Samaritan 60

Removing an injured soldier


tions in a simulated scenario. In this scenario a radical revolutionary group is active and is terrorizing the local population and is kidnapping people with an increasing number of civilian casualties each day. An International Security Force has been mandated to intervene. Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) indicated that the leader of this radical group is using a house in the woods as a hideout. The leader was identified as a High Value Target (HVT) and a Belgian Special operations Task Unit had been ordered to capture the leader alive. The planning and preparation started and is supported by a combined Rotary Wing Special operations Air Task unit. Four phases can be recognized during the mission; Clear and secure, insertion of the assault and diversion force, extraction of the assault force and extraction of the diversion and cordon force. The target is observed by a Special Reconnaissance team for two days to identify his pattern of life. Their observations showed that the target was present in the house and based on this info, the Special operations Commander decided to execute the pre-planned mission in order to capture the target alive. Just before dawn a platoon of the Special Forces Group were dropped by parachute in order to secure the perimeter of the target. Just minutes before the start of the mission, a F-16 equipped with a sniper pod, flew overhead the target to provide the Joint Terminal Attack Controller with the latest situational awareness needed to guide and control the helicopters during the mission. The information from the reconnaissance F-16, together with the information from the Special Reconnaissance team confirms that most of the insurgents, including the target, are in the house and that one armed vehicle is patrolling in the surrounding. After a correct read back of the coordinates the JTAC contacts the CoBRA formation, consisting two Italian A.129 attack helicopters, that “the High Value Target (HVT) is localized in a house in grid Fox Sierra six zero eight three six three four eight. We spotted an enemy vehicle with a heavy machine gun in grid Juliet Four. You are approved for the attack after a PID, how copy?” Cobra45 responds; “Juliet Four, clear to run in, Cobra45”. Seconds later the sound of rotor blades is swelling and an Italian A.129 comes behind the trees for its first run. “Cobra45, this is Dagger, confirm you are on the target”. “Confirmed, we are on the target, hold on” is followed by a pair of explosions. After the vehicle is destroyed, this is reported to the CoBRA flight and they are instructed by the JTAC to fly overhelicopter liFe, Winter 2012

The forces are trained the way they fight - collaborating and working in unity

head and to provide top cover. ‘BEAST55’ is contacted by the JTAC and approved to approach for the target area and is cleared to land to the north-west of the house. one minute later, the Italian Chinook pops up behind the trees to insert the diversion force by fast rope to attract and fix the insurgents on the west side of the house. In the mean time the HUSKY formation is prepared to fly in for the insertion of the Assault Force. one minute later, the Chinook leaves. Within twenty seconds, the first of two UH-Ds is hovering on the southeast side of the house, delivering the Assault Force by fast rope. Their task is to force their way into the house by breaching the door and also to the capture the target. one team member was injured during the assault and “Samaritan60” was contacted to evacuate the injured team member. A few minutes later, a pair of A109BA helicopters arrive on the scene. The first helicopter lands while the second one provides top cover with the machine gun installed. After the departure of the Medevac helicopter, the UH-1Ds returns to pick up the captured leader and the Assault Force. Both helicopters

depart as quickly as they arrived. In the mean time the Diversion Force is returning to the extraction zone with the swelling sound of the Chinook in the background. one minute later, the Italian Chinook is on the ground ready to extract all the remaining soldiers. After take off the quietness of the woods returns as though nothing had happened. After three weeks, 49 missions and 487 flying hours later, the participating helicopters and ground forces left Kleine Brogel Air Base for their home base. Andy Gray, in charge of the Helicopter Training Programme of the EDA said; “we have to train the personnel the way we fight. Collaboration is the only option and Green Blade is an excellent example of how far we get by working and training together”. Everybody made a tremendous effort and delivered on time. The exercise objectives were reached, exceeding initial expectations. operational experiences were exchanged and lessons learned were shared. The capabilities were enhanced through a better mutual understanding and the level of interoperability increased.

Fast roping from the Huey Agusta 109BA




Winter 2012

Georgina Hunter-Jones flies the Bell 407Gx Pictures Paul Cordwell


he Bell 407 was original conceived in 1993 as Bell’s ‘New Light Aircraft’ considered to be a replacement for the Bell 206 series. A Bell 206L3 was modified to provide the pre-prototype model and was first flown in 1994, and announced at the 1995 HeliExpo. The first prototype was flown in June 1995 and the first production model was built in November of that year. 32


It is a responsive and fun machine to fly


complete darkness. I flew the Bell 407GX with Aimé Girouard, Bell test pilot from Canada. We flew from HeliCharter in Manston, who have recently become the Bell UK distributor. Their dealership was announced at Farnborough this year. We started the flight with a walk round, commencing with a look at the rotor head. Unlike the two blade rotorhead of the 206 series the Bell 407 has four blades, which allows lower angles of attack in flight and thus lower disc loading. This increases the ability to get into the ‘quiet mode’ described later. There are also vibration reducers in the rotor bay to help the smooth progress of the machine. We move on to the engine bay. The engine is a RollsRoyce 250-C47B and is FADEC controlled. In the engine bay there is a combined engine oil and fuel assembly (CIFA) with LRB (little red button) that pops out in the event of a blockage. The outside of the 407 is very much the LongRanger but on this machine there are wide pocket ‘viewing windows’ which improved visibility enormously. These have been fitted to N-407GX, the demonstration model both in the cockpit and in the back so the visibility from one side to another is excellent and you can imagine that if this was being used on a tourist trip there would no longer be any ‘bad’ seats. We examine the tail rotor and see the new camera display, which we will later view from in the cockpit. The tail rotor has four blades and, thanks to early probhelicopter liFe, Winter 2012


The original 407 used the Bell 206L4 airframe but with a carbon fibre composite tail boom. The four-blade rotor and hub was originally built for the oH-58D and the blades are composite without life limits. Last year at HeliExpo 2011, Bell showed the new improved and modified versions of the Bell 407GX, with the Garmin 1000 for civilian use and the Bell 407AH in military mode. The major difference between the Bell 407GX and the original Bell 407 is the instrumentation. The original 407, had an analogue panel while the Bell 407GX has the Garmin 1000HTM with digital screens. The Garmin 1000 has similar functions to the Garmin 500 so it is easy to move between Garmins. The new Bell 407GX has also, reportedly, been said to be smoother than the previous Bell 407, however, this may also be the result of better blade tracking in the demonstrator model. All the 407 models do have vibration reducers in the head. other differences in the new machine are that there is a camera on the tail and that all the lights have been changed to the more environmentally friendly LED (light emitting diode) form and these are very clear and ‘clean’ looking. The tail mounted camera pictures can be viewed on the left hand screen of the Garmin 1000. This, rather like modern cars, gives a clear view of the tail rotor and the back of the boom, useful for reversing and for assessing any damage that might have been caused to the tail in flight. It is capable of ‘seeing’ up to 25 feet in

The FADEC will assign ‘pathway boxes’ for flight

lems with the design, sits some distance away from the tail boom. (In the early models extravagant movements by the pilot allowed the tail rotor to touch the boom and so the shaft length was extended). However, Aimé reassures me, they have had no further problems with the tail rotor since its position was moved and there is a pedal lock in the cockpit to prevent extravagant movements by the pilot. This is standard on all Bell 407 models. once in the cockpit there are two display screens, the PFD (primary flight display) on the right and the MFD (multi flight display) on the left. If one screen fails all the information can be brought up on the remaining working display – called ‘composite mode’. You can, however, only see the camera on the left hand screen, perhaps because it is one of the less important displays. Garmin and Bell have worked together on the screens to reduce pilot workload (something that is very much the catchphrase of the moment) and improve situational awareness. on the PFD main screen display you have direction, altitude, VSI and NR and NG (known as the PSI - Power situation indicator). You also have an artifical horizon and an engine out warning. You can insert onto the screen a map display, a flight planning display and a ‘pathways in the sky’ display. Garmin say it is a very clear, easy to scan layout and certainly I found I quickly got used to using it. on the left hand screen you have a range ring display showing distance away from the helicopter, a flight planning display, a map display (you can do a split screen here with the tail camera pictures) and a power assurance check display, which has warnings in amber and red. It is also possible to have weather radar on this screen. We did a series of machine and computer pre-flight checks and these were shown on the screen. We then moved on to start-up. This is very easy as it is done by the FADEC and monitored by the pilot using the helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

The camera allows the pilot to check tail rotor clearance using the screen

There are vibration dampers in the head


screens. Warnings are coloured amber and dangers in red, as is standard and intuitive. I have flown the 407 once before, in Texas in 2006, and I regularly fly the Bell 206, so I am used to Bell models and I like them. Even given that level of bias, I think most people would find this a nice machine to fly. It is, dare I say it, quite easy. It flies with a nice balance and it takes off and lands smoothly, yes with left skid low, but that is expected anyway, and hovering even with a tail wind is comfortable and there is a nice lot of power available: we were flying with only two of us and half tanks, but Aimé averred it feels just as good with five people in the back. To give an example of what I mean. We flew from HeliCharter, over Manston airfield and did the photo shoot. We then went off to see what the machine could do. Having done some turns left and right Aime´suggested I bring the 407 into a hover out of ground effect at 2000 feet. I did and saw we were only using 60 torque. I then did then pedal turn left and right without any descent and with no increase in torque or any feeling of ‘weakness’ in the machine. It was a nice feeling. Back into normal flight and we positioned for an autorotation to a hover recovery. The Bell 407 does descend quite fast, we went down at 2500 fpm, and there was a much greater sensation of ground rush With the wide ‘safari vision’ windows there are no ‘bad’ seats in the back

Garmin 1000 showing tail camera view on left screen Rolls Royce 250-C47B gas turbine engine

than there is in the more benign Bell 206. The Bell 407 is a heavier machine with greater drag and four blades. We flared at about 60 – 80 feet above the ground and the machine slowed and stopped beautifully, with a nice, controlled recovery back into the hover. We did not go to the ground as we were not ‘at home’ and insurance costs and other factors often make that necessary in the current climate. We then moved on to testing the hydraulics. Closing off the hydraulic switch I was ready to immediately reduce the speed but Aimé said, “wait, if you use small inputs it makes the machine perfectly easy to control even at 120 knots.” He was, of course, absolutely correct and this is something I have subsequently practiced with my students in the R44 and Bell 206. Small movements worked beautifully fine, even at 120 knots in the B407, and as long as I did not move the stick violently there was none of the familiar hydraulic-off ‘stonewall’ resistance. We then slowed the machine continuing to use very small inputs and saw that it was controllable even right on to the ground using this method. Aime says the greatest problem that pilots have with hydraulic failure is over-controlling the machine by making large movements and having to compensate for them. In the case of a genuine hydraulic failure, the procedure is the same as the Bell 206: After confirming that the switch is in the oN position, you have to pulled the C/B in order to check if the pressure will restore. If so, it means that the failure is due to the electric solenoid. If pressure does not restore, then push the C/B back in, turn the hydraulic switch oFF and carry out a precautionary landing as per Flight Manual recommendations. FADEC failure is something that separates the former piston pilots from those who learnt only on more advanced machines. For someone used to playing with the throttle (for example a Hughes 269 pilot) the lack of full automation is not the disaster it is for turbine-only pilots. once the FADEC has failed you are back to basic flying and need to move the throttle to keep the RPM in the green arc. The difference helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

Garmin 1000 in the cockpit can be easily learnt by former Garmin 500 pilots

here is that while the green arc on the H269 is fairly large, forgiving overly enthusiastic movements, the green arc here is very small and the pilot does need to be quite sensitive with his throttle movements when lowering or raising the collective. However it was clearly workable and with practice, which you would do if you owned it, it would become second nature. Concentrating back on the Garmin and we decided to use the pathway boxes to fly back to the airfield. These are little interlinked box which, once you have assigned a height and direction on the FADEC, pop up on the Garmin screen. By holding the helicopter 37

sights inside the boxes it is possible to use them as an instrument method of flying. It is a very good test of the accuracy of your flying and you can monitor the other traffic on the screen. However, it is not a bad idea to have someone also on the lookout if things get very busy. For those who get bored of putting in frequencies by hand there is an audio box so you can talk to the B407 and it will change frequency for you. The one caveat here is that it needs to be able to understand your accent and there were some difficulties with regional accents. An English teacher’s joy, perhaps! one other clever little conceit in the machine is a ‘radio last transmission recorder’. This means that if you did not quite catch the last ATC message you can play it back to yourself by saying ‘say again’ while applying the intercom button, thus you can hear the message a second time through the helicopter’s own system without holding up a busy ATC. The Bell 407 uses 50 galls of avtur per hour, rather more than the Bell 206. The Direct Maintenance Cost for the 206L4 are U$283.52/hour and the 407 are U$347.90/hour Cost of a basic machine is 2.1 million dollars and the one I test flew with its extras would be apparently be around $3.2 million dollars. It is also possible to convert analogue instruments to the Garmin 1000HTM.

Aimé Girouard explains the Bell 407GX Quiet Mode

B407Gx with viewing doors

The installation of the Quiet Cruise Mode kit permits flight operations at 92% Nr when above 50 KIAS and 200 feet AGL. Flyover noise level is reduced by 3.8 dBA SEL when in Quiet Cruise Mode. The kit consists of an electrical selector switch, which can be found on the collective, applicable CAS messages and additional marking on dual tachometer. This means that all the pilot has to do is, when making sure that he is within the applicable limitations (see picture to left for limits), he switches the quiet mode switch (located on the collective next to the landing light switch) to ‘QUIET’ mode and the computer will reduce fuel flow to obtain 92% Rotor RPM. on the Nr indicator, a magenta maker will appear at 92% and rotor speed will stop at that setting. When he wants to get rid of the quiet mode, he returns the switch to the ‘Normal’ position and the rotor speed will crank back up to 100% Nr. (Refer to image left).

Bell’s quiet mode reduces flyover noise level by 3.8dBA

Limitations applicable to the operation: Maximum gross weight: 5000 lbs; Maximum aft longitudinal CG location: 127 inches instead of 129 Maximum lateral CG location: limits reduced to -1.1 to 1.3 compared to -2.5 to 3.0 Take off weight increases (graph included in relevant Flight Manual Supplement) Minimum indicated airspeed: 50 kts Vne at 92% Nr: 100 KIAS; Minimum height above ground: 200’ (The Height velocity curve changes since the rotor speed is not at 100%. That is why the minimum height above ground is 200’.) Maximum altitude: 6000’ Density altitude; Engine torque: limited at 93.5%, which corresponds to the Green area on PSI (Power Situation Indicator) gauge93.5% Torque.

Bell 407Gx Specifications Empty weight Gross weight External load gross weight Max external load

2,754 lbs 5,000 lbs 6,000lbs 2,646 lbs

Cruise speed sea level ISA standard fuel Range (as above) Max cruise speed Endurance

121 knots 326 nm 132 knots 3.7 hours

Aimé Girouard Bell 407Gx test pilot

Engine Rolls Royce 250-C47B with Full Authority Digital Electronic Control Take-off Hp 813 SHP Max continuous 701 SHP Fuel Capacity Standard tanks Auxilliary

127.8 US gals 19.0 US gals

IGE hover ceiling ISA/sea level oGE hover ceiling ISA/sea level

19,200 feet 17,600 feet


Electric selector switch on the collective helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

This kit is much appreciated by several USA Police forces, who often patrol over cities at night with helicopters. It reduces noise levels produced by the rotors and therefore reduces complaints from noise sensitive neighborhoods. It can be an excellent asset for operators who do a lot of sightseeing tours, reducing the noise levels and therefore reducing the possibility of noise complaints for repeated flights in same neighborhood. 39

CH-47F Handover Text and Photographs by Carlo Kuit and Paul Kievit of Bronco Aviation


uring a ceremony on Monday the 8th of october 2012 held at Gilze-Rijen Airbase the 298th “Grizzly” Squadron took delivery of the first two Chinook CH-47F(NL). Representatives of Boeing, the Defence Material organization (DMo) and the Minister of Defence Kees van der Knaap were present. The two new helicopters (D-892 and D-891) are the first of a total of seven new F version Chinooks. The new seven will bring the total of Chinooks (D and F version) up to seventeen. All Chinook come under the command of the Defence Helicopter Commando (DHC) stationed here at Gilze-Rijen Airbase. Two of the newly delivered Chinooks were bought to replace the ones that 40

were lost in Afghanistan (D-104 and D-105). The rest of the fleet will fulfill the need for middleheavy transport helicopters during crisis situations. The new methods of war means this kind of helicopter is getting an even important role in combat. Moreover, national problems like big forest fires also take a lot of time and flying hours. With the total of seventeen, the Royal Netherlands Air Force hope it will have enough helicopters to meet the increasing demand. Six of the eleven Chinooks of the D models (D-661 until D-667) are modified Canadian Air Force examples that are now up between 10.000 – 15.000 flight hours, so these helicopters have been extensively used during all helicopter liFe, Winter 2012


kinds of exercise and missions aboard. The other five D models (D-101 until D-106) are recently delivered from Boeing. The decision to purchase the CH-47Fs was made in 2003, and the contract was signed in 2006 at Soesterberg Airbase in the Netherlands. The initial first delivery date was in July 2009 and now three years later the first

Chinook of the F model has been delivered to the Air Force, a delay of just three years. The Commander of the 298th Squadron, Lieutenant Colonel Hermans was very pleased with these two new helicopters. “We can now fulfill the need for transportation, for example the transportation of our Marines (Korps Mariniers) Commandos (Korps Commando continued on page 51

Costs over eight years when leased to a flight school £

How much cost? The R44

The cost of owning an R44 with thanks to Flight Path Ltd


ames Wilson, whose company Flight Path Ltd owns G-MUSH and is now selling it to buy a Bell JetRanger, kindly complied the figures which allowed me to write this article about the running costs of a small, light helicopter the Robinson R44. Flight Path has owned G-MUSH from new and it now has 1039 hours on the airframe. Contact Nigel Burton at EM Helicopters for sales. Two things stand out immediately when looking at the figures: firstly the cost of insurance, but this has to be tempered by the fact that the helicopter was leased by a school, Wilson says that when a helicopter is flown privately the cost of insurance is around £9,000 a year. on the plus side these costs are should be defrayed by the income gained from hiring. The other large cost is VAT, more than £16,910 over eight years. In certain circumstances, however, as this is a working helicopter, that can be claimed back. Hangarage was an expected large cost but I was surprised to see how much it had increased in the time period, from £150 to £250 ie a 75% increase in eight years. This may be like rental costs in the housing market due to lack of suitable housing, or it may be that with the reduction in private helicopter flying hangar owners are also feeling the pinch. 42
















Pilotage (ie cost of hiring a pilot)









Total including VAT



The R44 runs on piston fuel, and here again the costs have risen. Car fuel, which is less refined and made in greater abundance, has similarly increased in cost over the past few years, so it was not surprising to see the amount of increase in avgas, which is used by a limited market and requires special processes to refine. The largest cost apart from insurance is maintenance. I talked to Gordon Paton of East Midlands Helicopters Engineering Ltd who has been maintaining the helicopter since 2004. He said G-MUSH was a tidy and reliable machine. “R44s are in general good to maintain, they don’t often break down and are nice to work on. The panels are easily removed and access is mostly pretty good.” As well as the normal inspections, the R44, like all the Robinson family, has to have a major inspection every 12 years or 2,200 hours. Paton says it is very rare for the 12

year check to be done without the 2,200 hour check as the 12 year does not reset the hours and the helicopter is likely to have flown around 2,000 hours after 12 years. All these checks, inspections and maintenance can now be done in the UK, so the helicopter does not have to return to California for ‘renewal’, the way the early Robinsons did, which is a big saving. The annual cost of running the R44 is thus around £31,287, probably the equivalent of running a second home in France, or indeed of paying the school fees. Having the helicopter leased by a flying school roughly doubles the expenditure, but, depending on usage, also should give a good income. Second-hand prices for the R44 in the UK are currently between £125,000 and £155,000 depending on the model. As an investment, buying and renting out a house might be more reliable but is probably less fun.

Insurance costs were increased by putting G-MUSH with a school but ameliorated by income from the students

The Wilsons with their new helicopter helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

Average annual costs £

helicopter liFe, Winter 2012


Guardians of the


S Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, also based at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, is one of four air stations in the Coast Guard’s 11th District. This encompasses the states of California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah, the coastal and offshore waters of more than one thousand miles and the offshore waters of Mexico and Central America extending to South America. The Coast Guard’s 11th District 44

operational units are located throughout the state of California, with the District and Pacific Area headquarters located on Coast Guard Island in Alameda, along the eastern side of San Francisco Bay. Most of Air Station San Francisco’s operations are conducted in the San Francisco Bay area and the Sacramento River delta. The Coast Guard is one of five armed forces of the United States and the only military organization within helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

Golden Gate

by Carlo Kuit and Paul Kievit of Bronco Aviation

the Department of Homeland Security. Previously, the Coast Guard operated as part of the Department of Transportation. The attacks of 9/11 served as a catalyst for the transition to Homeland Security. The Coast Guard officially became part of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, further expanding the role of the aviation units beyond Search and Rescue duties. The passing of the Homeland Security Act in 2002 brought increased helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

emphasis on the maritime security role. The Coast Guard is responsible for conducting security patrols over America’s major maritime infrastructure. For the Air Station at San Francisco, this includes the enormous port facilities at San Francisco and oakland, along with the waterways which lead inland to Stockton and Sacramento. By law, the Coast Guard has eleven missions to sup45

MH-65 Dolphins has been with the Coast Guard since 1984

MH-65 Dolphins are expected to remain in service until 2027

port: Ports, waterways and coastal security, drug interdiction, aids to navigation, search and rescue, living marine resources, marine safety, defence readiness, migrant interdiction, marine environmental protection, ice operations and law enforcement. Air Station San Francisco operates four MH-65C Dolphin helicopters, which are used to carry out their search and rescue missions. These helicopters allow the unit to provide coverage along 300 miles of coastline from Point Lucia, located south of Big Sur (CA), to Point Arena to the north. The history of Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco dates back to 1941, when the unit was established. The construction of the station was completed on February 15, 1941. The first aircraft employed by the station was a PBY-5 Catalina and two RD-4 Dolphins. on November 1, 1941, the station’s aircraft and personnel were placed under the command of the U.S. Navy, where they continued to conduct search and rescue and coastal patrol missions through to the end of World War II. The air station resumed normal operations under Coast Guard command after release from the Navy on June 30, 1946. The first helicopter stationed in San Francisco was the Ho3S-1 Dragonfly in 1947. In the early 1950s, the Grumman HU-16E Albatross replaced the air station’s aging WWII fixedwing inventory. This general purpose amphibian aircraft proved to be a highly adaptable platform for search and rescue missions. The Air Station received the HH-52A Sea Guard helicopter in 1963, which was a significant improvement over its predecessor with its improved flight characteristics and capabilities. In 1978, the station’s C-130s were relocated to the newlyconstructed Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, ending 37 years of Coast Guard fixed-wing aviation in San Francisco. In 1991, Air Station San Francisco received its first HH-60 Jay Hawk to replace the H-3 Pelican as the medium-range search and rescue helicopter. Aviation restructuring throughout the Coast Guard meant a short stay for the HH-60 in San Francisco; in June 1996, four HH-65s were moved to San Francisco from San Diego. In autumn 2001, the air station transitioned to the HH-65B, with an upgraded avionics package. In the spring of 2006, the HH-65B was upgraded to the HH-65C after the installation of new Turbomeca Ariel 2C2-CG engines. The MH-65 Dolphin has been in the Coast Guard’s inventory since 1984, and is expected to remain in service until 2027. The Coast Guard is upgrading the helicopters with state-of-theart enhancements that will extend mission capabilities and improve their reliability and maintainability. “With the introduction of the MH-65D, we are using the latest technology,” said LT Ian Culver, a pilot based at Air Station San Francisco. “The conversion to the MH-65D will be completed during one flight, mainly focusing on the new avionics package. The transition to the MH-65D will be mostly completed by visiting personnel from the Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Alabama. Remaining aircrew members will be trained by unit instructors” said Culver. The conversion and sustainment project is modernizing the helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

MH-65 Dolphins preparing for a flight downtown

aging helicopters with digital technology. The upgrades include GPS and inertial navigation, as well as updated cockpit instrumentation. The MH-65 conversion and sustainment project is accomplished in six phases or complementary discrete segments. The Coast Guard upgrades the aircraft at the Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City (N.J), maintains the Coast Guard’s largest MH-65D fleet, with ten recently updated MH-65Ds, which are responsible for supporting missions throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and parts of Virginia. Air Station San Francisco is expected to receive their upgraded MH-65Ds before the end of 2012. The Coast Guard is relying on new student pilots to join the force as well as former U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and U.S Marine Corps pilots to bring additional skills and experience to the units. Approximately forty percent of current aviators have a background in one of the other branches of the U.S. military. “For many of them, it is a culture shock. However, bringing in these experienced pilots helps keep us at a higher level of skill,” said CDR Brian Glander, Air Station San Francisco’s Executive officer. “The training of new student pilots is conducted at the Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Alabama. It takes a lot of time before we can deploy them to one of the units.” “Student pilots begin their training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, with pilots from other branches of the U.S. military,” explained Culver. “We start with approximately 25 hours flying time in the Cessna. Then we transition to the T-34/T-6 for an additional one hundred hours of flying. To complete the training, helicopter pilots tranhelicopter liFe, Winter 2012

sition to the TH-57 for nearly 125 hours. After completing the training successfully the new pilots will move to their assigned unit to learn more about search and rescue flights and working in a team,” said Culver. New pilots start with about four to six familiarization flights. “We learn how to conduct search and rescue operations specific to our area of responsibility,” said LCDR Harper Phillips, operations officer at Air Station San Francisco. “The majority of the flights we conduct are training flights in order to prepare ourselves for real-life action”. Every six months, each pilot has to pass a number of qualifications for hoisting, boat missions and operations utilizing night vision goggles. of the station’s four MH-65Cs, there is always one helicopter available for deployments aboard of one of the Coast Guard’s ‘cutters’ – a term for a vessel longer than 65 feet. “Basically, we can do our operations in the San Francisco Bay area with three aircraft,” explains Philips. “one of our recent deployments to the Arctic region was to oversee the oil drilling conducted by Shell, which clearly show how far we reach in our missions.” Besides search and rescue and oversea deployments, the station is also involved in a new mission introduced in 2007, called airborne the use of force. For this purpose, the MH-65s are able to carry both the M-14-T and M240H machine guns to conduct missions. CDR Glander was involved in the introduction of this new type of mission to the Coast Guard. “My personal goal is to fully institutionalize the new law enforcement role in the business processes of the unit, so it can be modeled as a standardized template for other Coast Guard units. We’ve come a long way and we want to find the best method of operating and training dedicated crew members for new missions.” 47

Rotorsport Calidus and Magni M24 Gyrocopters Compared Chris Jones, gyrocopter instructor, looks at the relative merits

Rotorsport Calidus left of picture Magni M24 right


he latest offerings within the gyroplane world are two seat, fully enclosed, turbo charged, touring aircraft with helicopter like landing characteristics and a VNE of 100 + mph. As an independent Gyroplane Instructor and examiner with over 5000 hours on gyroplanes and having both test aircraft based at Kirkbride Airfield in Cumbria, I’ve been able to fly both for several hundred hours including flying both aircraft around Scotland. My comparisons are my views on the aircraft and not the importers or manufacturers. Seating The obvious difference between the two aircraft are the seating positions, the Magni M24 having a side by side position with P1 being on the left where as the Calidus has a tandem configuration with P1 in front. The cabin of the Magni measures a generous 46 inches which is slightly more than the R22 plus the fact that the seats are offset so giving far more room for the two occupants. The Calidus with its tandem seating provides a prone 48

fighter pilot position in front with a large amount of space for the rear seat passenger including space for several overnight bags. Seat cushions in both aircraft are minimal (weight saving!) so for touring at 4 hours plus extra foam will be required but for local flying the seats and seating positions are reasonable. The rear seat of the Calidus requires the passenger to locate their legs either side of the front seat so can feel slightly confined on long trips.

Handling First the Calidus, as expected the reduced drag means a faster aircraft with VNE being 120 mph and a comfortable cruise at 100mph. So a real going places gyroplane, you could fly this aircraft around the world and I’m sure someone will very soon. Reduced instrument visibility from the rear seat means that it’s not the easiest to use as a training aircraft but it is possible. It is very manoeuvrable, light in roll, with an actual climb rate of 830 fpm fully loaded to its 500kg mauw, fuel burn 14 lts of (Avgas or mogas) in the cruise, endurance being five hours with a 70 lt tank. All round visibility being excellent from both the front and back seats with no obstructions. Rotorsport Calidus

Access The one piece canopy of the Calidus lifts easily from the starboard side and has several vents for fresh air, the closing mechanism is positive and as a safety feature you cannot pre rotate unless the canopy catch is locked into position and it also has a warning light if the canopy is open. The Magni has two gull wing doors, a safety feature being that a warning light indicates if either door is still open and the Pre rotator display is blank until the doors are locked in place. helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

helicopter liFe, Autumn 2012

The M24 with its side by side seating is more sociable and lends its self to being a training as well as a touring aircraft but due to the increased drag the VNE is 100mph and a steady cruise is 80 with a burn rate of 18 lts per hour and an endurance of four hours, climb rate is 625 fpm at an mauw of 500kg. The controls feel heaver in roll especially with the central pivoting cyclic and slightly more stick vibration as you near VNE but otherwise responsive in pitch and yaw. All round visibility is good with the roof supports being unobtrusive and the doors being completely clear and as the sides of the aircraft are much lower than that of the Calidus you have a great view of the ground.

Magni M24

Controls Gyroplanes are uncomplicated aircraft to fly, no collective, no flaps, no mixture controls, automatic carb heat but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great fun to fly. The cyclic controls roll and airspeed and the power controls height (in a level attitude) the rudder pedals control yaw and as they are connected to the nose wheel they also control steering on the ground. The main difference between the two test aircraft are that the Magni has a U shaped cyclic which is connected between the two seats meaning that to roll left the left cyclic should be pushed down which in turn raises the right hand stick and vice a versa. The Calidus has the conventional cyclic which pivots at the bottom of the stick and the rear stick can be removed if not required, the rear seat does have its own set of rudder pedals and these can be folded out of the way to provide more leg room. The Calidus has both pitch and roll trim which is a pneumatic system and the Magni has a electric pitch trim but the roll trim is only ground adjustable and once set for a particular weight doesn’t need adjustment.

the cost of the aircraft by a significant amount. Both engines can use Mogas or Avgas and service intervals are every 100 hours (approx service costs £450 for a 100 hour service)

My conclusion In conclusion the Magni is a good training aircraft, very sociable, with more of a conventional layout and therefore slightly sluggish due to the drag but it does have more of a small helicopter feel once it’s up in the air. It does have excellent side visibility with the ‘invisible’ doors but it does lack the overall finish of the Calidus but I believe this is being addressed by the manufacturer. The Calidus is for those who want the fighter jet experience, you could also throw a bag and a tent in the back and explore the world. Less cockpit noise means an almost surreal experience of flying across the countryside at 800 feet but with piece of mind knowing that if the engine were to fail then you can land almost anywhere. Both are great aircraft and I have enjoyed flying them not only in the circuit and around the Lake District but all around Scotland and up to John o Groats. Being fully Engines enclosed and having short takeoff and landing capabilities Both aircraft have the Rotax 914 UL engine 100 bhp they have opened up a new way of touring, a way of safewith an extra 15 bhp available for five minutes, due to ly enjoying the journey without it costing the earth and the reduction in drag the Calidus is available with the they bring the fun back into flying. Rotax 912ULS engine which offers 100 bhp and reduces Chris Jones

Magni M24 Rotorsport Calidus

helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

Four FLIR balls were purchased with the CH-47Fs

Continued from page 41 Troepen) and Special Forces (Luchtmobiele Brigade) which is one of the main tasks of our squadron” Lieutenant Colonel Hermans continued: “Having more helicopters will make all our tasks easier to realize”. Two of the new CH-47Fs are going to be stationed at Fort Wood, Texas in the United States where the basic flying training of the Dutch pilots is conducted. Before being delivered to the 298th Squadron the CH47F’s were at Woensdrecht Airbase in the Netherlands for the final modification, such as installing map holders and treating the window with a sort of permanent Rainex to ensure clarity of vision at all times. Major Ton Schattorie and Captain Michel Dekker flew the first two CH-47F’s into Dutch airspace. “We were trained on the F model and that makes us the test pilots for this type at the moment,” Major Schattorie said humorously, after arriving at Gilze-Rijen Airbase. “We are the only two pilots now in the Netherlands that are qualified to fly this F version”. The helicopters were shipped from Baltimore in the United States to the harbor of Antwerp in Belgium. From there they went by truck towards Woensdrecht Airbase. Four Electro optical Infrared (EoIR)/ Forward looking Infrared (FLIR) balls were purchased with the F version. “This FLIR is a forward-looking infrared camera mounting in a bubble under the helicopter's chin enables the pilots to fly low level, at night and in marginal weather like heavy rain and snow,” explained Major Schattorie. helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

Specifications CH-47F(NL) Full Glass Cockpit Honeywell Avionics Control & Management System Block -6 Digital Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) 714A Engines with Engine Air Particle Separator EAPS; This system protects the engine from harmful effects of dust and sand erosion, snow and foreign objects and salt spray fouling and corrosion. Fast rope Installation Armament; 3x 7.62 mm (NATo Standard) and/or 3x .50 caliber. Electronic Warfare Aircraft Self Protection Equipment (CHASE); The Chinook will carry two CHASE pods installed on each side of the helicopter. Each pod contains three missile warning sensors and one laser turret. The pods are mounted directly on the helicopter main frame to minimize dynamic in-flight impact, which could otherwise cause optical sensor distortion. The six-sensor solution provides a 360 deg spherical coverage against missile attack as shown on the sketch to the left. Electro optical Infrared (EoIR)/ Forward looking Infrared (FLIR) and Weather Radar.



Helicopters are not widely used as fuel is expensive and they are slower than aeroplanes

Flying Doctor Service in Kenya


Words and pictures courtesy of AMREF

or the tourist AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation) Flying Doctors has an unusual concept. You go to Kenya and other countries in East Africa for a holiday, you sign up for their service and you pay £15. If you have a crash or accident somewhere in the country the Flying Doctors will come and rescue you by plane or helicopter, for no extra charge. As infrastructure is limited, roads across the country are subject to degradation by the rains and in towns roads are stalled by the excess of traffic, it is pretty much an emergency service you cannot do without. But of course, that is only a very small part of the work they do. The AMREF Flying Doctor Service was founded in 1957 by three reconstructive surgeons: Michael Wood, Archibald McIndoe and Tom Rees to improve the health of people in East Africa. It started with ‘under the wing’ 52

clinics as they called them, where the doctor and helpers would fly small aircraft in to strips (these were often created from the bush) near villages to give out drugs and equipment and medicate the patients on the spot. Later this modified into mobile clinics, which were taken around the country in planes and landrovers. AMREF now has a fleet of 14 aircraft, which provide emergency evacuations and bring-in drugs and equipment where necessary. They do sometimes use helicopters but, as the Chief operations officer, Sean Culligan, explains, this is fairly rare as this part of Africa is well stocked with bush strips and is highly accessible for aeroplanes, which are faster, cheaper and use less fuel. Fuel, on the other hand, is expensive and not so widely available, and helicopters do not have the weight carrying capacity of aeroplanes. Aircraft available are Cessna 208 Caravan, Beechcraft helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

Super King Air B200 and B350, the Cessna 550 Citation Bravo and 560 Citation Excel and when they do need helicopters AMREF will use the AS 350 B3 Squirrel. AMREF regularly covers Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, with an increasing frequency of evacuations from the neighbouring countries and beyond, covering the whole of Africa, The Middle East and Europe. They can also provide medical escorts on commercial carriers and help repatriate patients across the globe in private ambulances. They employ one full time doctor with eleven part time doctors and there are eleven flight nurses, all employed on a full time basis. The service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The control room, at Wilson Airport, as well as being the hub of the aircraft control, is staff by qualified medical personnel who can give advice at all times of day and night. Case History There are, however, exceptions to this rule and times when helicopters are a necessity and, as Sikorsky pointed out, aeroplanes only useful to drop the flowers on the body. one such case took place in Tanzania, when an employee of a mining company was badly injured in a road traffic accident. This part of rural Tanzania has a small hospital with limited facilities and the patient was taken there after the accident. While trauma and neurosurgical facilities are more developed in Kenya than helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

The Beechcraft Super King Air is a useful fast ‘aerial clinic’

Road traffic is a very great problem in this part of the world 53

It can be hard to find suitable places to land

pital to accept him. However, once the insurance company had been called and verified the case the hospital took in the patient. AMREF points out that hurdles can be overcome with thought and logistics and sometimes other unexpected difficulties arise but that all their personnel are good at thinking flexibly and dealing with problems as they arise. For the future, AMREF continues both to develop and to fundraise. When the Flying Doctor Service was started in 1957 it visited four hospitals, it now serves 150 hospitals across East Africa. There are few hospitals in this area and there are large distances between them. They have very little equipment and few drugs. Consequently, AMREF have started the outreach Programme, which in the 2011 period provided 7,906 major operations, 27,665 consultations and a number of training workshops. Their Tourist Evacuation Programme also continues with 155 new Tour operators joining in 2011.

Flight Nurse Charles Atemba and Dr Raitt

AMREF Flying Doctors History Tanzania, the employee only had insurance for Tanzania and no travel documents that would allow him to leave the country, it was therefore decided to transfer him to Dar es Salaam for treatment. Normally, it would have been possible to transfer the patient in one of the fixed wing aircraft, however, in this case the airstrip close to the hospital was unavailable as a local road had been closed and the traffic diverted across the airfield. A helicopter could be used but the flight in a AS350 B3 from the rural hospital to Dar es Salaam would take four hours, something the patient could not sustain in his critical condition, so it was decided to pick up the patient by helicopter and then do a transfer from the helicopter to a King Air Aeroplane at the nearby airfield of Mwanza. When the helicopter arrived at the hospital hundreds of people from the local area gathered to watch the arrival and soon were getting so close to the helicopter that the pilot was forced to take off again and land at a neighbouring football pitch where the crowds could be controlled. In hospital, the patient was assessed and diagnosed with a head injury, possible spinal injury and a broken arm. He was stabilized and immobilized and transferred to the waiting hospital. The pilot then flew the fifteenminute fight to Mwanza, where the patient and medical staff were transferred to the King Air. From Mwanza the King Air flew for two hours to Dar es Salaam, where the patient was transferred to a ground ambulance, finally arriving in hospital 24 hours after the accident. Unfortunately, the patient’s notes had been lost and there was some difficulty getting the hos54

1957 - On the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro, AMREF Flying Doctors is founded by three reconstructive surgeons: Michael Wood, Archibald McIndoe and Tom Rees.

Flight Nurse Charles Atemba treating the patient in the King Air

1957 - AMREF’s Outreach Programme is launched, initially servicing four hospitals in remote Kenya. 1961 - Mobile Outreach Clinics are introduced to Southern Kenya to treat nomadic Maasai pastoralists. 1964 - Anne Spoerry or "Mama Daktari" joins AMREF Flying Doctors. 1980 - AMREF forms what will become a long time partnership with Kenyatta National Hospital, taking medical specialists by air to Wajir, Garissa and Mandera in Kenya. 1985 - AMREF Flying Doctors Founder Michael Wood receives a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. 1996 - The first Cessna Grand Caravan is introduced into the AMREF Flying Doctors Fleet.

helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

2000 - In partnership with Phoenix Aviation, AMREF Flying Doctors begins to operate a Cessna Citation Bravo Jet. 2005 - AMREF is the first African organisation to be awarded with the Gates Award for Global Health. 2007 - AMREF Flying Doctors celebrates the opening of its Visitors Centre, with Founder Tom Rees present. 2007 - AMREF Flying Doctors becomes the first operator outside of Europe to receive ‘Full Accreditation – Special Care’ from the European Aeromedical Institute (EURAMI). 2010 - AMREF Outreach Programme expands, 150 hospitals in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Somalia and Southern Sudan, training 6,200 doctors and nurses and undertaking over 26,000 consultations. 2011 - AMREF Flying Doctors receives the ITIJ 2011 Air Ambulance of the Year award. 2012 - AMREF Flying Doctors launches Maisha, annual air ambulance cover for individuals and corporates. 55

Book review

Sea King AEW Falklands War

Ivory, Apes and Peacocks

the 16th Harold Penrose Lecture Royal Aeronautical Society Yeovil Branch

Animals, adventure and discovery in the wild places of Africa

Jim Schofield, Commander Sharky Finn and Lieutenant Commander Andy Rose

Alan Root Chatto and Windus



o mark the 30th Anniversary of the Falklands, the Royal Aeronautical Society Yeovil Branch, the Penrose Lecture was on the Sea King AEW and its developments, which were made in time for the war. The Royal Navy lost its airborne early warning capability when the Gannet AEW3 retired with HMS Ark Royal in 1979. The need for a replacement became obvious during the 1982 Falklands War with the fleet unable to see past the radar horizon and therefore direct fighters against incoming enemy aircraft. A helicopter was the only possible AEW platform that could fly from the Invincible class carriers so two Sea King HAS2s were hurriedly modified. Jim Schofield was the Chief Weapons Engineer at Westland Sea King AEW at Farnborough 2008

Helicopters at the time and in charge of the modifications. He explained how the tight timetable meant they had to have priority over the workforce and how even a strike was delayed to help the war effort! Commander Sharkey Finn and Lieutenant Commander Andy Rose the Commanding officer of 849 Naval Air Squadron spoke about use of the Sea King airborne early warning systems. helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

lan Root has been through a hippos mouth, been bitten by a puff adder, charged by a silverback gorilla and now comes back to tell us the tale. And what tales they are; as well as having lived and filmed Root is a master story-teller. He started life in Britain, but after the Second World War, when he was a young boy, his parents moved to Kenya to start a new life for themselves and their children. Even that early part of the book is an interesting tale of unwary Brits moving into a new and challenging environment. Alan fell in love with the country and even moreso with the animals. As he grew up he started to realise he was a natural with a camera (although not always with the ‘suits’ who ran the film companies) and this, combined with his previous loves, meant he made films from a different perspective. Here too he met his first wife and helpmeet Joan Wells and together they created such masterpieces as The Serengetti Shall not Die (1958), Survival (1961) and many many more. The book follows Alan and Joan’s progress through many films, adventures and delights. one moment we see Alan’s mother ‘saving the local post office’ when she picks up an almost escaping beetle, the next we enter the Congo and see the first meeting of Dian Fossey with a gorilla. There is also search for the elusive Congo Peacock, and the rather amusing result of finally finding this bird. As well as finding many unknown or partially known species they also discover unknown things about known species, such as the nesting habits of the flamingoes and the underwater ballet of the hippos. Both of which he was able to film. Aviation is a theme throughout the book, both as used in the films and in their research. Later in life Root learns to fly a helicopter. There is great humour in the book and also great sadness. Towards the end of the book helicopter liFe, Winter 2012


Alan suffers from some kind of breakdown. His life for a while spirals out of control, he gets divorced, moves in with a new love who then develops a terminal illness. His ex-wife, Joan, is killed by criminals and his description of finding her body is horrific and heart-wrenching. There are also some sad pieces where he reflects on a very different Africa from the one imagined by conservationists and animal lovers. There is, however, a happy, and unexpected end to the story, and it is a very enjoyable book to read. 57

Book review Ask Forgiveness not Permission Bell Huey in Pakistan after 9/11

Howard Leedham MBE


Bene-Factum Publishing £12.99

our mission Howard, should you decide to accept it is to organize a fighting force to defend the Afghan Pakistan border, however you have to find your own men, helicopters and equipment. In an echo of the 1960s TV series Mission Impossible Howard Leedham, an ex-Marine and special forces officer currently flying executive jets in the US, is asked by the Air Wing of the US State Department to form a fighting force in Pakistan to defend the Afghanistan Pakistan border and to do some special jobs with them. The only drawback is that he has to find his own men. Moreover, the helicopters that were sent from the US for their use are currently impounded by the Pakistanis, who have little faith in their American allies. oh, and the US Embassy in Pakistan do not like the project. The TV series request always concluded: “As always, should you or any of your I.M. Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.” In spite of the high odds against him, Leedham decides to accept the task and goes out to Islamabad, where he deals with the US Embassy and is somewhat hampered by the bureaucratic infighting between departments, and to Quetta, where he finds his Pathan fighting force. He manages to get the helicopters released, they are got ready and supported by DynCorp. By various means (some more legal than others) he manages to get most of the equipment he needs, including guns (which for some bizarre reason he is originally not supposed to have) and NVGs (night vision goggles) although here his troop have to work with the out-of-date models given to them by their allies. once he has what he needs he is able to improve the training of the already very brave and fit Pathans and between them they create an incredible force, which is then put into service by General Sadaqat and led by two Pathan captains and Latham himself. Then the jobs, and for us the adventures, begin. Leedham writes well, his narrative flows and although he spends more time on the operational details than the action, both are gripping reading. The events take place in 2004 but they are as a result of the aftermath of the 9/11 World Trade Centre aero58

plane invasions in New York and the other simultaneous events around the USA. His actual time in employment by The Service is only a year, but it was one very intense year. It is an intriguing book, both for the operational work done by Leedham within Pakistan and for an insight into the level of interference he got from those who were supposed to be his employers and his helpers within the US Embassy. The forward is by Frederick Forsythe, who is known to be a stickler for accuracy and sharp factual detail, so I think it is possible to assume that it is entirely factually correct. I found it fascinating. helicopter liFe ,Winter 2012

CAA Legislation Changes concerning helicopters and gyroplanes GPs to issue medical certificate for new European pilot licence General practitioners (GPs) in the UK will be able to assess the fitness of pilots applying for the new panEuropean Light Aircraft Pilot's Licence (LAPL). The licence, which comes into effect on 17 September 2012 as part of major reforms to pilot licensing across the EU, will only be valid if the applicant holds a valid medical certificate. In the UK this can be obtained from his or her GP. As before, however, only GPs with specialist training in aviation medicine, approved by the UK CAA can do the test. CAA issues first EASA pilot licences The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has begun issuing the new European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) pilot licences. The first licences, which will replace JAR and many older 'national' versions, were printed for the first time at the CAA's Gatwick headquarters earlier today. The transition process to the new pan European format is expected to last five years. A pilot with an existing JAR licence, such as a PPL, will have it replaced with an EASA equivalent whenever the licence is sent to he CAA for renewal, revalidation or any other reason. The EASA licences, which are in a new format and look quite different to the JAR and national licences, will be valid for the owner’s lifetime. Because of the new format, different information will be required by the CAA before it can issue a new EASA licence, and new licence application forms have been prepared accordingly. Pilots are advised to read the detailed information on the CAA website - - which includes a section explaining the new licence format. This also includes a LAPL for helicopter pilots, like the former National Licence for Aeroplane pilots. See the CAA website for details. Ray Elgy, Head of Licensing and Training Standards at the CAA, said: “We are pleased to be issuing EASA flight crew licences. It has been a long process getting to where we are today, and there is still a long way to go before the transition is complete. However, I am very confident that we will see the benefits of standardising licensing across the EU from the outset.” The implementation of new rules for pilot licensing (including medical certification) across the EU is part of a process that has already seen EASA take responsibility for other areas of aviation regulation, such as airworthiness. Most UK pilots, private and commercial, will be helicopter liFe,Winter 2012

affected by the switchover and will have to obtain new EASA licences to continue to fly aircraft that have EASA airworthiness certificates. However, some pilots, such as those who fly microlights, ex-military and kit built aircraft, will continue to use their existing licences as EASA does not regulate these categories of aircraft. There have been significant changes in all the helicopter licences: see the CAA webiste for more information This document sets out the guidance for examiners and applicants taking the CPL Skill Test for the grant of a Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL) (Aeroplane). The information will help applicants prepare for this flight test, but it must be remembered that aspects mentioned here are of a general nature only and do not give the precise details of each exercise or manoeuvre. type=65&appid=11&mode=detail&id=1198 SN-2012/012 Revised Introduction of Visual Flight Rules (VFR) at Night in the UK The purpose of this Safety Notice is to give details of the postponed introduction of VFR at night. It also contains the responses to the comments received in response to SN-2012/007. Standardisation and certification of examiners type=65&appid=11&mode=detail&id=2985 IN-2012/156: Designation of Examiners for Skill Tests for initial issue of Licences, Ratings and Certificates Examiners, even at PPL level, must now be authorised if they wish to test non-UK passport holders for a UK licence. ORS4 No. 946 Extension of validity of a certificate of test or experience for an aircraft rating in a Private Pilot's Licence (Gyroplanes) This exemption allows for the extension of the period of validity of aircraft ratings in United Kingdom Private Pilot's Licences for Gyroplanes when meeting alternative requirements to maintain those ratings and if meeting these alternative requirements for certificates of revalidation in licences to replace certificates of test or experience in pilots' personal logs. N-2012/170: European Commission Public Consultation in view of Simplification, Clarification and Modernisation of the Single European Sky Legislation (SES II+) and Alignment of SES and EASA Rules. 59

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Foster with the in-crowd

Upgrade Continues at 2 Reggimento Esercito ‘Sirio’


words and pictures by

Peter R Foster


Memorial in honour of personnel lost on operations helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

Peter foster


deployed in Lebanon in a very heavy landing. The ‘cab’, MM81123/EI-407 [UN281], was not destroyed and the crew only suffered slight injuries. However the damage was severe enough to see the helicopter withdrawn from use. It has since been returned to the Bracciano maintenance facility by ship departing Beirut on September 10, 2012 where it will be returned to its standard ‘Bravo’ configuration and eventually placed on display at Lamezia-Terme alongside the units memorial to fallen comrades of a AB.206A and Piper L-18 Cub. This memorial was dedicated on october 3rd 2012. June 8th 2012 should have been the day that the men and women of 2 Reggimento Aviazone dell’Esercito


he arrival of AB.412 ESC-5 MM81354/EI-463 in the past month from overhaul at 1 Reggimento di Sostegno AVES ‘Idra’ at Bracciano brings the compliment of the larger ‘412’ helicopters with the unit to five. Three more are expected, one from storage at Bracciano, and two from 7 Reggimento ‘Vega’ at RiminiMiramare, as that unit continues its upgrade to the NH.90 that will ultimately replace the AB.205s with 25 Gruppo and the AB.412s with 53 Gruppo. 2 Reggimento will become the major of the AB.412 although one will be retained within the structure of 7 Reggimento and a further two examples with 26 Gruppo within the structure of 1 Reggimento ‘Antares’ at Viterbo. This particular unit is also transitioning to the NH.90 but it is accepted that this helicopter is not necessarily suitable for all the missions undertaken by the unit in its ‘Special Forces’ role and therefore two of the smaller AB.412s will be retained. Back at Lamezia-Terme 2 Reggimento with operate the AB.212 ESC-4 and AB.412 ESC-5 side-by-side and will continue to support its UNIFIL role in Lebanon where it currently deploys four AB.212 helicopters. It had been the intention to increase this to six but as yet no funding has become available. There are no plans to reintroduce the AB.412 into the UNIFIL role. Although faster and capable of a slightly heavier payload its low speed handling qualities are not considered as good. 2 Reggimento is the sole user of the AB.212 in Italian Army operation and the UNIFIL role draws on crews from the other services for the rotational six monthly deployments. In July the unit lost one of the helicopters

‘Sirio’ at Lamezia Terme dedicated a newly presented memorial to fallen comrades of the Regiments component 20th and 30th Gruppo Squadroni. However the two earthquakes in the north of Italy have seen this date delayed although by the time these words are read the dedication should have taken place. The memorial in honour of the personnel lost on operations has been erected at the entrance to the units main base in Calabria. Supporting the actual memorial are currently two aircraft representing some of the types operated. A Piper L-18C Cub rescued from the now closed Esercito facility at Salerno-Pontecagnamo has been cosmetically restored and marked as ‘I-EIJG’ to represent a period when army aircraft were not operated with military serials. The cub had not been identified whilst at Salerno and I-EIJG itself later become MM54-2506 and was disposed of on July 16, 1981 and allocated the US civilian registration N14218 although this is not believed to be current at present. The airframe was in a poor condition when received and its authenticity as to its exact identity remains a mystery. Joining it at the memorial is a Agusta Bell AB.206A, MM80631, the serial of which was confirmed from the helicopters manufactures plate although it does bear its authentic Esercito coding of ‘EI-570’. This airframe came from the large store of the type held at the 1 Reggimento di Sostegno AVES ‘Idra’ at Bracciano/Campo dell’oro. The unit are also hoping to gain a Siai Marchetti SM.1019E from the same source at Bracciano although its arrival is by no means confirmed. The unit has all surviving 18 AB.212s on strength, MM81119/EI-403 having been lost in March 1999; this figure includes the five ‘Charlie’ versions acquired from the embargoed Iraqi AB.212ASW order. These five do helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

not figure in the UNIFIL deployment whilst eight of the other 13 helicopters have received a number of modifications for operation in Lebanon as well as the ‘UN’ white colour scheme. It is assumed a further example will now be upgraded to replace the damaged EI-407

There are now five 412s with the unit



Robinson R44 Raven 11 G-ROAD

The helicopter was being manoeuvred at a private landing site prior to departure. The pilot lifted the helicopter to an approximate 8 ft hover height and taxied at about 5 kt towards a gap between trees. The pilot’s attention was mainly on a tree on the left side and, in trying to ensure adequate clearance from it, a rotor blade clipped the branch of a tree on the right side. The pilot was 32 years old and had 3000 hours of which 401 were on type. There were no injuries.

Robinson R44 Raven G-SRPH The pilot was attempting a takeoff from a confined site with various small buildings in the immediate vicinity. The surface wind was westerly at 8 kt and there was no significant weather. The pilot said as the helicopter lifted off, it yawed to the left. He applied opposite pedal to counter the yaw but over‑corrected. He then applied more collective in an attempt to escape from the situation but the helicopter yawed through about 180° and reached a height of about 25 to 30 ft, before descending. Before the helicopter hit the ground, the pilot pulled the cyclic control aft, to slow down. The tail struck the ground and the main rotor blades struck a nearby Portakabin, causing it severe damage. The helicopter came to rest upright on its skids. The pilot, who had not flown for 90 days, attributed the accident to over‑controlling on pedals and collective. The pilot was 63 and had 113 hours, all on type. There were no injuries.

Agusta AW-109 M-EMLI on arrival at the landing site, the passenger, who was a helicopter pilot, requested that the aircraft be landed on a path to avoid damaging a lawn, which was “boggy”. He said that he had established on a previous visit that there was sufficient clearance from a line of trees to the north‑west. The pilot agreed to the request and also judged that there would be sufficient clearance. However, the rotor blades clipped a small branch of one of the trees while the helicopter was manoeuvring. The pilot believed he had allowed himself to be persuaded to take an inappropriate course of action. He would not normally have landed so close to obstacles and, although he saw the trees, he did not see the overhanging branch, which was not in leaf. The pilot was 37 had 2099 hours of which 162 were on type.

Agusta 109S Grand G-STGR After refuelling at Hawarden Airport, the helicopter departed for a flight to a private landing site at Helsby in Cheshire, with two crew members on board. The 64

ACCidenT weather at the landing site was fine, with the surface wind estimated to be from 030° at 14 kt. The landing site was at an elevation of about 250 ft amsl and was a helipad on the roof of a private house, part of the construction of which was below ground level. The helicopter approached from the south-west; the helipad was identified only late on the approach and trees immediately before it were noted. In the latter stages of the approach, the second pilot requested that the pilot break off the approach to reposition for an approach from the opposite direction, as this was the approach path which was to be used for a subsequent night landing. The pilot, therefore, flew a downwind approach from the north-east and established the helicopter in a 10 to 15 ft hover over the centre of the landing area. Keeping the edge of the building in sight as a reference, the pilot manoeuvred the helicopter over the helipad and turned it into wind for the landing. After engine shutdown, it was discovered that the tail rotor blades had struck a fence, which ran adjacent to the western side of the helipad and would have been behind the helicopter after it had turned into wind. The pilot had experienced no unusual vibrations or cockpit indications. He recalled seeing the fence but reported that his attention was focussed on keeping the edge of the building roof in sight, whilst positioning over the helipad. He was not aware that the helicopter had struck the fence. The pilot was 57 and had 1900 hours of which 1000 were on type.

Enstrom 280FX Shark G-OJMF The pilot was conducting a navigation exercise when, at the first turning point, he experienced a “feeling of lack of full tail rotor authority”. More specifically, there was no response to left pedal inputs. He conducted a gentle turn to the right and elected to return to the airfield, which was approximately 20 nm distant, and transmitted a PAN call on arrival. He decided to conduct a run-on landing on grass Runway 14. Although the initial touchdown was straight, the helicopter veered to the right and encountered rough, frozen ground at the side of the runway. This caused the helicopter to bounce on its skids such that the tail rotor struck the ground prior to coming to a halt. As a result the tail rotor assembly, together with the rear of the tail boom, were damaged. The pilot was uninjured. The pilot was 38 and had 3905 hours of which 3890 were on type. The available evidence indicated that the tail rotor pitch change bearing had suffered an in-flight failure, in which an integral flange at the inboard end had detached. The flange normally abuts the inboard shoulder of the ball bearing assembly and is thus pulled along the tail rotor helicopter liFe, Winter 2012

drive shaft in an inboard direction in response to a left yaw pedal demand. The absence of the flange would result in the remaining part of the bearing being left at a location on the shaft defined by the aerodynamic/dynamic neutral position of the tail rotor. However, a right yaw pedal input would cause the outboard shoulder of the ball bearing assembly to push directly on the pitch control link, thereby changing the pitch of the blades. This scenario accords with the pilot’s report of being able to yaw the aircraft only to the right. The bearing failure is likely to have had its origin in a crack that initiated somewhere on the flange. It was not possible, in the absence of the flange fragments, to determine why the crack occurred. Sintered bronze is specified for its suitability for use in bearings and, in this application, is unlikely to be subjected to significant axial loads. Possible explanations could include a material flaw, or an excessive load resulting from a violent yaw pedal input. The latter seems improbable unless there was a resistance arising, for example, from the inner race of the ball bearing assembly becoming temporarily seized to the pitch change bearing due to corrosion following a period of inactivity.

SA341G Gazelle 1, G-DWEV The helicopter took off from a private site near Bath to a landing site adjacent to an industrial estate near Salisbury. Fuel load on departure was 220 kg, and takeoff weight had been calculated as 1706 kg, 100 kg below the maximum allowed. The weather was suitable with a light westerly wind. The intended landing site was a clearing in a wooded area between an industrial site and a river. The pilot had not previously landed there but had previously seen the landing area from the air. The pilot approached the site from the west, before turning to conduct an overflight at about 500 ft agl. He reported flying a steep approach into the site and establishing in a stable hover in ground effect. As he lowered the collective lever and the helicopter started to settle, it reached what the pilot considered to be an unacceptably tail‑low attitude. He therefore lifted into the hover again with the intention of re-positioning. The pilot manoeuvred the helicopter upwards and rearwards, whilst keeping the landing area in sight. After initially lifting to about 30 ft with the tail clear of obstruction, he was unable to determine a more favourable landing area so continued the climb. At about 60 to 70 ft the pilot noticed the tone of the main rotor RPM change, suggesting a reduction in RPM. He instinctively reduced collective input, believing the decline in RRPM would be transient. However, RRPM did not appear to recover and the helicopter liFe, Winter 2012


helicopter started to sink. At this point, the helicopter was to the side of the intended landing site and over tree tops. As it started to descend, the pilot pulled the collective lever up positively. He then heard pronounced popping and cracking noises and sensed a further reduction in RRPM. He did not recall any appreciable yawing motion. With RRPM dropping significantly and the flight controls appearing to lose effectiveness, the pilot steered the descending helicopter towards an area where the tree tops were lowest, whilst attempting to keep its nose from dropping. The helicopter came down through the trees; the pilot thought it struck the ground in an upright attitude but then rolled over onto its left side. The pilot switched off the engine, but was unable to identify the engine throttle or manual fuel cut-off lever in the damaged roof panel. The front seat passenger appeared unconscious. The pilot exited the aircraft through the broken front windscreen area and saw that flames were coming from behind the engine cowlings. With some difficulty, he was able to locate the throttle control and retard it to idle. This action reduced engine speed and noise but the flames persisted. He retrieved the BCF fire extinguisher from the cabin and discharged it fully into the engine air intake, the engine stopped and the flames died down. He helped the rear seat passenger from the helicopter and then the front seat passenger, who had regained consciousness. onlookers from the industrial site soon arrived, including one with a large Co2 extinguisher which was discharged into the engine area. The pilot was 51 years old and had 5400 hours of which 47 were on type.

Westland Scout AH1, G-BXRR The helicopter departed Thruxton with three passengers aboard, and arrived over the landing site in Northamptonshire. The site was a grassed area with no ground markings adjacent to a hotel car park. The weather was fine, with a surface wind from 330° at 5 kt and a temperature of 19°C. The pilot flew a ‘full recce’ of the site before making an approach to the grassed area. The helicopter was calculated to be approximately 80 lbs below its maximum landing weight at this point. As he flared the helicopter it did not slow down as quickly as he expected so he increased the flare attitude, following which the helicopter’s tail struck the ground. The helicopter started to yaw to the right, so the pilot immediately lowered the collective lever, which resulted in a heavy landing. The pilot and his passengers were uninjured and able to vacate the helicopter normally. The pilot was 49 and had 206 hours of which 34 were on type. 65





Ol Pejeta in Kenya Pictures by Georgina Hunter-Jones


here are two types of zebra in Kenya, the Grevyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and the common zebra. This is a sequence of a mother and foal in November, the month of the short rains and consequently fertility, a month in which lots of young animals are born and are out on the plains learning how to defend themselves.

Helicopter Life winter 2012  

Fabulous photographs and content of interest to anyone who likes helicopters