Blades March 2011

Page 1

Fresh air for helicopter pilots, owners and operators

MARCH 2011 ISSUE 16 £2.75

DEFYING THE SANDS OF TIME It might be more than 40 years old, but the Gazelle still flies like a newcomer says Dennis Kenyon


A pilot's view of one of the toughest jobs in aviation


Eurocopter's new facility for the offshore industry


World Class‌ innovation




At last, the long awaited Robinson R66, a fiveseat turbine helicopter, has achieved FAA certification and is now available for you to fly and for pre-order at Sloane Helicopters. We are the UK's leading supplier of helicopter sales and services with the emphasis on unparalleled quality and exceptional customer care. We offer Agusta and Robinson helicopter distribution, an engineering centre of excellence, an acclaimed helicopter flying school, ground transportation and helicopter transfer. In addition, we offer a world-class service in the fields of helicopter maintenance, design, modification, installation, customised avionics, training and operations.



We also proudly operate client and company-owned Robinson and Agusta helicopters in our busy and diverse Flight Operations Department. Our commitment to leading the way in innovation, technology, safety and reliability is what makes Sloane Helicopters so different. It is what sets us apart in the world of Aviation. The Sloane way of doing things - exceptional technology applied to the everyday needs of aviation. For more information on what Sloane Helicopters can offer you, call now on +44(0)1604 790595 or email us at

flight operations


FLIGHT TEST Dennis flies one of the fastest civilian helicopters – the Gazelle



NEWS Cabri G2 gets emergency floats. Bell 412 upgrade. New Bell project. SAR. Carter PAV first flight

FEATURE Eurocopter's new service centre, boasting pilot training and full customer support

MARCH 2011 ISSUE 16 £2.75

DEFYING THE SANDS OF TIME It might be more than 40 years old, but the Gazelle still flies like a newcomer says Dennis Kenyon


LETTERS The Sate of SAR. Engine development. A fixed wing pilot askes why are heli pilots so dull?


Fresh air for helicopter pilots, owners and operators

#16 March 2011


A pilot's view of one of the toughest jobs in aviation


Eurocopter's new facility for the offshore industry


DENNIS On how clear communication is essential in aviation and will save countless lives

P34 FEATURE Ian Grosz explains the life and difficulties of being an North Sea offshore pilot


FIRST FLIGHT Paul Cornu, the man credited with the first ever manned, untethered vertical flight

EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Dave Calderwood e: ✱ Editor Dave Rawlings e: ✱ Creative Director Bill Spurdens e: ✱ Art Director Dan Payne e: ✱ Editor-at-Large Dennis Kenyon ✱ Chief Photographer Dave Spurdens w: ✱ New Media Helen Rowlands-Beers e: ✱ ADVERTISEMENT SALES Sales manager Dave Impey e: ✱ MANAGEMENT Director Sam Spurdens e: Director Dave Foster e: ✱ Head Office: +44 (0)1223 497060 LOOP Digital Media Ltd. 9-11 The Mill Courtyard, Copley Hill Business Park, Cambridge CB22 3GN ISSN 1749-7337 March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters


NEWS All the best stories from the helicopter world

✱ The test team flying the G2 with its new Emergancy Floats Equipment


FLOATS APPROVED FOR CABRI G2 EASA ok for emergency floats on French two-seater


HE Guimbal Cabri G2 two-seat helicopter has been certified by EASA for use with emergency floats. Bruno Guimbal, founder and boss of the French company told BLADES that EASA delivered its Major Change Approval for the Cabri G2 Emergency Floats Equipment (EFE) in early January.

“This very innovative equipment was developed in partnership with the world specialist Zodiac Aerazur,” said Guimbal. “Certification involved two flight and water test campaigns and several live firings at flight envelope boundaries. The first Cabri equipped with this EFE entered service in Monaco.” The Cabri’s emergency floats do not change the helicopter’s performance

BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011

nor its flying qualities and can be deployed at up to 140kt, said Cabri. The EFE system appears to be very compact with the gas cylinder to inflate the floats hidden in the luggage compartment, where it causes a negligible penalty in useful volume, says Guimbal. According to the company, an airline cabin-size suitcase will still be able to fit inside the G2's luggage compartment.

The inflation hoses are enclosed inside a landing gear bow fairing, and the arming and triggering switches are integrated in the panel and on the collective lever. The floats are folded in two clusters attached to the skids, which double as steps, and can be removed by the pilot easily thanks to quick-release fittings. The landing gear and the handling wheels remain standard.

An electronic sensor triggers the floats deployment in an emergency situation when the helicopter touches down on water, in case the pilot lacked reaction or time to do so, which happens in more than half the occurrences, says Guimbal. The next mod for the Cabri G2 will be airconditioning, due this summer.

07 P8


Bell announces an engine and cockpit upgrade for its popular 412


UK SAR deal shelved. First Agusta Grand goes into service for the Air Ambulance PHOTOS Robin Moret

What to look out for at the world's biggest helicopter show, HeliExpo

✲ ROUND THE WORLD ALOUETTES BOW OUT SWITZERLAND Eurocopter EC635s are to replace the Swiss Air Force’s Alouette III helicopters after 46 years of service and more than 300,000 flight hours. The Alouettes – made by Sud Aviation, now part of Eurocopter – were used for training, passenger flights, and rescue and disaster operations. A total of 20 EC635s replace 32 Alouettes – the last was decommissioned at the end of 2010. The EC635 can be used in a variety of military applications such as SAR, EMS and can also drop eight troops and a pilot to their destination.

AIRSPACE OPENS ✱ Touching down safely, the test team complete another landing

CHINA Private helicopter flights began in January with a pilot project on the southern island of Hainan. Four helicopters flown by eight pilots will take part in the two-month experiment, the official Xinhua news agency said. China’s airspace is under tight military control limiting the possibility of private flights. A flight plan still has to be approved by the authorities, a process that could take up to a week. But authorities recently announced a loosening of the rules for low-altitude flights.


✱ The G2 with its floats neatly packed away on the skids

ITALY AgustaWestland is to provide a state-of-the-art advanced simulator for Rega, the Swiss SAR and EMS operator. It will be a Level 3 Flight Training Device/ Level B Full Flight Simulator featuring a GrandNew light twin with IFR cockpit, and will offer VFR/ IFR single and dual pilot flight and mission specific training for both SAR and EMS pilots and crew. The simulator will help familiarise pilots with the hitech GrandNew cockpit which includes a Flight-Logic Synthetic Vision EFIS with a Flight Management System, Helicopter Terrain Awareness Warning System, Highway In The Sky and embedded flight recording functions.


✱ The triggering switch is easily reachable on the collective lever

BRAZIL Bell's new light twin, the 429, has been given Brazilian certification. This is the latest in a long list of approvals, including certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Canada (TC) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Brazil, who has a huge helicopter industry, is seen as a very important market for Bell – the 429 is expected to do well there thanks to its hot and high performance, and flexible cabin. Bell is expecting deliveries of the 429 into Brazil to begin in the first quarter of this year.


✱ Armed and ready to be deployed, should they need to be

RUSSIA The second prototype of the new Mi-38 medium-class passenger/transport helicopter has made its first long-haul flight. The Mi-38 took off in Kazan, where the manufacturer, Kazan Helicopters, is situated. It covered over 800km and arrived in Moscow to continue its testing program at Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. The prototype is fitted with two Pratt & Whitney PW127/5 engines and a glass cockpit avionics suite by Tranzas. The first prototype of the Mi-38 began its testing back in November last year. A video of the flight, in very wintry conditions, is available on the Russian helicopters website. March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

08 NEWS Bell 412 upgrade, New offshore ATC first UPGRADE

BELL UPGRADES ENGINE AND COCKPIT FOR 412 A Bell's workhorse to be given more power and new avionics for 2012 S part of its product modernisation, Bell has announced a plan to extend the capability and performance of the 412EP helicopter which Bell claim will be available to customers in 2012. “Upgrading the capabilities of the 412EP is part of Bell Helicopter’s overall focus to revitalise the products and support

we provide to our commercial customers. It is one more example of our commitment to providing the mission solutions needed by our customers,” said Larry Roberts, Senior Vice President at Bell. “The Bell 412EP is appropriately known as the ‘workhorse of its class’. The 412EP’s increase engine power and a modern avionics suite will accommodate

✱ The multi-role 412 will benefit from its new upgrades as early as 2012

BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011

a wide range of mission applications. Our customers told us what they need and we are delivering,” said Roberts. The engine upgrade, in partnership with Pratt & Whitney, provides a 15% engine SHP increase, improved OEI and Hot/ High performance and introduction of Electronic Engine Control. The upgrade will yield a 1012% increase in CAT A /

PC1 & PC2 performance, increased hot/high capability and provides a path for a future upgrade that will increase the range and payload of the 412. The cockpit upgrade will provide a modern glass cockpit based on the avionics of the 429. "Leveraging features from the 429 makes sense as we work to bring improvements to our customers," added Roberts.

Other upgrades planned for the 412EP platform include a tail rotor upgrade that will eliminate the need for pre-flight visual inspection and a communication system upgrade that will be compatible with civil standard headsets, eliminating the need for military-style, lowimpedance microphones and earpieces.


BELL WORKING ON NEW HELICOPTER BELL Helicopters has told its employees in a memo that the company is about to start developing a new helicopter which it has codenamed ‘Magellan’. No details were included in the memo other than it was formerly called ‘Project-X’. The team leading the development will be headed by Larry Thimmesch, VP of Commercial Programs. Speculation about the helicopter being considered cover many possibilities but the two favourites appear to be: 1. A development of the now-ageing mediumtwin Bell 412 with the aim of going up against AgustaWestland’s highly successful AW139, Sikorsky’s latest version of the S76, the D, and Eurocopter’s soon to be certified EC175, or 2. An entry level single-engine turbine to replace the JetRanger and meet the challenge of Robinson’s new R66 Turbine. Bell’s joint venture with AgustaWestland, the BA609 Tiltrotor, is due to meet its conclusion and be ready for Type Certification this year.

WORLD FIRST FOR NORTH SEA FLIGHTS THE North Sea oil and gas rigs now have a new air traffic control system that is a world first. Oil & Gas UK and NATS, the UK’s air navigation service provider, has announced the world’s first operational use of wide area multilateration technology for tracking offshore flights. Helicopters in transit to and from oil and gas platforms in the North Sea are now visible to air traffic controllers from takeoff to landing, increasing the safety of helicopter traffic and efficiency of emergency rescue operations. The system uses signal transmitters and receivers fitted to offshore oil and gas platforms to track helicopters at a much greater range than radars. Previously, helicopters would be lost to shorebased radars 80 miles from land. This new system follows flights from runway to platform in real time. It allows air traffic controllers to keep safe separation between helicopters operating around the platforms and provides vital, time-saving, details on helicopters’ locations in the event of an emergency. “This is a major step forward for safety, as we can now offer a traffic service to aircraft in the North Sea and pinpoint helicopters in emergency situations,” said John Mayhew, NATS’ general

✱ ATC can now track helicopters more accurately manager, Aberdeen. “It also enables more direct routing of helicopters to and from offshore platforms, which delivers environmental and efficiency benefits.” The system uses signal transmitters and receivers fitted to 16 offshore oil and gas platforms (four clusters of four platforms) in the central area of the North Sea, to track and identify individual helicopters. These transmitters will cover 25,000 square miles of sea, in real time. When a helicopter leaves the 80 mile shorebased radar zone, its transponder responds to an interrogation signal sent from a platform, which is then sent back and detected by receivers on each of the four platforms in a cluster. Only three signals need to be received in order to provide a position for the helicopter, but the fourth signal both increases accuracy and gives some redundancy should a signal not be received. The data is then sent

to the control tower at Aberdeen Airport where it provides real-time information for the air traffic controllers. The offshore industry Helicopter Task Group was instrumental in helping to expedite delivery of the multilateration system. The project began in 2004 and was officially unveiled last year. Since then, successful flight trials have taken place, the system optimised and training undertaken by Air Traffic Control staff. The multilateration system went live in midDecember last year. Robert Paterson, health, safety and employment issues director with Oil & Gas UK, welcomed the launch, adding: “I am very pleased to see this system go live now. “This is a considerable step forward in helicopter safety and typifies the sterling work done by the Helicopter Task Group – to drive important safetyrelated projects to a successful conclusion.”

✱ Bristow will be one of the beneficiaries of the new ATC system

March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters



MAY 17, 18, 19, 2011 | GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

EBACE is the perfect venue for Companies who want to showcase the essential role business aviation plays in supporting jobs, mobility and economic opportunity in Europe. This premier business aviation event will feature Exhibits, an incredible Static Display of Aircraft, Education Sessions and Maintenance & Operations Sessions (M&Os) – all located at the magnificent Geneva Palexpo and Geneva International Airport.

For more information visit:

news UK SAR, Carter PAV, EMS Grand



uk sar deal on ice L Allegations of improper conduct lead to bank withdrawing finance available, there will be no deal. According to reports in the UK’s Financial Times newspaper and also on Channel 4 TV, there is concern over access to information during the bidding process and the relationship between a military officer in the Ministry of Defence, and CHC Helicopters, one of the companies that is part of the Soteria Consortium. Soteria comprised CHC, who would operate the SAR-H service, Thales UK (technology provider), RBS (finance) and Sikorsky, whose popular S-92 would have been the helicopter of choice. These would replace

q The Sea King, coming to the end the ageing Westland Sea King helicopters. Ministers in the UK’s newish Coalition government, opened up the deal on taking office to see what potential savings could be

made. One possibility was to take out any military involvement – prompting Prince William, recently qualified as a SAR-H pilot with the RAF, to question the decision with Prime Minister

new metal

first test

carter pav passes first flight tests THE Carter Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) has completed the first phase of flight tests. The PAV began flight-testing in October 2010 with the goal of refining flight control systems. Taxi tests

David Cameron. The new service would replace more than 40 helicopters operated by the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and the Maritime Coastguard Agency.

were followed by short hops down the runway and after each test refinements were made to the controls. Almost all flight controls on the PAV are automated and controlled by an onboard computer. During

q The Carter PAV perfromed well during Phase one of tests

testing the computer software was refined several times to improve flight control and increase aircraft performance. Highlights of the flighttesting were the PAV’s first flight, the first 30 minute and the first jump take-off. According to Carter Aerospace President, Jay Carter, “We decided to breakdown the PAV flighttesting into two phases so that it would be easier to validate the control functions of the aircraft. For take-off and landing it’s an autogyro. For cruise it’s a fixed-wing. “We have now tested and refined the autogyro segment proving that we

have the capability to do jump take-offs and zeroroll landings. This is a huge accomplishment for us. A major advantage of our technology is its vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability.” While the PAV only logged a few hours of flight time during Phase I, much more extensive flight-testing will take place during Phase II when Carter will add the 45-foot wing section to the aircraft. Carter will then begin expanding the flight envelope by transitioning the lift from the PAV’s rotor to the wing. www.carteraviation

grand ems

THE first Agusta EMS Grand into the UK has gone into service with the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance, one of the busiest regions in the UK. The Grand is the largest of the light twins in EMS operations and G-HEMZ has been modified by Sloane Helicopters to include the medical, navigation and essential radio equipment. “The Grand offers medical crew a spacious space to operate in, including access to the whole body of the patient," said Sloane.

March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters


AST year’s £6 billion deal between the UK government and the Soteria Consortium for the UK’s Search and Rescue Helicopter services appears to be in tatters following allegations of improper conduct during the bidding process. One of the Soteria Consortium partners, the Royal Bank of Scotland, has pulled out of the deal. At the time of writing, government ministers were waiting for the outcome of a Ministry of Defence inquiry before taking any decision however, RBS’s withdrawal would seem to have scuppered the deal. With no

12 news Heli Expo previewirst flight heli-expo 2011

the biggest show on earth

There’s enough rotor based news, products and educational courses at Heli Expo to make your head spin. So what can you expect at the biggest helicopter show in the world?


ELI-EXPO is the show to attend if you’re involved with helicopters in any way, shape or form. Not only will all the major manufacturers be on display, there will also be maintenance services, accessory makers, new innovations, training solutions, a job fair and even finance and leasing companies all on show to dazzle you with their products and services.

This year the show is being held at the Orange County Convention Centre, Orlando Florida from March 5-8. The convention centre covers nearly one million square foot, and more than 100 countries will be represented at the show giving it a truly global feel. At last year’s show, held in Houston Texas, AgustaWestland launched the Grand New, Robinson staggered the crowd with its announcement of the

q Sikorsky stand - what will it show this year?

BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011

price for the R66 and Garmin showed off its new all-glass VFR G500H in front of 17,000 attendees. Manufacturers like to keep their cards close to their chests, but with more than 600 exhibitors attending this year’s show, something new and exciting is bound to be there. Bell is expected to expand on its Magellan project (see page 8), AgustaWestland will no doubt be showing the new AW169, MD will be showing off its new Exquisite VIP interior for the Explorer and you can expect much more. In total there will be 65 helicopters on the show floor but the majority of exhibitors are being very coy about what they will have on show. Another major part of the show are the education courses. Each course targets issues of specific concern to operators, pilots and maintenance engineers,


The convention centre covers nearly one million sq ft

which the organisers claim will provide current and comprehensive information essential to success in today’s rapidly changing environment. The courses include safety management, threat and error management, how to deal with in-flight emergencies, maintenance management and plenty more. There are 23 courses in total (see right hand side panel for full listings). If you’re going to go for the social side of the event then don’t miss out on the Salute to Excellence Awards Dinner. This is

the gala evening of the show and tickets can be bought as late as noon on the day of the dinner itself (Monday March 7). This year celebrates the 50th anniversary of the awards and honours people in the helicopter industry – "for those with remarkable talent and professionalism and whose courage and skill have saved lives in extreme conditions". It is a fantastic spectacle and a true celebration of the pilots and crew who have risked their lives to save others. Ticket prices for the dinner start at $85 for the evening. HAI, the organiser, has also made deals with the local hotels and rooms can be booked for as low as $125 per night. And finally, when your done with the show, you can always go to Disney World and visit Mickey Mouse and his highvoiced chums!


eDUCational CoUrses q The R66,

getting plenty of attention

q 17,000 attended the show in 2010

q 65 helis will

be on display this year

All courses below are being staged during this year's Heli-Expo. Course prices vary so be sure to check with the organisers saFetY CoUrses •Safety Management Course Providing individuals with the skills required to develop, implement, and manage an organisational safety system. •Advanced Safety Management Course Offering the knowledge necessary to design, develop, implement and manage a Safety Management System (SMS) according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). •Pilot Human Factors: Threat and Error Management Emphasis on identifying threats that lead to human error. •Safety Management Systems for Leaders Aimed at giving executive managers the knowledge to develop realistic and cost effective strategies to implement SMS. pilot CoUrses •Flight Instructor Refresher Course For instructors looking to hone their skills with the latest developments in standards, regulations and flight instructional techniques. •Vertical Reference Long Lining Course An introduction to advanced level long-line flying course in a seminar format. •Single Pilot Cockpit Resource Management Explaining the management of resources for pilots working on their own with special reference to decision making with minimal information at hand. •Helicopter Pilot Decision Making How to make good aeronautical decisions resulting in the safe, successful outcome of each and every flight. •Mountain Flying Ground School Highlights the basics of mountain flying. •Flying in the Wire and Obstruction Environment Identifying the hazards but also shows crews how to detect wire before they can actually see it. •Dealing with In-Flight Helicopter Emergencies Dealing with how pilots are made aware of things going wrong in a modern helicopter. •IFR Refresher for Helicopter Pilots This unique program was designed for the Instrument Rated Pilot and provides an update and review on IFR regulations, procedures and techniques. •Military to Civilian Workshop This workshop provides information to enable the service member to make career decisions and explore possibilities, making the transition to civilian life easier. MaintenanCe CoUrses •Helicopter Maintenance Management Designed for those who will maintain aircraft and install components in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and pertinent. •Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance Workshop to equip aviation maintenance technicians with the skills necessary to enhance safety and therefore, reduce aircraft maintenance errors. •Advanced Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance Examining the human role in the chain of events that cause an aviation occurrence and develop ways to prevent the occurrence. •Safety Management Systems - Maintenance This workshop will be of value to decision makers as they strive to achieve aeronautical excellence. •Record keeping and Regulatory Compliance Covering aspects of record-keeping techniques and systems. ManageMent CoUrses •Helicopter Operator Management Designed to give managers of civil helicopter operations the skills needed for success in today’s operating environment. •Defining Direct Operating Costs Giving participants a better understanding of how to control the costs associated with a helicopter operation. •How to Supervise People A powerful seminar that will propel your supervisors to achieve gold medal performance levels. •Advanced Helicopter Operator Management Helping managers of civil helicopter operations sharpen their management tools.

March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

Know More.

LETTERS Your opinions and views



Welcome to BLADES new letters page. Your chance to tell us what you think of anything and everything in the rotary world. Just email us at

PHOTO MoD/Crown Copyright

+ JOB HUNT Boost your chances + ADVICE Ace the interview + PILOTS Tell all + MARCH 2011 ISSUE 65 £3.40







SS •





IT saddens me to see the state of the Search and Rescue service in the UK at the moment. A system that has worked well for many years is now in disarray thanks to the government trying to sell off another institution – you can’t put a price on lifesaving! I can’t see how a private, profitmaking organisation can make this system better. The customer will still be the government and their needs will differ from the end user (ie the person in danger). Will there come a time when the government won't pay anymore and therefore the private owners of SAR will not go out on missions anymore? We need the military and coastguard to stay in charge, not the private sector. I hate to agree with the likes of Bob Crow [general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, who said, “This whole sordid and botched episode shows that the raw

LOOP For March LOOP is celebrating the Tiger ORIGIN STORY Moth and what it takes to keep it flying. Accompanied by a beautiful photo shoot and interview with one of Britain’s foremost Moth lovers Henry Labouchere. The flight test is the classic, and eye catching Cessna 180. News takes an in depth look at the new superpowers in GA that are emerging out of Asia. But don’t forget about the regulars such as Aeros with Alan Cassidy, Bob Davy gives us his view on the world, there’s also the third and final part of our commercial pilots training supplement as well as all the latest products, Flight Club, aircraft sales and much more. INSIDE COMMERCIAL FLIGHT TRAINING GUIDE: PART 3



+ C E S S N A 1 8 0 S K Y WAG O N +

One of Cessna's most-loved all-time classics, which bears more than a little resemblance to its current big sellers


+ MOTHS Expert insight + NEW Flight Design four-seater + PLAN Best events to see +

P1 P1 is covering the fourengine Avro RE-BORN RJ business jet as its main flight test – P1 writer Bob Davy flies one for a living. If you’re looking to buy a business jet, don’t do anything until you’ve read P1, there is an in-depth feature on buying such an aircraft, with all the legal aspects covered. Ultra, the luxury section, has a look at Eurocopter's EC135 special edition, the Hermes, plus the new supercars from Aston Martin and Ferrari, and there’s also a mini flight test on the Tecnam Twin P2006T. Plus all the latest news in the business world, Dossier – which looks a the latest values of pre-owned jets and what you can expect for your money. To subscribe visit NEWS · EVENTS · FLIGHT TESTS · PEOPLE · AIRCRAFT DETAILS · COMMENT P1 MARCH 2011 £4.50

Do you agree or disagree with any of the letters above? Or have any other opinions? If so, drop us a line at the email address above to get your point across.

Also out in March is BLADES sister magazines LOOP and P1. LOOP will give you your GA fix and P1 is our eminent business jet title, and here’s what they will be bringing you this month:


GOOD TO SEE I read with great delight that the future of the world famous Bell 47 helicopter seems to be in safe hands for the forseeable future. Scott's – Bell 47 [SB47] has acquired the Type Certificate for the 47 from Bell Helicopters and has a plan to supply spare parts for the 1000 or so 47s still flying. There are also rumours that should SB47 find an

GIVING IT ALL THAT OK, I'll come out with it, as it has been bothering me for months now: Why are helicopter pilots such insufferable bores? Piloting has more than its fair share of those who like to tell you 'how things should be', but put a helicopter pilot in a room and he'll be the one lecturing all and sundry about the sun and the moon and the uselessness of fixedwing. Give it a rest! We're all tired of hearing 'how it's so much harder than flying fixed-wing'. I know you all have to pay twice as much to qualify, and your clattering Heath Robinson devices cost around 10-times as much as a comparable aircraft to buy to fly half as quickly, but does that give you the divine right to be the snobs of flying? Last time I checked, we're ALL pilots! You'll excuse me if I don't identify myself – I couldn't take the ear-ache! – Name withheld, via email. ED: We won't mention point to point travel, home storage, instant reaction time, residuals, the rotary job market, mission versatility... Jealous perhaps?



ROTARY ENGINE DEVELOPMENT I CANNOT find references in aviation to rotary engines, namely for the Wankel engine and its variations. I think it is worth further investigating this important development, which has shown great improvements over the last few years in areas such as the seals, low weight, reliability, fuel consumption, very low vibration and especially the power to weight ratio – certainly better than the current aircraft engines on the market. – Robbie Nicholson. ED: The firm pushing development hardest in rotary engines is Mistral, who currently have a 300hp version on the verge of certification, and have plans for further models of varied output. Seeing it in action is very impressive – they rev it to maximum rpm with a glass of wine balanced on top, and it barely ripples – and it sounds a peach

engine as a source of supply then the 47 might even go back into production. I for one think this is great news and I, for one, would love to see more of these classic and iconic flying machines in the skies again. – Ian Smithfield.


USA GETS TOUGH I WAS pleased to read that the US Senate has passed an amendment that will crack down on people pointing laser pens at pilots. I think it’s about time. According to reports, the number of incidents reported to the FAA doubled in 2010 to nearly 2,800. The reports claimed that this was due to laser pens becoming easier to purchase. In my opinion the figure is just far too high and too many imbeciles are getting let off far too lightly. I just hope that other nations and authorities take note and change their laws as well. I would like to think that this might happen before a major incident of a pilot being blinded and a ‘worse case scenario’ occurs. Let's hope the governments of the world act after the horse has bolted. – Paul Collins. ED: We couldn't agree more Paul. In fact there is a case going to court in California, US at the moment. Kevin Wayne Foster of Shasta Lake

has been told to stand trial for four counts stemming from a potentially dangerous helicopter incident in December last year. If he is found guilty he could face up to four years, eight months in prison.


GOOD WORK DENNIS AFTER reading the feature with the Essex Police [BLADES Feb] I was really impressed with the insight Mr Kenyon gave. I’m a recreational pilot of only a few hours, based in Spain. I always thought of helicopter flying as a hobby, but I would love to get my hands on some of the toys the Essex police get to play with. I never realised how intensive the work is when the ASU is on a mission. The article has genuinely sparked the idea that I might be able to start a career in he helicopter industry. Thanks Dennis. – Diego Martella



NEW LIFE FOR OLD How the short-field specialist four-engine big bird is finding new and unusual uses as a business and VVIP aircraft

✱ A Royal Navy

Sea King, still saving lives

greed of the private sector should never be allowed anywhere near life or death rescue services on the high seas. Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money has been wasted and the whole plan should now be scrapped, not shelved.”] but he does have a point. The current system works perfectly well – even in the ageing

Sea Kings! I would hate for the service to go downhill – we all know how well the rail system works now! - Nigel Hammond Jr ED: This is certainly a hot topic at the moment. It seems that at time of going to press the government his ditched the pans to sell off SAR for now, but with the planned cut-backs, it still might go ahead in the future.




March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters


LOOP is the UK’s most influential and biggest circulation General Aviation publication. Published monthly, it provides the latest news and analysis, stories and stunning flight tests of aircraft ranging from high performance piston or turboprop aircraft to kitplanes and Light Sport aircraft.

Benefits include: + Delivered straight to your door + Get your issue before it’s out in the shops + Save nearly 25% on the UK cover price + Just £24.95 for 12 issues (within the UK) FOR AN ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION TO LOOP, CONTACT THE SUBSCRIPTION DESK ON +44(0)1223 499799 OR EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS@LOOP.AERO

loop subscribe.indd 5

28/02/2011 20:50

COLUMNIST Dennis Kenyon


Dennis Kenyon former freestyle helicopter aerobatics world champion, display pilot and flying instructor writes for BLADES



FTER mishearing a recent conversation, that could've caused many problems, which I won't go into here, it did decide my subject this month: communications. How so? Well, it can cause major issues, and in flying this could be the difference between life and death, so I thought it important. We’ve all heard the story of two commercial pilots thundering down the runway for take-off. The Captain sees his co-pilot appears miserable, and says “Cheer up!”, at which the first officer raises the gear prematurely. Of course, ‘Gear up’ was what he was expecting and what he thought he heard. Here are two personal moments of communications failure. The first was demo-ing an Enstrom 280C Shark to a potential purchaser who owned two Alsatians. Helicopters emit a variety of sounds of extreme frequencies, many beyond the human ear but which can excite canine friends. I was especially careful, briefing, "Please keep the dogs on the lead until I

✱ Dennis with

an Enstrom, and no dogs!

have landed.” My careful brief was very wrong. I touched down and disconnected the rotors for the standard two-minute shut-down procedure when I was most alarmed to see the owner’s dog bound towards the helicopter, barking and leaping up at the rotor blades. Fortunately the slowing blades were still high enough to prevent the dog making contact, but almost immediately the animal moved round to the rear of the helicopter and snapped up at the spinning tail rotor blades with disastrous consequences. That accident was my fault, but can you tell me what my brief should have been? Personal incident No.2 concerned another Enstrom. I’d been asked to display the latest 280 FX model at the 1999 Biggin Hill Air Fair. The multiblade Enstrom makes a good ‘freestyle’ machine but while displaying at the 1986 World Helicopter Championship at Cranfield, I suffered a tail rotor (T/R) failure. During a maximum power climbing manoeuvre, the up-going T/R blade intercepted the left pedal control cable which in turn

wrapped itself around the transmission resulting in gearbox seizure. The fix was simple. For display flying, a tightening of the turn buckle cable to the maximum permitted MM (maintenance manual) figure and the renewal of any oil-softened rubber T/R blade flapping stops. Display day was a Saturday with no engineering staff on duty but as I carried out the standard pre-flight check, the company’s Chief Engineer happened to be present in the hangar. I asked, “Have the predisplay checks on the tail rotor been completed?” “Yes Dennis, all OK,” came the reply. That Biggin Hill event was my 980th public display and once again I snapped the cable and lost tail rotor control. The post-incident investigation revealed a classic case of poor communication. The Chief Engineer said he thought I wanted the MM cable tension figures to be simply checked which he had done, but had not been asked to re-tension the cables or change the flapping stops. Again my fault for


That old chestnut 'Don't assume - check' comes to mind

not explaining the display requirements in detail and assuming he knew them! That old chestnut ‘Don’t assume – check’ comes to mind. For Enstrom owners, I hasten to add the problem was resolved by the manufacturer by moving the control cable exit point further inboard – apparently now known as ‘the Kenyon hole’! But communication misunderstandings can have significantly more serious consequences. On a foggy afternoon in March 1977 almost 600

lives were lost when Jacob van Zanten, the Captain of a much-delayed KLM Boeing 747, thought he had ATC clearance to take off from Tenerife’s Los Rodeos airport and promptly collided with a taxiing PanAm 747 as it joined the ‘fogged-in’ active runway. The KLM aircraft was given an ATC ‘airways joining’ clearance. Due to a ‘Heterodyne’ R/T interruption as both pilots made simultaneous transmissions, the KLM Captain Van Zanten took off before the other aircraft could vacate the runway. Only 50 passengers on the PanAm flight survived. One of the accident causes was officially given as ‘the use of non-standard’ radio calls when Van Zanten called, “We are now at take-off” as he was actually barrelling down the runway to rotation speed. Today’s pilots know we don’t talk about clearing runways any more. We ‘vacate’ them to avoid misuse of the word ‘clear’. A final story worth repeating concerns the helicopter pilot’s standard clearing turn prior to takeoff. I was carrying out a proficiency check on Barry Sheene, the motorcycle racer. Barry, God bless him, was a highly safetyconscious and aware pilot, but as flying experience and hours build, safety discipline can suffer. Barry completed a nice 90-degree look-out turn observing “Nothing coming. we’re off.” I decided it would be a good time to install a personal safety mantra and stopped the take-off transition. I believe the look-out turn should be conducted to see ‘what is coming' as I take the view that if you are expecting to see nothing that is exactly what you will see! If you expect to see conflicting traffic and if it is there, you will see it! As always, I wish you many hours of enjoyable and safe flying.

March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

18 feature New Service Centre


The oil and gas industry would not survive without the use of helicopters. Dave Rawlings went along to Eurocopter’s opening of its new Service Centre in Aberdeen – home to the helicopters of the North Sea offshore industry


ITH programmes such as Mary Portas: Secret Shopper being televised at prime time, it would seem that customer service is fast becoming a thing of the past. But Eurocopter disagrees, customer priority is the

company’s mantra at the moment and that’s why it has opened a new 20,000sq ft service centre in the heart of the oil and gas industry and on the site of Europe’s busiest heliport, Aberdeen. The new centre aims to provide pilot and crew training, technical support

BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011

and logistics for three of its biggest customers in the oil and gas industry, CHC Helicopter, Bristow and Bond, all based at Aberdeen. Marcus Steinke, Managing Director of Eurocopter UK, said at the opening of the centre: “This whole facility is here just for our customers. At this moment in time

we are here for the oil and gas industry, but it will also be capable for wind farm operations in the future.” Eurocopter plays a huge part in the North Sea offshore industry, with 100 helicopters in the region, 76 of these are EC225s, and this is the main helicopter that the service centre will

cater for. “We are here for our customers and their operations,” said Steinke. “We will offer support for our customers in five main categories; logistics, dynamic component repair, technical support, the service centre and the simulator for pilot training. “Our three main customers


in Aberdeen fly more than 100,000 flight hours a year, in what can be a very hostile environment. They work an airline-type of operation, delivery crews and cargo, so they need to have helicopters available at all times,” he added. With its new base in Aberdeen, Eurocopter can offer better support for the large number of 225s. With its logistics centre and its planned dynamic component repair, downtime is kept to a minimum. Eurocopter says technicians working on aircraft could have a replacement part as quickly as 45 minutes due to having all major and frequently replaced parts on site – that means no waiting for the part to be sent away, overhauled, and sent back.

The technical support team will be on hand 24 hours a day for the customers, should they have any issues and the service centre has meeting rooms and facilities for customers and rest areas for pilots during their training. Eurocopter states that although there is a lot of emphasis on the engineering side of the centre, the safety side is just as important and represents half of the £10 million budget that went into the centre. “The oil and gas industry provides our most demanding customers and as their supplier we have to be close. Training, parts and service has to be within easy reach. Spare parts have to be available, maintenance less so due to the companies

q ABOVE: Eurocopter's Aberdeen service centre has everything needed for North Sea offshore helicopter operators


Our technical support staff are on hand to offer service 24 hours a day

having their own technical staff but if they have questions then our technical support staff are on hand to offer service 24 hours a day,” added Steinke. Eurocopter puts a huge emphasis on its after-sales activities and says that in 2010 after-sales brought in 35% of its revenue. “Thanks to the focus on our customers, our worldwide footprint has grown by 50% in places such as India, Dallas, France, China and Singapore,” said Steinke. With new simulators and logistics centres being built around the world it seems that the Aberdeen centre will be Eurocopter’s blueprint for its oil and gas service centres, with plans to build similar centres in China, Brazil and Malaysia.

The SIMuLATOr The EC225 simulator is a big deal for Eurocopter and its customers. It represents £5million worth of investment and is only the second one in the world. It is a full motion system with six degrees of freedom and a field of view that is 210 degrees horizontal and 80 degrees vertical – which even exceeds the highest Level D full flight simulator. Indra built the simulator, a company offering technology based solutions and services for the transport and energy markets. Derek Sharples, a former SAR pilot and Executive Vice President, Support and Services at Eurocopter explained why it chose Indra: “At the planning stage we ➽

March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

20 feature New Service Centre

were impressed by Indra’s technical competency and good reactions to our individual needs. "When we spoke to our customers about their needs, they didn't need a Level D simulator, which would cost more for them to use, they were happy for a Level B. However if we need to grow, along with Indra we can upgrade the simulator." To make the simulator as realistic as possible it also benefits from vibration and the noise of an EC225, as well as having 18 different oil rigs loaded in the database for the closest possible likeness. The texture of the landscape is also realistic as possible because this helps the pilot with position and movement – never more important than when used in a Search and Rescue

mission. The Sim has special features for SAR flying, including flares, people in the water and boats. "Our customers have been telling us they need easier access to training, notably to simulators. We have listened and we are responding to those needs," said Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling. "This is in line with Eurocopter's reinforced commitment to improving flight safety by providing simulated alternatives to real flight," he added. Rupert Hibbert, head of global training programmes at Eurocopter, knows how much safety means on the North Sea, “We have a separate room for debriefing our pilots. Most helicopter incidents don’t happen because of one mistake, they happen because a

BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011

q CLOCKWISE FROM MAIN: Flight training in full swing; Derek Sharples (l), Lord Provost and Marcus Steinke; the logistics team with bicycles to help deliver parts


We have full FLIR training and Night Vision Goggle capability

few problems lead on from each other. So instead of the instructor stopping the sim straight away, it can be played out to its full conclusion and then the pilot and instructor can go and watch the playback in a separate de-briefing room, giving the pilot a better understanding of where they could have gone wrong. “We also have full FLIR camera training, and Night Vision Goggle capability for Search and Rescue. This is also in a separate room to the simulator but the third crewman will be operating the camera and communicating with the rest of the crew. This also works as a standalone piece of training equipment.” With this, only the second EC225 simulator in the world, Eurocopter expects

the Aberdeen to become a hub for pilot training. At this current time the annual usage of the sim looks to be from 2000-5000 hours. CHC and Bond have both committed to 1000 hours each, but Eurocopter states that it has the capacity to double, “It’s not an exclusive club, other people are welcome to use the simulator – we’re here as a win/win situation for our customers and operators, it's not a competition,” said Derek Sharples. The Future Despite what the common public theory is, the oil and gas industry is still growing in the North Sea. Out of the 100 Eurocopters working in the North Sea, 84 are for crew change and rig work and the remaining 16


are for Search and Rescue (SAR). But customers are buying new machines and increasing their fleets, so the future of Aberdeen looks strong. “This facility is a 20 year vision. It’s nowhere near full and when it is we have the ability to expand. We can be very dynamic by being here in Aberdeen. We want our customers to be able to rely on us 100% so we have a 24 hour service – most of the maintenance is completed during the night to minimise the time on the ground during operating hours, so we have to be able to service them during the night as well,” said Derek. “This is a highly reactive centre and we believe we can deliver parts within 45 minutes of the customer requesting them. We will have a selection of the

most used parts, as well as critical components. This will eliminate a huge amount of waste time for our customers. In fact some even phone up and ask us to go over to their hangar and have a look at the problem. Jean-Philippe Santini, our head of technical support, will go over there and help them out,” he added. The centre is built for use today but can encompass future rotorcraft and developments in the energy industry. “Aberdeen could be the first home of the EC175. There is space for it here as well as room for another simulator that could be the 175,” said Marcus. The EC175 looks like it will play a large part in the future of the North Sea’s offshore work. Eurocopter has 114 orders from 14 different

q CLOCKWISE FROM MAIN: The relaxing crew room for teams on training; the debriefing room; the entrance for the centre


The EC175 will play a large part in the future of the North Sea

customers and is currently converting those orders into solid contracts. The seven-ton helicopter itself has been built with the oil and gas market in mind. As well as having SAR and EMS capabilities, it can seat up to 16 passengers and will have a range of 270nm, perfect for delivering crew members to the rigs further afield. Other helicopter that would have potential in the offshore work would be the company’s X3 (or X-Cube). “The X3 is a technology demonstrator for us at the moment, but as an OEM we want to explore the boundaries of technology,” said Derek. “For 2011 we’re planning on testing it to 220kt as well as moving it into a full test programme. Due to the X3’s speed and ease

of maintenance we believe there will be a market for it,” he added. Eurocopter is preparing for when oil is no longer a viable source of energy in the North Sea. “We predicted that by the end of this decade we will have 20 helicopters based in Aberdeen for working with the wind farms. The work required will be for smaller helicopters as there will only be two or three crew members that will need to be winched down onto the platform,” said Marcus. “With wind farms helicopters have to be more dynamic, the results need to be instant, because as soon as the turbine stops spinning it stops producing energy so getting engineers onto the turbine as quickly will be very important,” he added.

March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

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BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011

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ec135 receives STC for evs Max-Viz and One Sky Aviation have announced FAA STC approval for its Enhanced Vision System on the Eurocopter


HE POPULAR, multi-role EC135 now has the extra ability to see in the dark with the Max-Viz Enhanced Vision System, the EVS-1500. The twin-engine helicopter is popular with police forces worldwide and with 24 hour operations the norm, it makes sense for the EC135 to have another option when it comes to Enhanced Vision Systems and thermal imaging cameras. The EVS-1500 is a lightweight weighs just 2.26kg for both the camera and power module), solidstate thermal imaging camera that benefits from a pilot selectable dual field of view; a feature that

q At just 1.13kg the Max-Viz camera is a light weight

allows pilots to select wide angle or telephoto views of the world in front of them. Max-Viz claims the wide angle gives maximum peripheral visibility during ground operations and the zoom provides early runway acquisition and detection of incursions during takeoff, approach and landing. One Sky Aviation, owner of the STC, has included a remote cyclic switch (instead of just a single panel mounted electro-optical switch) which provides the capability to change the field of view of the sensor, which has a pilot controlled optical zoom feature. The EVS-1500 is already available on the EC-135 through the Eurocopter

q The camera has two views, telephoto and wide angle

factory in Germany, however, this STC will support the large numbers of aftermarket platforms and make this capability available to operators who are looking to add an EVS to their EC135 helicopter. 
Cary Foster, Owner of One Sky Aviation said, “The EC-135 is one of the most broadly utilised rotary wing platforms within the industry. “The incorporation of a new generation latching logic relay switch from ViviSun, gives us the ability to include the control mounted switches. “We have worked very closely with Max-Viz to develop this STC to fit the wide configuration and operational needs of the EC135 community.” The price for the system is $84,000 (USD), but instillation costs will need to be added, this can vary greatly and can take fifteen man hours to install. WHERE TO find it

airwolf is back! If YOU'RE sitting down with this copy of BLADES in your hands, chances are you’re an Airwolf fan – it might even be why you have a career/life revolving around helicopters. Well now you can relive it because Airwolf the ‘movie’ is, for the first time, now on DVD and Blu ray. This is the original feature-length, pilot episode. If your memory is struggling to recall Airwolf’s story line it was set as a futuristic adventure about a billion dollar helicopter (it was

a lot back then!) capable of 300 knots with 14 firepower options. When mercenaries steal the helicopter the CIA, enlists the help of Vietnam veteran Stringfellow Hawke in an attempt to recover Airwolf. The DVD costs £12.99

q Looks like a Bell 222!

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a piece of History THESE stylish cuff links are from genuine parts of World War Two Spitfires and Lancasters. Time Honoured take actual pieces of aircraft, either recovered by archaeologists from a crash site or salvaged when the aircraft were decommissioned, and set them as centre pieces in handmade silver and gold cuff links. The Spitfire cufflinks are made from parts of

Merlin engines that were in ‘bailed out’ aircraft from the Battle of Britain. The Lancaster cuff links come from fragments of the famous 617 Squadron Dam Buster Lancaster.

q A little touch of class

led lights

shine a light DART Helicopter has just received EASA and Transport Canada approval for its LED Pulse Lights for Bell aircraft. The lights will install on any DART Dual Cargo Mirror for all Medium Bell aircraft, including the 204/205/210/212//214/412. LED lights are brighter than conventional incandescent bulbs and provide superior forward recognition in limited visibility conditions or high traffic areas. LED lights are also durable and consume less power than

incandescent. DART claim the pulse unit mounts easily in the avionics bay and the lights are controlled by an overhead circuit breaker switch.
 The lights only consume 2amps and have a claimed life of 30,000 plus hours. www.darthelicopter

q 1000 lumens in power

q The EVS-1500 fitted to a Bell 206, now certified for Eurocopter's EC135 March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

24 flight test AĂŠrospatiale Gazelle

photography David Spurdens

The Gazelle: Ahead of its time The Gazelle broke the mould when the prototype was first designed 44 years ago – can it still cut the mustard today? Dennis Kenyon finds out

BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011


March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

30 flight 26 FEATURE test Flying Aérospatiale with the Essex Gazelle Police


ain is hammering down against the windscreen of my car. Visibility is a bare 500 yards. Certainly not the best day to be flying! But I’m scheduled to fly a classic helicopter that has become a legend, a charismatic helicopter that has been around longer than I’ve been a rotary man. I track to a helipad at Binham just off the Norfolk coast east of Kings Lynn. There, the object of my affection awaits on the helipad, the property of Jeremy Taylor. The helicopter is that wonderful product of the French helicopter industry and a lady that started life in the mid 1960s, that charismatic, one-time war horse, the Aerospatiale and Westland Gazelle, and at last I am to fly her. So you might ask, as a 14,000 hour rotary man covering 32 types (now 33) why should I get so excited about flying a helicopter with a fifty-yearold design? Here’s why.

A blistering performance, 21st century ‘Star Wars’ looks, a 550shp Astazou turbo-shaft engine, that will get the airframe to 20,000ft and then whisk it along at 190mph true air speed. The Gazelle has a ‘stump puller’ reputation with an ability to lift four heavily-armed servicemen and fly them 400 miles. And for me, the best of all is its aerobatic performance, especially when in the hands of the experienced Royal Navy ‘Sharks’ display team. Getting started By mid day, I’ve arrived and meet my one-time colleague from the ETPS flying, Jeremy Taylor, who is very much the entrepreneurial type running a successful dumper-truck leasing business. He learned to fly twenty years ago using the Robinson route at Sloane helicopters, now the owner of the 1976 AS Gazelle I'm to fly. Jeremy knows his Gazelle well and as my instructor I’ll be able to fly

BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011

right-hand seat as Captain under supervision. Jeremy shows me the ‘walk round’ and I’m intrigued to note the ‘live’ airframe mounting which allows the fuselage to ‘yaw’ relative to the skid alignment. The engine panels are opened to reveal the compact Astazou 550shp turboshaft engine (most helicopters have a free turbine) Jeremy tells me that all the system couplings are quick release allowing an experienced team to complete an engine change in one hour. On the right hand side I find three sight glasses for the main transmission, gearbox oil and a reservoir for the hydraulic system. We move round to the ‘Fenestron’ tail rotor assembly. I ask about the oft-reported LTE (loss of tail rotor effectiveness). Jeremy explains it is fairly rare, but which can happen in a brisk ‘two o’clock’ breeze. The fix is effectively to maintain the required correction and allow normal yaw pedal


Opening the cabin doors leaves a gap a Mini could drive through

q Opposite: The 'virtually vibration free' Gazelle hovering over the North Norfolk beach. Below: Dennis and Jeremy practicing some aeros

control to re-establish itself. Randomly pumping alternate pedals doesn’t solve the problem. The only downside I know is the ‘Banshee’ whistle of the thirteen T/R blades at certain angles. Unlike its exposed military cousin, the tail rotor drive shaft of the civil version has covering panels. The Gazelle was also one of the earliest machines to use fibre-glass main-rotor blades. The three-blade head is a neat assembly with folding blades, steel leading edges and abrasion strips. The M/R hub is a solid piece of Westland engineering. Opening the cabin doors leaves an entry gap that you could almost drive a Mini through! Both doors pin forward nicely allowing access to the rear cabin via a smaller door. Inspection hatches are operated by pilot friendly closing catches. So no trapped fingers a la Bell 206. Moving on round, the filler cap for the flexible fuel tank sits below the mast. Standard capacity is 435 litres of JetA1. An auxiliary tank can be fitted providing a further 80l. I slide into the right hand seat to get started. Relative to the AS Squirrel or the Bell Jetranger, the Gazelle sits quite low on the skids but I am happy with the pilot’s position – adjustable seats AND pedals. The instrument panel? There’s little sign of the type’s military ancestry having a fairly modern layout. I like the presentation, neat, logical and readily scanable. With cabin windows from floor to mast, the visibility is a firm ditto. Pushing a pre-flight check list into my hand, Jeremy shows me the flying controls and instruments. Above my head are three quadrant levers, reading left to right, a long handled rotor brake, a smaller throttle lever and a similar size fuel shut-off

30 flight 28 FEATURE test Flying Aérospatiale with the Essex Gazelle Police

control, wire locked in the ‘open’ position. I’m wondering how much force I’d need to break the wire and disconnect the fuel supply in an emergency! I’m also mildly amused to read in the PFM that the specific gravity of different fuels mean that the contents gauges will not always be accurate, except when empty! Forward of the levers I note the usual vents for the heating system and on the instrument panel below we have a horizontal row of caution lights. The remaining panel contains the standard flight instruments including a switch cluster for the engine start sequence. I’d have to say that some switches seemed haphazardly placed, but having said that, once I was airborne, there was no difficulty locating the required control, but I suspect flying military IFR might be a different kettle of fish. When fitted, the Stability Augmentation System sits below the panel. While mentioning the SAS I can only report what my good friend, Pat Malone has to say. ‘The SAS works through the existing pitch change

q The precise cyclic was too sensitive at first, but Dennis became a fan by the end of the flight test jacks by using a parallel electromechanical doubleended jack. This receives its control information from three gyro controlled computers under the floor.’ It is a highly effective system which allows the pilot to hold a selected attitude quite accurately. Pat Malone says he "could fly this helicopter as straight as a die". I was hoping I could! The collective lever is home to the hydraulics on/off switch, same for the landing light and R/T mute. Collective friction is mounted aft on the lever. Cyclic friction is at floor level operated by a largish knurled nut. The collective lever possesses two detents, being the Intermediate Pitch Stop. (IPS) and a Maximum Pitch Stop. (MPS) Jeremy shows me that the lever has a wheel calibrated for OAT which is set so that in flight, the lever can be pulled to the IPS setting without reference to the torque meter. Pilot inputs are responsible for operation between the two detents with an

BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011

ever present caution against over torquing. The engine start system seems to be a forerunner of today’s FADEC system and uncomplicated. The fuel pump is switched ON for 20 seconds – a ‘listening’ feature to check operation – when the three-position start switch is moved to the RUN position which sets the compressor running. At 15% gas producer (2000rpm N1) the switch is moved to IGN as the fuel HP cock is opened using the push/pull fuel control. If necessary, control of JPT (TOTs or T4) can be made using the boost pump in ON/OFF mode. The engine becomes self-sustaining around 20,000 to 24,000rpm and settles at an idling 26,000rpm although I felt the tiny gauges didn’t actually permit accurate readings. In the event of an unsure start, the sequence can be stopped by returning the start switch to OFF. As with most turbines, engine JPTs need to be pilot monitored. Normal idling temperature sits at around 300 degrees, with a five-minute maximum of 610 and 700 degrees during start-up. Max

continuous is 580 degrees Rotor blade engagement is simple as I follow the check list. Rotor brake OFF and judiciously advance the overhead throttle lever from ‘ground gate’ to ‘Flight’ when the clutch cuts in automatically. As the rotors circle, I’m amused at the odd ‘yaw wobble’ from the airframe as it sits on the dedicated skid suspension. As the throttle is steadily advanced to the gate, the turbine governor holds the N1 at around 43,000rpm. If the rpm ‘runs away’ to 47,000, the start must be rejected. We complete the take-

off checks and I’m ready for my first lift, desperately trying to remember to use my right foot as I raise the lever. New tricks and old dogs do I hear you say? Rotor brake off. All three overhead levers are fully forward. A final check of Ts & Ps. Check all services and frictions are where I want them and I raise the collective. Instantly I’m doing a good ‘jitter-bug’ impression as I chase a stable hover. Now where’s that bloody SAS? A quiet word from Jeremy arrives in my headset. “Relax Dennis. Try a tad more right pedal.” I find time to check the


torque setting. A healthy 70% with three up and even with a full fuel load I’ve power in hand as I get to grips with a half decent hover. The Gazelle hangs positively right skid low and I’m not finding the sensitive cyclic all that easy, but I am improving. My first impression is there is virtually zero vibration which is always a massive ‘plus’ in any helicopter. I’m finding the cyclic movements need to be especially precise. No whacking the control around on this machine. I’m settling in and my random yaw has almost gone. Now I’m beginning

to enjoy my lovely lady! I look across to Jeremy who nods in the direction of the windsock. It’s showing a gentle easterly breeze as I air taxi to the grass runway and with a quick look-out pedal turn, I nudge the cyclic forward and bring the lever up to 75% torque. By the time I’d looked down again for the airspeed, I was already at 80 knots with the ground below dropping away fast and the VSI reading 1,500 feet per minute. “Go for IPS” comes over the intercom and as I find the first lever detent, torque is indicating the maximum continuous of

q As the sun sets Dennis and Jeremy get the feeling of being in the Royal Navy 'Sharks' display team


My first impression is there is virtually zero vibration

82%. Now the VSI passes the 2000fpm marker. Within seconds I’d zoomed to 500 feet. I looked up where the general cloud base appeared to be around 1000ft so I level at 750ft QFE. Now I’m looking down for the slip ball to check for balance. Blast! Not enough right foot. Jeremy places an advisory finger on the instrument as I centre the ball. I’m holding straight and level as I check for speed, now showing a whisker over 135 knots. With increasing speed, the Gazelle’s tall chunky offset fin is asking for left pedal, so I spend a minute

getting the hang of the effects of changing speed. At last I’ve time free to feel the ‘Gazelle experience.’ This thing is a god. Super fast, harmonised controls, virtually vibration free and as I back off to 70% torque, I’m still showing 125 knots! Yes, this thing is fast. But even though I’ve been airborne for less than ten minutes, I’ve never flown any helicopter where I’ve felt so comfortable in such short time. This helicopter is the dream machine I’ve always suspected! Now I’m wondering how to get this rocketship slowed down for the

March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

30 flight test Aérospatiale Gazelle

How the gazelle was freed from its cage IN THE late 90s, the ex-Royal Navy Gazelles came on the market selling for under £100k, and a few years earlier a similar Gazelle could be purchased for half that! The reason? The CAA refused to issue an airworthiness certificate for the ex-military type, other than a ‘Permit to Fly’ with such restrictions that turned the five-seat helicopter into a single-seater. A situation that bordered on the ridiculous. Take a helicopter the Government had operated for 30 years and flown for three-quarters of a million hours into war zones. And even with the maintenance records of 100 military ships to examine, the CAA decided there wasn't enough technical information to approve its airworthiness and refused to allow passengers onboard. The ’Permit conditions’ were farcical. The aircraft could descent. “Try 30%,” I hear Jeremy say and after a pause to think I squeeze in left foot and drop the lever. A firm aft cyclic nicely sheds the speed to a comfortable 60 knots in the descent. At around fifty feet I flare with cyclic, add more left pedal and, as she settles, I’m raising the lever for a six-foot skid height into wind hover. Now I can gingerly lower the lever to settle on the firm sand. I’m smiling across to Jeremy. I’m a very happy bunny for this opportunity to fly an airborne Ferrari. Into wind, crosswind and downwind, the sure-footed Gazelle does all she is asked. This is flying bliss! With Jeremy’s

encouragement, I move on to a few wingovers. Hell, I am enjoying this! So far, Jeremy has given me the controls 100% but I need to see some advanced exercises as we head back to base. I hand back the controls for a practice hydraulics failure. The exercise has a 95 knot limit. “No, you do the handling,” Jeremy commands as he begins with a count to three and switches hydraulic power to OFF. I will say that while the ‘hydraulics out’ straight and level flying is easy enough, the lower speeds in the descent are a handful and the heavy controls would make it easy to enter the dreaded ‘Dutch Roll.’ At the higher

not be used for any form of public transport or flown over any urban area. Only flight crew essential to the aircraft’s operation were allowed, which brought about the situation of 80-year-old ‘grannies’ and ten year-old Johnnies being nominated as ‘navigators’ and ‘ground handlers.’ And the ANO said that the aircraft could only fly in the country where the Permit was issued. Happily, I can report that a few months ago, the CAA realised the errors of past inspectors and the ex-military Gazelle can now be flown under an AAN (airworthiness approval notice) with passengers so Johnny, along with granny, is allowed to fly, albeit not as ‘fare-paying’ passengers. Prospective buyers should now watch out for the upward trend in prices, and I forecast that the Gazelle’s ‘cheap as chips’ days are long gone. speed, I managed a reasonably smooth ‘runon’ landing touching ‘skids down’ at 30 knots. Back to 1,000 feet for some steep turns, all as expected while I’m imagining I’m back in a Hawker Hunter. Jeremy takes control to demonstrate a series of 180 degree ‘wingovers’ which were an absolute joy and not dis-similar to other types I’ve flown. To complete our sortie, I asked to see the autorotation descent and a ‘no-engine’ landing. For my part the ‘engine-out’ exercise was very much a non-event and not far off the benign handling of Bell’s docile Jetranger. Rotor operating rpm range

q In profile the Gazelle oozes a military design that is hard to ignore


This helicopter is the dream machine I've always suspected!

is 310 to 430. A standard lever down at 70 knots with plenty of left pedal produced a steady state autorotative descent towards the grass runway. I note the VSI showing 2000fpm. I think I may have been late introducing the cyclic flare as Jeremy joined me on the controls with a more solid flare at 50 feet and a smidgeon of collective to reduce the rate of descent and wash off forward speed. Around ten feet skid height and not forgetting the long fuselage, a gentle forward nudge of cyclic and the Gazelle was settling quietly on to the grass as Jeremy pulled in the remaining collective to cushion


THE GAZELLE – A HELICOPTER OF FIRSTS THE GAZELLE was originally produced in the mid 1960s by the Aerospatiale factory as a ‘lightweight’ utility helicopter for the French Army. The advanced design was quickly recognised by the UK military and in 1967 a deal was struck to allow the British company Westland to build 300 Gazelles and around 50 Pumas for the UK Armed Forces. Aerospatiale developed the type following long experience with the successful Lama and Alouette designs. The Gazelle uses an all-enclosed airframe and made use of the first ‘Fenestron’ tail rotor assembly which offers a lower noise level and better safety. The type was also the first to employ carbonfibre ‘composite’ main rotor blades. In 1970, the Yeovil factory performed the final assembly of the first British version, now designated the WG 341. The same year the Gazelle established three world speed records: 296kph over a 3km closed circuit, 310kph and 312kph over a 3km and a 25km straight line course. A record from London to Paris was also established at an average speed of 282kph. In 1972, the UK Civil Aviation Authority certificated the WG-342 civil version and I especially recall my invitation from the UK’s first official dealer, Roland Absalom to attend its introduction at Battersea. I was astonished to see the ASI showing 165 knots as Roland’s demonstration pilot took me down London’s H4 Heli-Lane along the River Thames. A still more powerful Astazou single-spool engine arrived in 1974. Some military versions were specially adapted for ‘hot and high’ conditions. Many variants were produced as other countries quickly saw the potential of the type. In typical style, our American

the landing. I believe any pilot graduating from a Schweizer 300 or Robinson would find the engine-out exercise significantly easier in the Gazelle which says much for a 40 year old design. Finally Jeremy invited me to try some wingover exercises and all I can say is, the Gazelle handles as though it’s on rails in the sky! The precise cyclic, which I had come to like, and the nicely coordinated collective controls produced several polished manoeuvres; for a few moments I had joined the Royal Navy ‘Sharks’.. Time to land and shut down. The check list tells me: Throttle lever to IDLE Start switch and Battery


Other countries quickly saw the potential of the type friends produced a ‘stretched’ airframe version being a few inches longer (20cm) to allow improved passenger comfort. Using a more powerful Astazou 111 engine and fitted with twin 7.62 machine guns and four ‘HOT’ missiles, the type saw service in the Falklands conflict, the desert warfare in Kuwait and Iraq, and in the Kosovo campaign. Ultimately twenty-five countries used the Gazelle mainly in the training and utility roles and the type was also built under licence in Yugoslavia and Egypt. In time, the type’s role was taken over by the more advanced models such as the Hughes AH64 ‘Apache’ but the Gazelle is still used for light transport and liaison in many theatres.

MAKE YOUR FLYING EASY! Let skybookGA™, the most integrated on-line pre-flight briefing service for the GApilot, take the pressure off planning your next flight OING flying this weekend? Will you be off to the south coast, working your way down through the busy air corridors of Luton, Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick plus a host of other active airfields? Before you go, you need to know the best route, with the best information at your disposal. So, who do you turn to? It has to be the experts. Turn to skybookGA, the most integrated briefing service available, which ensures the relevant information for your flight is available wherever you are, whenever you want, before you set off. INDUSTRY EXPERTISE The service was created by flight planning experts Bytron, behind commercial flight briefing services used by major airlines, NATS and airport authorities. skybookGA is a spin-off from this professional commercial programme. When Bytron was formed 1984, its objective was to provide electronic briefing systems that would dispense with the uncertainty of fax and paper trails that hindered reliable data provision. Their mission to abolish unwieldy processes brought great benefits to professional pilots – and now GA pilots too. skybookGA benefits from the lengthy development process that went into the professional service. Rightfully known as ‘the

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flight test Aérospatiale Gazelle to OFF. And that’s all there is to it. Apart from applying the rotor brake below 170Nr to stop the blades at 12 o’clock. Over the years, I’ve spoken to many Gazelle owners and without exception not one of them told me they regretted their purchase. Now I know why! You too could join this very special club of Gazelle owners, I know I would like to. As for maintenance support, there are a few EASA Part 145 companies who have the staff, experience and facilities to keep you safely airborne. Hosssein Seylani, Chief Engineer of MW Helicopters, heads up one of the leading Gazelle service organisations in the UK, provided me with some figures. The military airframe is lifed at 9,000 hours. The Astazou at 1,750 or 2,500 hours depending on actual model, with the transmission being 2,450 hours which should be more than most private owners could ever use. Jet A1 fuel burn in the cruise is around 130 litres an hour. So if the Gazelle is so good, how much does she cost to run? Perhaps not as much as you might expect. Overall direct operating costs can be highly variable but would be in the region of £300350 an hour. But you’d need to consider insurance and the extra fixed costs of course. William Heddle of the insurance company Haywards Aviation tells me for an experienced pilot, underwriters will quote a figure for the Gazelle hull CSL (combined single limit) of around 4-5%. I close by thanking Jeremy Taylor for his hospitality and patience with my inexpert handling of his helicopter. If anyone would buy his machine and join me getting up to air show standard, just say the word!


For a few moments I had joined the Sharks display team

q The forty year old design hasn't aged the Gazelle, it's still a looker!

q Clockwise from main: The cockpit with a 'greenhouse' amount of glass for a fantastic field of vision; the fuel tank holds 454 litres of JetA1; Jeremy shows Dennis the quick release catches for fast engine swaps quick; the cabin with both doors open create enough space that a 'Mini could drive through'

GAZELLE SA3412G PERFORMANCE Max speed 167kt Cruise 142kt Ceiling 16,405ft Rate of climb 1770ft/min HIGE 9185ft HOGE 7215ft Range 362nm SPECIFICATIONS Power 2 x Turbomeca Astazou IIIA turboshaft producing 590hp Rotor ø 10.5m, 3 blades Tail rotor ø 1.0m Fuselage length 11.97m Height 3.15m Seats 2 pilot + 3 pax Mtow 2000kg Empty weight 908kg Useful load 1092kg Fuel capacity 454l March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

38 Feature 34 Oxo x ox oOil xoxooxo rig flying xo xo xxox q The Puma being refuelled on one of the offshore oil rigs

BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011


flying whatever the weather

North Sea oil rig flying is seen as one of the most challenging careers in the helicopter world. Ian Grosz explains the highs and lows of flying in the toughest of conditions


ANY prospective helicopter pilots have their sights set on the North Sea – a very professional and often demanding sector of the industry. Flying in the North Sea can be likened to flying in the fixed wing airlines in terms of the rules and regulations that govern it and in the culture and approach of operations. The big difference is, of course, that in this case pilots fly to destinations that are often literally mobile – in every sense of the word. Not all oil rigs are fixed platforms, routed to the sea bed; often, they are semi-submersible, floating platforms which move around the world drilling for new oil fields, or large vessels with pitching, rolling and heaving helidecks. All of these facts make this type of flying unique and presents the pilot with an unusual set of challenges. The North Sea oil and gas industry is both costly and notoriously fickle and with production definitely past its peak, the larger oil companies are beginning to shift investment to emerging sectors overseas. Despite this, there is still a huge amount

of oil to be recovered and the exit of the big players is making way for many smaller, entrepreneurial oil companies that are taking advantage of the gap by exploiting the smaller fields or taking over existing ones. Indeed, exploration continues and new fields are still being found, as well as more efficient extraction technologies extending the life of the older, larger fields where more oil than previously thought possible can now be recovered. In addition to this, decommissioning projects increase the number of personnel and equipment required offshore, in turn, making the future bright for the main helicopter operators in the sector. The main base of operations is Aberdeen in the North East of Scotland, dubbed ‘Europe’s Oil Capital’, with the airport at Dyce having by far the largest number of helicopter movements per day. Other bases in the UK include Scatsta in the north of the Shetland Isles, Humberside, Norwich, North Denes and Blackpool, which serves the gas fields of the Irish Sea off Morecombe Bay. Helicopter operations are dominated by three main

ian grosz oil rig pilot Ian started in the helicopter industry through Bristow Helicopter's Cadet Pilot Sponsorship Scheme in 1999 and trained at Helicopter Adventures Inc (now the Bristow Academy in Florida) in Concord, California. Ian then completed an Instrument Rating with Bristow and a Super Puma AS332L type rating. Bristow lost a large contract and along with six other cadets Ian transferred to CHC Helicopters. He then received two years as a P2 on the North Sea and then went to Ireland to fly SAR on the S-61, before returning to Bristow for a couple of years to fly SAR out of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. In 2007 Ian joined Bond as a direct entry Captain and worked on the Jigsaw Offshore Search and Rescue contract for three years before coming back to North Sea CAT operations late last year. In his spare time Ian likes to fly light aircraft.

companies; these being: Bond Offshore Helicopters, Bristow Helicopters and CHC Helicopters, all with a similar share of the work, though Bond is currently going through significant growth and expansion. Pilots working for these companies currently enjoy the best terms and conditions that the industry has seen for many years, with ‘equal time’ rosters and pay and other benefits roughly equivalent to the major short haul airlines. For any pilot with a CPL/H and most importantly, a JAA IR, finding even a first job in this sector is not as difficult as many might believe and offers a great lifestyle. Unlike many pilots, North Sea pilots are home each night and typically work either a seven days on, seven days off or five on, two off, five on, nine off rotation. Bond run a five on, two off, seven on, seven off roster pattern, which provides two weekends in three to spend with family and friends as well as the week off after every couple of weeks of work. There is leave in addition to this roster pattern, typically allowing for three lots of a couple of weeks a year or in some instances, one long block of four and a shorter spell as well. From a flying point of view, though the industry is now most definitely an ‘automatics’ culture, in line with the introduction of the latest generation helicopters such as the EC225 and Sikorsky S- 92, which have fully automated four axis autopilots, FADEC and full glass cockpits, pilots on North Sea operations still fly more hands on than your average airline pilot and in often challenging conditions. Generally speaking, pilots operate in a much more dynamic environment than perhaps they would flying to and from airports and although the industry is very heavily regulated and the North Sea is the safest offshore helicopter sector in the world, there are still many potential hazards

when compared to other types of flying. This is due to the changeable and often atrocious weather encountered over the North Sea as well as the unusual nature of the destinations. An off-shore helicopter pilot can expect to operate to rigs and vessels sometimes more than 200 miles offshore in all weathers, with winter icing, summer thunderstorms, fog, high winds and heavy seas to contend with. Of course, there is the occasional nice day too. Typically pilots fly around five hours a day in either one long trip or two shorter ones, with a maximum flight time limitation of eight hours in any single day. So, what’s involved in a typical day ‘on the line’ flying in this challenging environment? Day in the life Pilots report a minimum of one hour before their assigned flight, which may be a regular, scheduled flight on a long-term contract, or an ad-hoc additional flight requested by a client for urgent freight, for example. Once at work the first thing to do, as in any other area of aviation, is to check what the weather is doing. Again, unlike fixed wing pilots, who receive a ‘briefing pack’ containing all their weathers, fuel loads and routings etc. for the flight, North Sea pilots will review the weather and carry out route planning themselves, before the flight commences. This is again, due to the dynamic nature of the industry, with many last minute changes, problems with alternate availability, especially at weekends when many airfields in northern Scotland close earlier than normal, or simply because of the changeable weather. The last two winters for example, have played havoc with the whole aviation sector and it has been no less challenging on the North Sea. Our planning requirements call for fuel to be carried sufficient for the sector offshore, plus to hold an on-shore alternate with ➽

March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

36 Feature Oil rig flying any approach, holding and reserve fuel on top. During the winter of last year when many airports were closing for an hour or more at a time due to the snow, careful planning and a flexible approach was required! In addition, helicopters in the UK sector only have a limited icing clearance and there must be a 500ft band of positive air above the surface when operating offshore in order for flights to go ahead. If it is anticipated that the flight will be in IMC conditions, this stipulation allows the aircraft to descend in order to shed ice, using the radar to remain clear of surface contacts by five miles to do so. Once ice has been shed, the aircraft can then climb back to Minimum En-route Altitude (MEA), or, if visual with the surface, remain at 500ft to the destination, but this ‘worse case’ scenario makes for pretty nervous flying and crews generally exercise quite healthy doses of common sense when conditions are bad. The Captain always has the last word on whether or not he or she is happy for the flight to go ahead. Once the weather has been checked and taking into account factors such as

those above, crews will plan the route using an elected wind. The wind has greater impact on fuel planning in a helicopter when compared to a 200 tonne airliner for example, so crews are careful and often quite pedantic when choosing winds, always airing on the side of caution whilst at the same time trying to offer the customer the best possible payload. As above, the fuel load will be calculated for the trip offshore, plus an on-shore alternate, which may be a UK or Norwegian airfield, and any approach and reserve fuel. Once this is done, the return leg will be calculated. For each leg, a contingency of up to 15% is added in to allow for routings around significant cloud build-ups or significant differences between forecast wind and those actually encountered. Most offshore installations have re-fuelling facilities and crews will generally plan to refuel offshore before coming back in ‘to the beach’. The return leg is often more straightforward than the outbound trip as crews may plan to come back without alternate fuel provided the visibility is equal to or greater than 4km and the cloud base is no lower than 600ft AAL

q An AW139 about to land on the helideck to unload rig workers and refuel

BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011

(Above Aerodrome Level) at Aberdeen. This means crews have to take into account any cloud below 600ft on the TAF for these purposes, but gives greater flexibility when operating to coastal airfields, such as Aberdeen. A ‘coastal’ airfield in this instance, is one specifically nominated by the company and approved as such by the CAA and when operating to airfields other than those nominated as coastal, crews must carry IFR diversion fuel as with standard public transport operations. So, fuel loads calculated, a payload is passed to the customer and crews will then don their survival suits in preparation for the flight. A product of operating over cold water for 90% of the time is that crews spend much of their flying life wearing brightly coloured, uncomfortable offshore


Once ice has been shed, the aircraft can then climb back to MEA

survival suits with neoprene wrist and neck seals. No shirt sleeves and ties for the pilots and crew here! Uncomfortable they may be, but if the unthinkable should happen (and, although thankfully very rarely, it does), these suits are life saving, increasing survival time in the water from minutes to several hours. About thirty minutes or so from the scheduled departure time, the crew will walk out to the aircraft to monitor the refuel, conduct the pre-flight checks and carry out the start. Team Work Everything check is done as a crew and one pilot will conduct the external inspection while the other organises the refuel and does the internal cockpit and cabin checks prior to the start. During the start up procedure and in all subsequent phases of flight, the crews at Bond are guided by a ‘challenge and response’ checklist, which involves both crew members for critical phases of flight and formalises the two crew CRM concept in the way each pilot actions and monitors each checklist item in turn. Flying duties are split

evenly between the two pilots, with roles identified and nominated during the planning phase. The outbound handling pilot is usually dictated by the landing direction, which in turn is set by the wind direction and the orientation of the helideck offshore, which may be modified by factors such as turbulence and unusual obstructions. Essentially, the pilot with the best view of the obstructions on the approach and landing into wind will be the pilot flying. The role is then reversed for the return trip. For multi-stop sectors offshore, pilots will swap roles dependent on the landing criteria at each offshore installation. The non-handling pilot will carry out the other duties of monitoring and setting the radios, navigation aids, programming the route and filling in the paperwork. This role can actually get quite demanding and very busy, especially on short, multistop sectors offshore. Once the passengers are onboard and briefed, the crew can depart and will invariably take a standard IFR departure programmed into the Flight Management System. This is generally


q Clockwise from main: The Puma in the hangar; ready to go now the snow has been cleared; putting in the flight plan flown, once away from the ground, on automatics. The departure is a critical phase and the crew will brief the actions to be carried out in the event of any malfunction prior to and after, a pre-determined Take Off Decision Point (TDP). The TDP is defined by a height and Indicated Airspeed ‘gate’ reached after transition from the hover. It is based on a Take Off Safety Speed (VTOSS), which is calculated from the aircraft weight and the ambient conditions of the day and is similar in concept to an airline’s V1 speed. The calculated VTOSS dictates any subsequent flight profile that will be flown in the event of an emergency. For any given VTOSS, there will be an associated minimum runway distance required, which the crews must take into account when departing in order to comply with Class 1 performance criteria. These criteria are simply a set of conditions that guarantee that an aircraft can either safely reject a takeoff, or continue safely to flight in the event of loosing one engine during the take-off phase. Offshore helicopters must operate at least to a slightly downgraded ‘Class 2’

performance level, but may and invariably do operate to Class 1 level. Routings offshore are along defined tracks known as ‘Helicopter Main Routes’ or HMRs, which are essentially radials from the Aberdeen VOR, spaced at three-degree intervals. Helicopters fly along odd radials eastwards and even radials westward. Likewise, they will fly at either a standard 3000ft on the way out, or at an odd Flight Level and visa versa for the westbound routing. The outbound journey Once away and in the cruise the workload eases off and crews settle down to contemplate what they might order to eat offshore, or moan about the latest developments in the company, keeping one eye open for any sign of trouble. There is an old aviation saying that goes 'cargo pilots are fat, lazy and happy, airline pilots are bronzed and confident and helicopter pilots are nervously expecting something to go terribly wrong at any moment!' It’s not far from the truth! No offence to any cargo pilots out there. With about twenty minutes

to run to the destination, the non-handling pilot will contact the offshore installation on the radio and request the latest weather updates and a confirmation of the return loads. This is the information that the pilots are most interested in – that and the menu, anyway. Based on the weather information, crews will elect to conduct either an enroute let down, or an ARA (Airborne Radar Approach) to the installation. If crews are confident that they will be able to descend and become visual with the surface by MEA, or by 500ft using the Radar, they will elect to let down and continue the approach and landing under VFR. If the cloud and visibility make this an uncertain prospect, the crew will have planned for the Radar Approach, which is an IFR


Fog offshore means that a go-around and diversion is a common event

approach to the installation using the Radar as the primary means of obstacle avoidance and the GPS as secondary guidance, as well as the installation NDB (NonDirectional (radio) Beacon), if it has one. This second method of approach can be done in one of two ways: by either a straight in approach from five miles at the MEA down to the required minima, or by flying a tear drop pattern from overhead at MEA to a final approach track, into wind, again, at five miles. The minima for this type of approach is a three-quarter mile radar range from the installation and a Minimum Descent Height of either 200ft by day, 300ft by night, or the helideck height plus 50ft, whichever is the greater. The pilot who’s landing it is will monitor the approach, calling out radar ranges, heights, speeds and steerage commands to help position the aircraft ready for the landing, while the other pilot concentrates on flying the approach on automatics. By 3/4 mile the aircraft will be offset to one side of the installation by 15 degrees on the radar and at the minimum descent height. At

that point, if the landing pilot is not visual with the helideck, the crew must go around. Like IFR airfield approaches, the crew may elect to make a second approach but if unsuccessful, must then go around and divert to their nominated onshore alternate airfield. ARAs are flown routinely for both practice and in anger. During the summer, frequent fog offshore means that a go-around and diversion is a common event. Often, crews may divert only to discover that the fog has now cleared and if duty limits allow, will fly back out for ‘another go’. The constantly changing environment means that crews must stay flexible and another axiom of helicopter flying that can be just as true in the North Sea environment goes that once airborne, the plan goes straight out the window! Offshore landings themselves can be hazardous and the landing offshore is again, a critical phase of the flight. Helidecks comply with standard obstacle clearance criteria and dimensions, but the nature of some installations, especially older ones designed in the early days of the industry, can ➽

March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

38 Feature Oil rig flying be more difficult than others. The main factors to consider are obstacles such as crane booms, cables and aerials on the approach, turbulence from the main drilling derrick or up-draught from the deck edge itself, as well as exhaust efflux from turbine exhaust stacks, which, with the added stimulus of pitching and rolling helidecks on vessels, all help make the North Sea helicopter pilot’s life extremely interesting. Approaches are flown so as to minimise the exposure of risk to the helicopter at the ‘committal’ point of the landing. The committal point is the point at which the pilot manoeuvres the machine from a flight path where a continued ‘fly away’ and goaround will be possible in the event of loosing an engine, to one where he/she considers being committed to landing on the helideck regardless of any possible problems. The nature of the landings means that it is impossible to practically comply with Class 1 performance criteria and so all offshore take off and landings are Class 2. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of helicopter landings offshore is landing on ‘bow decks’; that is, on a helideck positioned on the bow of a vessel. Not

only will this helideck be unstable, but with the vessel heading into wind, presents very little visual reference for the pilot landing, who must come forward to the deck edge to ensure tail rotor clearance, facing out to sea, before committing right or left to land on. At night, when there is often no natural horizon, this can be very challenging indeed and there are strict limits on the motion of vessels for landings, which, unsurprisingly, are even more limiting at night. At destination Once on deck, the pilots review the latest weather information passed to them by the helideck crew and consider their fuel requirements in the event of any change in the expected conditions, revising their plan if necessary. Once this is agreed, one pilot will disembark and monitor the loading and distribution of the next set of passengers, bags and freight, making sure to comply with any weight and balance restrictions that there might be. They will also have to monitor the refuel, check the fuel samples and finally sign for any fuel taken onboard. Helideck crews are


Crews must 'de-conflict' with any other traffic before departing generally very good and make life easy for the crews offshore, taking care of the above for the pilots and looking after the passengers’ safety whilst on the helideck. They also provide fire cover for the helicopter whilst it is on deck and during the arrival and departure phases. Passengers, bags and freight loaded, fuel checked and signed for and aircraft given a ‘once over’, the ‘deck’ pilot will get back on board and then both pilots will prepare to lift, passing a departure message to the installation on the return routing, fuel taken and payloads onboard. Crews must make sure to ‘de-conflict’ with any other traffic in the area before departing and consider this in the timing of their lift and actions after, working a ‘local’ traffic frequency to coordinate with other aircraft flying nearby.

q Clockwise from right: Technicians keep everything moving; cranes, one of the obstacles for pilots; and the Puma on the rig

BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011

Once airborne, they will contact the relevant air traffic frequency and request a service from them before climbing to their intended cruising altitude, typically 2000ft but increasingly at even flight levels with the new machines, which are more efficient up to altitudes as high as 10,000ft, the practical limit for unpressurised aircraft. Up until very recently, radar services were not available beyond 80 miles, but happily now are and crews receive an ‘Off-shore De-confliction’ service which operates the same as a regular De-confliction only with reduced separation of 500ft, as opposed to the standard 1000ft over-land. In addition to this increased Radar Cover Off-shore, most aircraft now have stand alone systems that allow their position to be monitored by their company operations on-shore, allowing real time information to be passed and enhancing the speed of Search and Rescue efforts in the event of a ditching or a problem whilst offshore. Recovery to ‘the beach’ is dependent, once again, on weather and will either be a straight-forward VFR routing or an ILS and this phase of the flight is no

different than any fixed wing operation working to CAT I landing criteria, which allows a minimum decision altitude based on 200ft AAL and a Runway Visual range of just 500m, so only the very worst weather prevents us from ‘getting in’. Offshore helicopter flying can be likened to airline flying in many respects and is governed by much the same regulations and culture, but the uniqueness of the operating environment means that it can never be seen as ‘the same job’. It may lack the glamour and travel of airline flying, or the pure fun of overland VFR type roles, but on the plus side, offers pilots a stable working routine, plenty of time off and sociable flying hours (we never fly earlier than 06:30 and never beyond 22:00). Despite the increasing use of automatics, it is still much more ‘hands on’ than fixed wing flying and is likely to remain so, simply due to the nature of the destinations. Like all commercial flying, it becomes routine after a while and there are often periods of boredom in the cruise, but the challenges faced whilst operating a multi-engine helicopter off-shore help to make this a rewarding and satisfying career for any pilot.

March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

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FIRST FLIGHTS Where it all began

41 PHOTO Eurocopter

✱ Paul Cornu, 24hp

and twin rotors. Together achieving vertical flight!

GETTING HELICOPTERS OFF THE GROUND Now that vertical flight has entered its second century, BLADES takes a look at the pioneers who started it all, in France, back in 1907!


HE Wright Brothers kicked everything off back in 1903 when they made their famous first-flight in a fixed-wing. This event prompted two wealthy French industrialists to offer a prize of 50,000 French Francs to the first pilot who could fly a one kilometre closed circuit. A few designers took up the challenge and started producing prototypes of all shapes and sizes – several of which had the ability of vertical flight, theoretically. Within two years of the challenge starting, the French scientist, Charles

Richet, produced a small un-manned helicopter as a first step to building a piloted model, one which he hoped, could take the 50,000 Francs. Richet's design was a failure, but one of his students was to become the famous aviation pioneer. Louis Breguet with his brother Jacques, used the best of Richet's ideas to produce their own helicopter. The Breguet brothers came from an affluent clock-making family that remains in business to this day. Louis Breguet had a considerable understanding of the aerodynamics

✱ The layout of Cornu's twin rotor aircraft

of flight and began experimenting and testing various aerofoil sections that would be suitable for his own helicopter. The Breguet-Richet Quad Rotor design, consisted of four steel-tube girders in the shape of a cross. Four 'bi-plane' rotors were mounted at each corner providing a total of no less than 32 lifting surfaces! Breguet named his machine, Gyroplane No 1. The pilot was centred alongside a 40hp Antoinette engine. The total gross weight to be lifted with a specially selected lightweight pilot was still a considerable 578kg (1275lb). The first test flights were carried out at Douai in France between August and September 1907. There is a report that says the Breguet-Richet machine lifted to five feet, but since the design lacked proper stability, it had to have a man holding a corner. The problem of insufficient power plagued all the early pioneers. Engine power was a major


Engine power was a major problem for designers

problem for helicopter designers. The sheer power needed for vertical lift casts much doubt on whether the 40hp available to Breguet was enough to achieve hovering flight. Meanwhile, however, another Frenchman, bicycle maker Paul Cornu, persuaded his friends to put up sufficient money to design and built a 40 foot long, twin rotor helicopter, which he sat squarely on four bicycle wheels. Cornu's design used a 24hp Antoinette engine and two 20 foot, counterrotating rotors with auxiliary paddle-like wings mounted beneath the rotor disc to provide some stability and control. The gross weight was a much more

manageable 250kg (575lb). But, like the Breguet-Richet machine, Cornu initially found it necessary to employ external handling to obtain adequate control. Nevertheless, it was on 13 November 1907, that Paul Cornu was reported by eyewitnesses to have lifted off unassisted, with, "All four wheels clear of the ground". Paul Cornu himself was similarly quoted, but no supporting photographs have ever been produced. Reports state that the helicopter lifted to two metres, and the longest flight lasted no more than 20 seconds. Nevertheless, it was this flight, the first to fly completely free of any attachment to the ground. Over the next few months, Cornu made many more flights, achieving forward and backward flight on each occasion. Cornu eventually ran out of money and had to abandon all further experiments. But, alongside the Breguet brothers, his pioneering work had proved the principle of rotary flight.

March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters


P1 is our business aviation magazine, published bimonthly. It brings alive the glamorous, exciting world of business jets, turboprops and high performance piston aircraft, with flight tests, news, focus features on business operators and useful facts and figures.

Benefits include: » Delivered straight to your door » Get your issue before it’s out in the shops » Save 35% on the cover price » £40.00 for 12 issues delivered to your door FOR AN ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION TO P1, CONTACT THE SUBSCRIPTION DESK ON +44(0)1223 499799 OR EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS@LOOP.AERO

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KNOW-IT-ALL T-ALL T-ALL Sponsored by Hayward Aviation

BLADES KNOW-IT-ALL SECTION Essential data and spec on all new civilian helicopters


Sikorsky’s next generation in the S-76 range, the D model, is now in production. Upgrades include a composite four-blade main rotor system with optional ice protection, a new ‘quiet’ tail rotor, a ‘glass cockpit’ and autopilot, active vibration control and new engines.

NOTES Price: base price in US$ Performance: manufacturers’ figures Range: on standard fuel load HIGE: Hover In Ground Effect HOGE: Hover Out of Ground Effect Fuel: standard capacity

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IFR /VF R Pri ce (ba se)


AGUSTA WESTLAND 21017 Cascina Costa di Samarate-Va Italy AGUSTA WESTLAND GRAND Top-of-the-range intermediate helicopter providing high levels of cabin space and payload. Flexible layout and large cabin sliding doors. Grand 109 Power 119 Koala Mk11 101 139



168 168 152 167 167

155 154 139 150 165

295 378 301 610 437

AW109 POWER FADEC-controlled twin turbine engines and redundancy in all critical areas, the AW109 Power meets JAR Ops 3 requirements for CAT A ops. 15600 16600 11000 10800 15360

10000 11800 7300 4800 8130

16200 19600 15000 10000 20000

3175 2850 3150 15600 6400

1660 1585 1455 9200 3685

1520 1265 1695 6000 2715

11.70 11.46 12.92 22.80 13.52

8 8 8 33 17

119 KOALA MK11 AW119 Ke is an eight-seat single turbine helicopter designed to provide high productivity and performance at a competitive price. 2 x PWC PW207C 2 x PWC PW206C PWC PT6B-37A 3 x GE CT-7 2 x PWC PT6C-67C

2 x 735 2 x 640 1002 3 x 2527 2 x 1679

4/10.83 4/11.00 4/10.83 4/18.60 4/13.80

Fast, elegant, smooth. See that blue flashing light... What does ‘Koala’ mean? Cuddly? Heavy-lifter favoured by military. Newest multi-role helicopter from AW.

BELL Fort Worth, Texas, 76101. USA BELL 206B3 Latest version of the JetRanger is a tried and tested light single, with low operating costs and impressive safety record. A legend! 206B3 206L4 412EP 407 427 429 430



BELL 412 Medium twin that’s a workhorse for the industry, capable of coping with extreme climates. Wide-opening doors will accommodate a two-ton forklift.

BELL 429 Advanced light twin that’s just completed Type Certification in both North America and Europe. Seats eight, open cabin and flat floor, single pilot IFR possible.

122 130 140 140 140 tba 150

115 112 122 133 138 142 139

tbc tbc tbc tbc tbc 350 tbc

13200 10000 10200 12200 9000 12000 10100

5300 6500 5200 10400 6000 11000 6200

13500 10000 16300 17600 10000 tbc 8300

1519 2018 5398 2268 2880 3175 4218

777 1056 3131 1216 1760 1950 2420

674 962 2267 1052 1120 1225 1798

12.00 12.90 17.10 12.60 13.00 tbc 15.30

5 7 15 7 8 8 9

Rolls-Royce 250-C20J Rolls-Royce 250-C30P PWC PT6T-3D Rolls-Royce 250-C47B PWC PW207D

420 726 1800 813 1420

2/10.20 2/11.30 4/14.00 4/10.70 ?/11.30

Rolls-Royce 250-C40B



Latest (and last?) JetRanger. Stretched version of the JetRanger. Tough guy, says Bell. High performer. Uses adapted military technology. Bell’s new big one. Style and substance.












Lycoming IVO-360-A1A



For enthusiasts only.




ENSTROM Twin County Airport, Menominee, Minnesota. 49858. USA ENSTROM 480B Single-engine turbine finding favour with police worldwide. New version with latest Rolls-Royce RR500 engine being developed. 280FX Shark 480B F-28F


404,900 939,500 404,900

102 125 97

100 115 100

ENSTROM F-28F FALCON Wide cabin seats three. Also a favourite of law enforcement agencies. Has a turbocharged piston engine. More than 600 delivered. 229 375 229

13200 15600 13200

8700 14000 8700

12000 13000 12000

1180 1360 1179

744 816 744

422 544 435

ENSTROM 280FX SHARK 280FX is the latest in the series of Shark piston helicopters. The Shark’s striking and aerodynamic body-styling have won it several design awards.

8.90 9.10 8.90

3 5 3

Lycoming HIO-360-F1AD Turbo 225 RR 250-C20W 420 Lycoming HIO-360-F1AD Turbo 225

3/9.75 3/9.75 3/9.75

Good-looking and fast. Turbine powered five-seater. Favourite of the law.



2 x JFTD12A-4A


Specialist heavy-lifter and fire-fighter.

ERICKSON AIR CRANE 3100 Willow Springs Road, Central Point, Oregon, 97502, USA S-64E












2 x 4500

MORE STATS OVER THE PAGE EUROCOPTER – SIKORSKY March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

44 KNOW-IT-ALL Sponsored by Hayward Aviation

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EUROCOPTER Aeroport International de Marseille, Marignane Cedex, 13725, France. EC120B Smallest in the Eurocopter range, the EC120B, also known as the Colibri (Hummingbird). It’s a 1.6-ton, single-engine multi-mission aircraft. EC 120B AS 350B2 AS 350 B3 EC 130B4 AS 355NP EC 135P2+ EC 135T2+ EC 145 AS 365N3 EC 155B1 AS 332L1 EC 225



150 155 155 155 150 140 140 145 155 175 150 175

120 133 140 130 120 137 137 133 145 143 141 141

383 360 359 329 395 342 334 370 427 427 454 448

AS 350 B3 The ‘Single Squirrel’ is used on a wide range of missions, including aerial work, training, observation, fire fighting and law enforcement. 9250 9850 13285 10165 8450 10000 10000 9600 8596 7050 10663 6350

7600 7550 11200 8325 7080 6600 6600 2530 3773 sea level 7546 2607

17310 15100 16630 15655 13380 10000 10000 17200 15223 15000 9500 13180

1715 2250 2250 2427 2600 2910 2910 3585 4300 4920 8600 11000

990 1224 1241 1376 1490 1455 1455 1792 2409 2618 4510 5281

EC135 The EC135 is a powerful, lightweight, twin-engine multi-mission helicopter that showcases top-notch technology including an enclosed tail rotor.

406 540 540 590 730 700 700 867 1135 1257 2020 2553

11.52 12.94 12.94 12.64 12.94 12.16 12.16 13.03 13.73 14.30 18.70 19.50

5 7 7 8 7 7 7 10 12 14 20 26

Turbomecca Arrius 2F Turbomecca Arrius 1D1 Arriel 2B Arriel 2B 2 x Turbomecca Arrius 1A 2 x PWC PW206B2 2 x Turbomecca Arrius 2B2 2 x Arriel IE2 2 x Arriel 2C 2 x Arriel 2C2 2 x Maila 1A1 2 x Makila 2A

504 732 847 847 2 x 456 2 x 621 2 x 633 2 x 738 2 x 851 2 x 935 2 x 1819 2 x 2097

3/10.00 4/10.69 4/10.69 4/10.69 3/10.69 4/10.20 4/10.20 4/11.00 4/11.90 4/12.60 4/15.60 4/16.20

Joint venture with Chinese Latest ‘Single Squirrel’ Landed on top of Mount Everest! Improved version of the AS350 Latest ‘Twin Squirrel’ Best-selling light twin As above, with alternative power Based on Bolkow 117 Distinctive Dauphin styling FADEC engines optimised for hot & high Medium twin in the Super Puma range Immensely capable people carrier




Lycoming o360-J2A



Certified two years ago. R22 beater!

GUIMBAL 1070 Rue de Lieutenant Parayre, Aerodrome d’Aix-en-Provence. Les Milles, 13290. France. Cabri G2











MD 4555 East McDowells Road, Mesa Arizona 85205 USA MD 500E High performer, great shape, latest model has more rear pax room and is being certified with a SAGEM glass cockpit.

500E 520N 530F 600N Explorer 902



152 152 152 152 140

135 123 135 148 134

239 210 232 423 2020

MD 520N NOTAR (No TAil Rotor) system offers more safety especially in difficult landing/take-off situations.

8500 9300 16000 11100 12200

6000 5600 14400 6000 10400

13000 13200 18700 13200 18600

1613 1519 1406 1860 2834

672 719 722 953 1519

242 242 242 435 606

9.40 9.80 9.80 10.90 9.80

4 4 4 7 7

MD 600N The MD 600N® is an eight-place, light, single-turbine engine helicopter that provides high performance and increased capacity. Rolls-Royce 250-C20B Rolls-Royce 250-C20R Rolls-Royce 250-C30 Rolls-Royce 250-C47 2 x PWC PW207E

450 450 650 808 2 x 550

5/8.10 5/8.30 5/8.30 5/8.40 5/10.30

‘Ferrari of helicopters’ Multi role ops Can be converted to cargo ops 8-seat light single Police love it!

ROBINSON 2901 Airport Drive, Torrance California 90505 USA R22 The two-seat helicopter that started Robinson off as a major manufacturer. Used for training, personal flight and even cattle round ups! R22 Beta II R44 Raven I R44 Raven II


243,000 333,000 404,000

102 120 117

96 115 117

180 365 348

R44 RAVEN 1 The first Raven version of the R44 four-seater, seen here as the ‘Clipper’, with floats.

9400 6400 8950

5200 5100 7500

14000 14000 14000

621 1089 1134

388 654 683

73 116 116

8.80 11.70 11.70

2 4 4

R44 RAVEN 11 Upgraded version of the Raven 1 with fuel-injected engine and a 100lb increased payload.

Lycoming O-360-J2A Lycoming O-540-F1B5 Lycoming IO-540-AE 1A5

131 225 245

2/7.70 2/10.10 2/10.10

Two-seat personal helicopter Good value four-seater Improved R44

RUSSIAN HELICOPTERS Building 2, 2A Sokolnichesky Val, Moscow 107113, Russia MI-34C1/C2 The light Mi-34C is meant for corporate or private operations, training, medevac and surveillance missions. C1 piston engine, C2 turbine Mi-34C2 Ansat Ka-226T Ka-62 Ka-32A11BC Mi-38 Mi-26T



140 148 135 166 140 173 146

119 119 119 157 124 159 138

432 270 281 405 362 497 432

KA-32A11BC Multi-purpose helicopter with co-axial dual rotors. Received EASA type certification in 2009 and in use for firefighting, construction and SAR missions. na na na na na na na

na na na na na na na

na na na na na na na

1450 3600 3600 6500 11000 16200 56000

850 2600 2400 4400 7300 11200 36000

na na na na na na na

8.85 11.18 8.23 13.50 11.30 20.15 33.747

5 6 9 16 15 32 4-5

KA-226T A load-lifter and specialist role helicopter, with fire-fighting and military credentials.

Turbomeca Arrius-2F 2 x PW-207K 2 x Turbomeca Arrius-2G1 2 x Ardiden-3G 2 x TV3-117MA 2 x TB7-117B or PW127T/S 2 x D-136

504 2 x 630 2 x 550 2 x 1680 2 x 2200 2 x 2500 2 x 11400

4/10.00 4/11.50 6/13.00 4/13.80 6/15.00 6/21.10 8/32.00

French turbine engine transforms it Spacious cabin for corporate or EMS Turbomeca engines replace RR 250s New medium twin, multi-role Co-axial rotors, multi role New cargo and passenger shuttle Absolutely massive!

SIKORSKY 6900 Main Street, Stratford, Connecticut. 06615-9129 USA SIKORSKY S-300C Used to be the Schweizer 300C, now brought into Sikorsky brand. Popular for training and a favourite of BLADES writer Dennis Kenyon. S-300C S-300CBi S-333 S-76C++ S-92



95 94 120 155 165

83 80 105 155 151

201 225 310 411 539

BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011

SIKORSKY S-333 Light turbine single used for surveillance, inspections and training.

5800 7000 12300 7050 9000

2750 4800 9200 3300 6500

12000 10000 13000 13750 14000

930 794 1157 5306 12018

499 500 567 3177 7597

147 121 137 1064 2858

1.99 1.99 1.91 3.05 5.26

3 3 4 14 21

SIKORSKY S-76C++ All-round tough operator, capable of many roles. Now in C++ version, with D on the way with many big upgrades. Lycoming HIO-360-D1A Lycoming HIO-360-G1A Rolls-Royce 250-C20W 2 x Turbomeca Arriel 2S2 2 x GE CT7-8A

190 180 280 2 x 922 2 x 2520

3/8.18 3/8.18 3/8.39 4/13.41 4/17.17

Better trainer than R22? Fuel-injected version Light turbine single The Guv’nor! Rival to Eurocopter’s EC225


lo tria Fo go l r n t of t a o o his nefa mo nt n as th tic FR we EE bs ite ,

O ER A . P O O L . W W W

MAKE YOUR FLYING EASY! Let skybookGA™ take the pressure off planning your next flight! NEW AND IMPROVED! Skybook GA™ now has loads of new features, including: RESTRICTED AREAS (TEMP) MAP This has now been updated so you can see multiple NOTAM that are centred on the same point.

SATELLITE IMAGES UPDATE The display for satellite images has been updated to a carousel display to aid searching which now can be opened in a separate window.

METAR FEED This loads airfield METAR details onto Google Earth. Wind speed, direction and cloud cover are displayed. You can also seelive weather along your route.


March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters


BLADES is the most passionate advocate of helicopter flight in publishing. With news, show reports, flight tests of machinery as varied as Bell's 47 to Eurocopter's EC135, and field reports from operators,military excersises, and record-setting expeditions, BLADES covers every aspect of rotary.

Benefits include: ✱ Delivered straight to your door ✱ Get your issue before it’s out in the shops ✱ Save on the cover price ✱ Just £29.95 for 12 issues (within the UK) FOR AN ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION TO BLADES, CONTACT THE SUBSCRIPTION DESK ON +44(0)1223 499799 OR EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS@LOOP.AERO

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FLIGHTTRAINING ABERDEENSHIRE HJS Helicopters Cutler Helipad PPL(H), CPL(H), FI(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s 01224 739111

DURHAM Northumbria Helicopters

Newcastle International Airport PPL(H), CPL(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s 0191 2866 999

LEICESTERSHIRE East Midlands Helicopters

Costock Heliport PPL(H), CPL(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, Robinson Safety Course, LPC’s 01509 856464

SURREY London Helicopters – A Patriot Aerospace Company Redhill Aerodrome PPL(H), CPL(H), FI(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s 01737 823514

BEDFORDSHIRE Cranfield Helicopters Cranfield Airport PPL(H), Type Ratings, Night Ratings, LPC’s 01234 758101

ESSEX Iris Aviation Southend Airport PPL(H), Night Training, LPC’s 01702 456 330


Humberside Airport PPL(H), CPL(H), Type Ratings, Instrument, Night Training, LPC’s 01652 688831 or 07703 260593

TYNE & WEAR Northumbria Helicopters

Regional PPL(H), CPL(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s 0191 2866 999


Wycombe Air Park & Denham PPL(H), CPL(H), FI(H), IR(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s 01494 769976/01895 835899

GLOUCESTERSHIRE Heliflight UK – A Patriot Aerospace Company

Gloucestershire Airport PPL(H), CPL(H), FI(H), Night Rating, LPC’s 01452 714555



Conington Airfield PPL(H).CPL(H),FI(H),Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s. 020 7499 2233 or 07779 086911

HEREFORDSHIRE Tiger Helicopters

Shobdon Airfield PPL(H), CPL(H), FI(H), IR(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s 01568 708028


Heli Air

Central Helicopters

Silverstone PPL(H), CPL(H), FI(H), IR(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s 01327 857752

Nottingham Airport PPL(H), CPL(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s 0115 981 4401



Heli Air

Wellesbourne PPL(H), CPL(H), FI(H), IR(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s 01789 470476

Elite Helicopters

Goodwood Aerodrome PPL(H), CPL(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s 0800 804 8812 or 01243 530165

CUMBRIA Northumbria Helicopters

Northumbria Helicopters Regional PPL(H), CPL(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s 0191 2866 999

KENT Polar Helicopters

Manston Airport PPL(H), CPL(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s 01843 823 067 or 07789 407 389

SOUTH IRELAND Executive Helicopters Galway Airport PPL(H), CPL(H), FI(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s, International Students taken +353 91 783300

DORSET Bournemouth Helicopters Bournemouth International Airport PPL(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, Mountain Course, LPC’s 01202 590800

LANCASHIRE Heliblackpool Blackpool Airport PPL(H), CPL(H), FI(H), Night Rating, FAA Approval, LPC’s 01253 400 423 or 07876 637 572

STAFFORDSHIRE Staffordshire Helicopters

Tatenhill Airfield PPL(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, FAA Approval, LPC’s 01283 575164


Leeds Bradford International Airport PPL(H), CPL(H), Type Ratings, Night Ratings, LPC’s 0113 238 7130

Advertise in Blades 01223 499799

March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

R44Title Raven 1

May 2008, 235 Hours, C of A Due 31.05.11. Jet Black Pearl with Extra Leather Interior. 2 Bose Headsets. Mode S, Skymap3. Always Hangared. Price £198,000 ono VAT Paid Telephone 01977 612258 Email:

1974 BELL 206 B3

9200hrs TT High Skids Sky map Hisl 2 x Radios Dual control Reg - G-JAES ¤290.000 Euro Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

1996 ENSTROM 480

Aircraft S/N: 5016 Reg - SE-JDA TSN: 2000 hrs TT No damage history Price - £290k Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135


Aircraft S/N: 1174 Reg-F-GJAB TSN: 2430 hours TT High Skids LH Sliding Door Completely rebuilt in 1990. ¤660.000 Euro Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135


1987 Eurocopter AS350 B1

Aircraft S/N: 0214 Registration: SE-JFN TSN: 4642 hours TT Aerolite fabricated EMS equipment. Integral floor. Oxygen system. 2 ea medical seats facing aft. 1 ea passenger seat facing fwd. 24/ 12 volt el power in cabin. ¤2.550.000 Euro Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

Aircraft S/N: 1983. Reg-SEJFK. TSN: 7557 hrs TT. Cargo hook. Monit’air UMS system. LH Sliding door. The engine has 408,2 hours less than the aircraft. ¤675.000 Euro Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

1988 EUROCOPTER AS365N1 Offered by PC Aviation

S/N - 6307, G-DPHN, TT Engine & Airframe - 2,350, location - UK, Single & dual pilot IFR, Available immediately or after G inspection. Price - Make Offer Contact: Huxley Cowen +44 (0)1865 768888


VIP Leather Pack Dec 2007 with only 130 hrs TT Contact Ian on 07768 530043 or




Total Time 2373Hrs. 1970/ Overhauled 2008. Complete Avionics refit including Garmin 695 Exterior presented in Black Metallic with complementing Full Black Leather Interior. Price £275K + vat Please see our website for more detail and current stock. Tel 01777 839 216.

Aircraft S/N: 7247 TSN: 4726 hours TSN Lycoming engines, model LTS101-750B-1. Transmission assy, Kawasaki KB03 Two independent oil cooling and lubricant systems ¤2.800.000 Euro Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

Aircraft S/N: 4441 Registration: SE-HJG TSN:1375 hours TT. Large Cabin Floor Window (right side). Cargo Swing (1400 kg) complete installation. Emergency Flotation Gear, Fixed Parts RH side Electric and De-Iced External Mirror. LH Landing Light Swivelling in Elevation and Azimut ¤1.380.000 Euro Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

Emergency floats provisions, 5/6 pax conversion kit Weather radar RDR 2000 Bendix/King No damage history 442 TT. Reg - TC-HKB ¤3.900.000 Euro Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135




1973 SA341 GAZELLE

Aircraft S/N: 473 Registration: F-HCDF TSN: 440 hrs TT. Dual or single/dual pilot 1FR package - Avionics Solution 7 consisting of: Avionic solution 7 interconnection wiring. Flight Control Display system MEGHAS 2xSMD45 45H (PFD,ND) 2xIPC/RCU. Flight Control Display system 2nd system MEGHAS 1 x SDM68 (PFD,ND) ¤3.600.000 EUR Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

Aircraft S/N: 1241/48 Registration: OE-XCM TSN: 5 732 TT Cargo Hook Bubble Window – New Onboard Weighing system ELT Kannad 406 ¤650.000 Euro Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

Aircraft S/N: 5104 Registration: G-ICSG TSN: 6544 hours TT Engine Fire Detection & Extinguishing System Engine Auto Relight Kit Grey leather trim & carpets £675.000 Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135





Aircraft S/N: 1027 Registration: G-IGPW TSN: 908 Hours TT Dual Controls. Cabin Heating/Demisting. Emergency Floating Equipment. Swivelling Landing Light ¤710.000 EUR Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

Aircraft S/N: 6315 Registration: EI-DUF TSN: 2 596 TT VIP Leather Interior Air Conditioning 2001 Exterior Paint 3 Axis Autopilot Open to offers Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

Aircraft S/N: 5550 Registration: EC-FTX TSN: 4800 hrs TT L+R/H Sliding Doors High Landing Gear New paint 2005 Utility interior or VIP Configuration ¤950.000 Euro Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

Aircraft S/N: 0205 Registration: EI-DMC TSN: 783 hours TT Hobbs Meter-Landing Gear Contact Switch 3 Position landing lights Skymap $270.000 USD Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

MD500C Title (H369HE)

2008 EUROCOPTER EC135T2+ Offered by PC Aviation S/N – 0635, MANUFACTURED – 2007, FIRST DELIVERED – 2008, G-RWLA, TT Engine & Airframe – 350, Location – UK, Single & dual pilot IFR, Available immediately. Price - Make Offer Contact: Huxley Cowen +44 (0)1865 768888

2007 EUROCOPTER EC155 B1 Offered by PC Aviation

S/N – 6764, G-EURT, TTAF – 412, LOCATION - Northern Ireland, Price - Make Offer, Available Immediately . Price - Make Offer Contact: Huxley Cowen +44 (0)1865 768888

R22 beta 2

2004 perfect machine for private owner 6 plus years 520 hours A/H D/I mode Charlie Skyforce 3 GPS plus more £58.000 no Vat

To advertise here please call Chris on 01223 499799 BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011

Aircraft S/N: 1099 Registration: F-GEHB TSN: 6013, 79 hrs TT King KI-525 HSI Kit Garmin GNS-430 NAV / COMM / GPS King KR-87 ADF Bendix/King KT-73 Transponder. Boses Headset ¤330000 EUR Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

ROTORWAY kits or ready built – 162F

Runs on Mogas, UK approved, Insurance approx £1k, servicing and spares always available, Brand new, Radio fitted, other options avail. £39,000 + VAT. Southern Helicopters LTD Tel 01279870211,

2000 BELL 206 – B3

Airframe: 2503 TT 250-C20J Engine: 2503 TT. Two Owners Since New, NDH, All AD’s & Bulletins Current, Original and Complete Records. High Skids with FliteSteps. Particle Separator. Wedge Windows (4) Pop-Out Type $950.000 USD Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

1996 BELL 430 Offered by PC Aviation

S/N 49008, REG - VP-BKQ, TT Engine & Airframe - 2,040, Location - Blackbushe, UK Available Immediately Price - Make Offer Contact: Huxley Cowen +44 (0)1865 768888

Enstrom F28 G-BONG TT 2975, good component times, engine 530 hrs, Fresh annual NOV 2010. Met silver with red leather. Bargain at only $59,000 Tel 01978 780197 or 07780700418


Same owner for 5 years, TT 1350 Hrs. New tail rotor gear box. Just had new C of A in August. Good Avionics fit including GPS & Slaved Compass. Offers over £180,000No VAT Contact: 01823 461 777

To ad ver t ise here p l e a s e call Sammi on 01223 499799


One 1998 EUROCOPTER EC135 T1

1993 Schweizer 300c (269c)

S/N 5300, Reg: G-LNTY, Location UK, TT ñ 5,000.1. AP SFIM 85 ñ W/ COUPLER, FD & MONITOR. NAV/COMM KX165, ADF KR87, GARMIN GPS 155, RADALT $875,000.00 USD Contact: Bristow US LLC Tel: +1 337 335 2219 or +1 337 335 2445

Police role equipped with FLIR camera and thermal imaging capability, Starshout, Starburst, Lojack tracker, Microwave downlink and Vinten video recording. Equipped with HEMS floor & Femo Washington stretchers. Fully maintained by Eurocopter UK For further information please contact: Mark Wooller, IBA Group Ltd Tel: + 44 (0) 1372 22 44 88

OY-HJW. S/N S1651. TTAF: 5641 New: muffler, M/R Blades, T/R Strap pack, M/R Shaft & hub spline type. Low time M/R Blade dampers elatomeric, oil cooler, light weight starter. Sktforce 111 GPS. USD $159.000,00 European Aircraft Sales – Denmark +45 40165401

2000 Eurocopter EC120B Colibri


1996 SIKORSKY S76C+ Offered by PC Aviation

OY-HJN. S/N 1072. TTAF: 3000 Bendix /King KT 76C Trans, PS Engineering PAC24 Audio Panel. Skyforce 111c GPS. 5 Seats, new carpet and seats. ASI, VSI, ALT NR/NF Indicator, AH, Standby compass Perfect condition, Fresh 3,000 Insp, FRESH 12 YEARS Inspection EURO ¤555,000 European Aircraft Sales – Denmark +45 40165401


Price 120,000 no VAT

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March 2011 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

50 WHAT'S ON Events for you and your clients

✱ The helicopter hangar generated a lot of interest last year on its debut


After its successful debut last year, the helicopter hall is back, and bigger


HE biggest General Aviation show in Europe, AERO 2011, held at Friedrichshafen, Germany, will have "a significantly expanded helicopter area" at this year's show, to be staged from Wednesday, 13 April to Saturday, April 16. The dedicated "Helicopter Hangar" will have large helicopters from various

manufacturers being shown for the first time, including a first appearance at AERO by Eurocopter. Two of the purpose-built exhibition centre's halls will be devoted to helicopters - current models, new developments, research projects and products from the supplier industry. Exhibits are said to include the Bundeswehr's new NH 90 transport helicopter and

a Sikorsky Sea King from the German Navy. There will also be other current turbine helicopters from the manufacturers Bell, Eurocopter, Sikorsky and PZL. Eurocopter will be conducting an exercise on nearby Lake Constance entitled "Rotor + Rescue". Smaller helicopters will also be represented. Robinson R22, R44 and most likely the R66 Turbine

will be on display, as well as other piston engine helicopters from companies such as Schweizer, Enstrom and Guimbal. AERO coordinator Rainer Herzberg said, "Unlike many other aviation exhibitions, helicopters at AERO 2011 won?t be placed behind railings far away from visitors. Instead, attendees can marvel at them upclose in the exhibition halls,

and even get into them and talk to crew members and training officers. The Helicopter Hangar at AERO 2011 thus truly offers a hands-on experience with helicopters!" A total of 550 exhibitors from 26 countries are expected at AERO. The entire spectrum of general aviation will be on display across nine exhibition halls.

WHAT'S ON AND WHERE TO FIND IT... ✱ MARCH 2011 1-6 Australian Internationa Airshow, Avalon, Victoria. 5-8 Heli-Expo 2011, Orlando, Florida, USA. World's top helicopter show. 11-13 Gulf Air Bahrain F1 GP, Sakhir. 12-13 Heli-Weekend, Switzerland. www.

13 Open Cockpit Day, Helicopter Museum, Weston. www. helicoptermuseum. 15-18 Cheltenham Festival, Cheltenham Racecourse, Glos, UK. Horse-racing. 21-23 Air Surveillance & Reconnaissance, America Square, London.

BLADES fresh air for helicopters March 2011

22 GASCo Safety Evening, Kinross. 01383 729323. 23 GASCo Safety Evening, Perth. 07703 218972 24 GASCo Safety Evening, Inverness. 01462 713086 26 GASCo Safety Evening, Prestwick. 01292 692730

27 Vintage Aircraft Club fly-in, Turweston. www. vintageaircraftclub. 29-3 Apr Sun n Fun, Lakeland, Florida. Light aviation. ✱ APRIL 2011 2 Aerobatics Contest, Sandtoft. first event of 211,

5-7 Aircraft Interiors Expo, Hamburg. www. aircraftinteriorsexpo. com 6 13th Raoul Hafner Memorial Lecture, Defence Helicopter Flying School, RAF Shawbury. 01939 250 351 7-9 The Grand National, Aintree. A highlight of the sporting year.

13 Open Cockpit Day, Helicopter Museum, Weston. 13-14 Search & Rescue 2011, Bournemouth International Centre. 13-16 AERO 2011, Friedrichshafen, Germany. See above. 17 Virgin London Marathon, London. www. virginlondonmarathon.

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