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fresh air for helicopters

The publication for helicopter pilots, owners and operators




A U G U S T 2 0 1 0 I S S U E 1 3 £ 3 .1 0




Bell's first all-new helicopter for 30 years and she's a real beauty! Dennis Kenyon flight tests the first one in Europe


Tel: + 1 (702) 982-7089 Fax: + 1 (702) 982-6925 web: Las Vegas, Nevada


FLIGHT TEST First European test of Bell's new 429 light twin


#13 August2010


NEWS AW169 launched. Electric Sikorsky. Tip jet and rocket power Dragonfly. London Heliport upgraded


DENNIS KENYON "Lights, camera, action!" Dennis writes about getting into the movies as a helo pilot


PRODUCTS Bose announces a new headset, the A20, and Garmin's G500H glass cockpit is almost here

HELO CHAMPS A team of Brits flies to Grenchen in Switzerland to compete in the local championships


TRAINING Learning to fly in Florida as part of one man's career change – at the age of 44. Yes, it is possible!


WHAT'S ON Getting wet at Helitech Europe and many more events for you and your passengers

EDITO EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Dave Calderwood e: ✱ Creative Director Bill Spurdens e: Art Director Dan Payne ✱ Editor-at-Large Dennis Kenyon ✱ Chief Photographer Dave Spurdens w: ✱ New Media Editor e: dan Helen Rowlands-Beers e: ✱ ADVERTISEMENT SALES Sales manager Dave Impey e: Senior sales executive Llewis Ingamells e: ✱ MANAGEMENT Director Sam Spurdens e: Director Dave Foster e: ✱ Hea Head Office: +44 (0)1223 497060 CONTACT: LOOP Publishing (UK) Ltd. 9-11 The Mill Courtyard, Copley Hill Business Park, Cambridge CB22 3GNB w: ISSN 1749-7337 CONT

August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

06 All the best stories from the helicopter world


AGUSTA SPRINGS UK SURPRISE S New AW169 light twin unveiled at Farnborough URPRISE unveiling at this year’s Farnborough International Airshow in July was a brand new helicopter from AgustaWestland. It is the AW169, a multi-purpose light twin aimed at the growing 4.5 ton class; AgustaWestland’s Yeovil, UK base is to play an important role in the design, development and manufacture of the new helicopter. AgustaWestland says the AW169 has been designed to meet current and anticipated stringent requirements of commercial and government operators worldwide. It features an “ecofriendly design” with extensive use of composites, advanced airframe aerodynamics, next generation navigation avionics and state-ofthe-art systems. Speaking at the unveiling ceremony Giuseppi Orsi, CEO, AgustaWestland, said, “We are unveiling the AW169 here at Farnborough because of the real and exciting potential this aircraft will have for the UK in terms of the market and industrially. “Our company’s commitment to the UK industrial base is, I believe, widely recognised and the AW169 is another opportunity for

the UK to support and participate in a major new programme.” Boss of the UK part of AgustaWestland, Graham Cole, said it had already formed a team to work with government and other agencies. AW169s bought in the UK are likely to be built here, he said. “We see a large market for the AW169 and the real prospect of a production line for an AgustaWestland commercial helicopter in Yeovil.” Business minister, Dr Vince Cable MP, also attended the launch and said, “The AW169 is an exciting project that typifies the type of project that will sustain and grow our domestic high technology engineering and manufacturing base into the future.” So, the AW169 is a big deal for Britain and clearly aimed at the police and EMS market – the mockup unveiled at Farnborough was already in police trim and paintwork. A key part of the AW169’s capabilities will be its avionics, claimed to be the very latest for maximum situational awareness and all-weather operations. They include a full digital NVG compatible cockpit with three 8in x 10in displays with enhanced

PHOTOS AgustaWestland

✱ Artist's impression by AgustaWestland of the AW169 in EMS role.

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010

graphics. It will have a fouraxis digital automatic flight control system with dual Flight Management System to minimise crew workload and allow single or dual pilot VFR/IFR ops, said AW. The avionics suite also complies with satellite-based navigation, communication and surveillance requirements and has the capability to perform satellite-based IFR LPV (localiser performance with vertical guidance) approaches. Terrain Awareness Warning Systems, airborne collision avoidance systems and the innovative ‘Guardian’ obstacle detection device can be added to the standard configuration. As part of the AW169’s ‘ecofriendly’ credentials, it will be powered by two new generation FADEC-controlled Pratt & Whitney PW210 turboshaft engines with low emissions and advanced rotor aerodynamics for a low noise footprint. The AW169 can carry two pilots and up to 8-10 passengers, or alternatively two stretchers, in the large unobstructed main cabin accessible via two large sliding cabin doors. It will meet the latest FAA/EASA Part 29 certification standards and have a full crashworthy structure and seats, engine burst containment and one engine inoperative (OEI) capability across the entire performance envelope. AW says potential markets are EMS/SAR, law enforcement, passenger and offshore transport and utility markets, and the helicopter can be customised with a wide range of equipment including weather radar, FLIR, rescue hoist, cargo hook, search light and medical interior. The company forecasts a potential market for the AW169 of almost 1,000 aircraft over approximately 20 years.

07 P8

Sikorsky says new electric helicopter, Project Firefly, will fly before the end of the year



New modern facilities at the London Heliport await you, including new terminal

✱ The UK will play an important part in the AW169's manufacture.

First fit for Garmin's G500H glass cockpit; cheaper JetRanger upgrade

✲ ROUND THE WORLD SAFETY SYMPOSIUM PORTUGAL The European Helicopter Safety Team (EHEST) is hosting the Fourth International Helicopter Safety Symposium (IHSS) 3-4 October 2010 at the Hotel Cascais Miragem in Estoril, Portugal – just before Helitech Europe (see p50). The aim is to reduce the helicopter accident rate by 80% by 2016.

BEST PRACTICE GERMANY Part of the plan to reduce rotary accidents is a helicopter version of the IS-BAO (International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations). Leading helicopter organisations agreed at last summer’s Berlin Air Show to develop a code of best practice for helicopter ops and a verification programme.

MARINE ONE TO BOEING USA Boeing is proposing to take over the US Presidential Helicopter Program from AgustaWestland in an astonishing face-saving about-turn for the Americans. Boeing will licence the AW101 Merlin from AW, but says it “will be a Boeing aircraft, built by Boeing personnel at one of its US facilities.” President Obama famously cancelled the AW101-based VH-71 Presidential helicopter on arriving in office two years ago.

MONEY FLIES IRELAND Former NetJets executives are behind ambitious plans to launch a global specialty finance company focused on the helicopter and private jet market. Called Milestone Aviation, it will be based in Dublin. Boss William Kelly, former chief of NetJets Europe, says they have raised $500 million working with US private equity firm The Jordan Company. Milestone will offer 100% financing on new, pre-owned and sale-leaseback transactions.

SLOANE EXPANDS MALLORCA Sloane Helicopters has added an Agusta 109E to its fleet of Robinson R44s based on the Balearic island. Sloane says the 109E will expand the range of the predominantly training business to offer over-water flights to Ibiza in 30 minutes, Barcelona in 50min, Menorca in 30min – and even to North Africa. Charter prices begin at around 1500 euro per hour.

August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

08 NEWS New rotary aircraft NEW HELICOPTER

SIKORSKY LAUNCHES ELECTRIC HELICOPTER W ‘Project Firefly’ will fly before end of 2010

ILL an electric helicopter ever be viable? Sikorsky is going to give it a go! At the annual EAA AirVenture show at Oshkosh, USA in July, the company introduced ‘Project Firefly’, an all-electric helicopter technology demonstrator – and plans to fly it before the end of 2010.

The aircraft is based on an S-300 with the standard Lycoming piston single engine replaced by a 190hp electric motor, a lithium-ion battery system and a digital controller. Integrated sensors provide real-time aircraft health information to the pilot through a panel integrated interactive LCD monitor. Eagle Aviation Technologies

✱ All-electric drive system.

✱ Based on an S-300.

carried out the airframe modifications and assembly of the demonstrator aircraft. The Firefly was at the EAA event as part of a world symposium on electric aircraft. Chris Van Buiten, director of Sikorsky Innovations, said, “Our objectives with Project Firefly are to provide a proof of principle concept to validate the benefits of an electrically powered rotorcraft, to develop the technologies to enable the manned flight of that technology, and to drive future development of improved, state-of-the-art ‘green’ technologies and practices.” Another Sikorsky boffin, Mark Miller of Sikorsky Research &

FIREFLY FEATURES ✱ All-electric drive system ✱ High-density energy storage system ✱ Automated monitoring and alerts ✱ Next generation cockpit displays Engineering, was enthusiastic, “Through the electrical conversion, propulsion efficiency of the aircraft has been increased roughly 300 percent from baseline. “Electric propulsion also inherently simplifies the complexity of the propulsion system by reducing the quantity of moving parts,

increasing reliability while reducing direct operating costs.” However, he admitted that it wasn’t all plain sailing. “With current energy storage technology, payload and endurance will fall short of typical helicopter performance,” he said. “These values will grow as rapidly maturing technology is integrated on the demonstrator.” The first flight is anticipated to occur later this year, upon completion of ground tests and safety of flight reviews in accordance with Sikorsky standard practice for all aircraft programmes.

✱ Electric propulsion will increase reliability, since there will be fewer moving parts.

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010


X2 HITS 225 KNOTS IN RECORD TEST ANOTHER branch of Sikorsky’s R&D effort is aimed at going faster – and the X2 ‘Technology Demonstrator’ has successfully recorded 255kt during a onehour flight. X2 Technology Demonstrator chief pilot Kevin Bredenbeck was at the helm. It beats the previous 216kt record that had been set by a Westland Lynx in the mid-1980s. “The X2 Technology Demonstrator’s latest flight is continuing to push the speed envelope, successfully flying approximately 50kt faster than a traditional helicopter,” said Jim Kagdis, programme manager. “Vibration levels and aircraft performance have continued to meet or exceed our expectations, so we are pleased to report that all systems are ‘go’ in our mission to achieve a 250kt cruise speed later this year,” he said. In the demonstrator’s previous flight, a new tail configuration was incorporated to decrease

pilot workload as the aircraft speed is increased, improving the overall

aircraft handling qualities. The X2 has several new technologies, including

active vibration control and a rear-mounted pusher auxiliary engine.

fly-by-wire flight controls, counter-rotating rigid rotor blades, hub drag reduction,

✱ 250kt cruise is expected of Sikorsky’s Technology Demonstrator, which has just set a new speed record of 225kt.


LOW EMISSIONS FROM DIESEL-ELECTRIC THIS is the striking model of a new concept helicopter unveiled by EADS Innovation Works this summer. It’s powered by a diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system as part of research to make helicopters more environmentally friendly. The diesel-electric hybrid concept is one of the projects grouped under the name of eCO2avia by EADS. Highly efficient electrical motors drive the rotors, combined with OPOC (Opposed Piston, Opposed Cylinder) diesel engines to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 50%. Takeoffs and landings are possible on electrical power alone, resulting in lower noise levels and

improved flight safety. The main components of this hybrid system are multiple diesel-electric motor-generator units, a pair of high-performance batteries and a power electronics unit controlling the energy flows for best efficiency. The OPOC diesel engines, designed and built by EcoMotors International in the US, offer a fuel economy improvement of up to 30% compared to today’s helicopter turbine engines. Several different kinds of combustion engines could be integrated into such a hybrid system, which is one of many examples of the research efforts undertaken by EADS.

✱ Unique and striking, EADS’ concept helicopter will reduce sound and emissions.

August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

11 NEWS More new flyers NEW HELICOPTER

ROCKET POWER FOR TIP JET HELICOPTER Old military design resurrected


ROCKET-powered single-seat helicopter was launched last month at the EAA AirVenture show held at Oshkosh, USA. The helicopter is actually an old project dating back to 1956, but has recently been resurrected by US company Avimech of Tucson, Arizona.

The helicopter has two 11 US gallon tanks of rocket fuel, hydrogen peroxide, either side of the seat, feeding through the rotor shaft to hollow blades, passing to the rotor tips where a catalyst reacts with the fuel. A jet of high pressure water vapour and steam is thrust out of the rotor tips and

✱ There's not much to the Dragonfly; indeed, she weighs just 250lb.

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010

✱ Scorpion S3 is designed for surveillance.

✱ Basic, but fully tested. provides the propulsion. The helicopter controls are fairly normal, with a short tail and tail rotor driven by a geared-drive from the rotor head. The Dragonfly weighs just 250lb empty, and has a gross weight of 1050lb, giving an astonishing payload of 800lb. Avimech says it can be used for crop-spraying or even as a medevac helicopter with a stretcher slung beneath. Cruise speed is 115mph, fuel burn 11 US gallons/hour. The first batch of production Dragonflys were being offered at Oshkosh at a special price of $84,000 – the regular price will be $120,000. The company says hydrogen peroxide is easily obtained for about $4 a gallon, usually as a solution in water; the Dragonfly uses a 70% strength solution. “All parts installed on the Dragonfly have full FAA traceability and are fully tested, including thermo, load stress, X-ray and NDI (Non Destructive inspection),” said Ricardo Cavalcanti, boss of Avimech. An interview with Ricardo can be seen on www.looptv. aero.


GYROJET LAUNCHES FORMER Army officer Barry Jones, who attempted to fly an autogyro around the world in 2004, has founded a new UK company to design and build a new generation of autogyros. Gyrojet is designing a twoseat autogyro called the Scorpion S3 as a surveillance aircraft for police and military operators. The company claims an autogyro is better for this role than a helicopter because of less vibration and it is easier to land in dusty areas because there is no downwash. The Scorpion will be powered by a Lycoming piston single initially, although there are plans to use a Jet A1 burning turbodiesel, such as that made by Centurion, for better fuel economy.

It will have retractable landing gear – which is designed to clean up the view downwards for onboard video cameras rather than for drag reduction. The aircraft features a rotor mast that sweeps forward from the empennage at its base to the centre of gravity at the rotor hub, located directly over the pilot’s seat. In this configuration, the rotor mast doubles as a vertical stabiliser, with the rudder blended into the trailing edge. Gyrojet says a model of the aircraft has successfully cleared wind tunnel testing, with the design proving stable. First flight is expected next year and deliveries could begin as early as 2012.

✱ New company at show.

✱ Note sweeping rotor mast.

12 NEWS London Heliport

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010


NEWS FACILITIES AT LONDON HELIPORT N Passenger terminal, more parking, five-star hotel

EW facilities at the London Heliport are now open for business. They include a new passenger terminal, extra parking for helicopters, and new facilities for fire and rescue. It’s taken two years to bring the heliport development this far – a new luxury hotel, the Hotel Verta, is due to open in September adjacent to the passenger terminal. The new ATC tower is due to open in October, with completely upgraded equipment. “We’re incredibly excited about the new passenger terminal,” said David McRobert, MD of PremiAir, which manages the heliport on behalf of the von Essen

Group, which owns both. “From a business aviation perspective, it is now a superb facility and, in conjunction with Hotel Verta, it really will provide heliport users with immediate access to an exceptional range of on-site services that are unique in the business aviation world,” said McRobert. The new terminal features sound-proofed and airconditioned lounges, meeting rooms, conference facilities, customer drop-off area, underground secure parking and a dedicated heliport reception. “The London Heliport and Hotel Verta will combine to form ‘London’s Vertical Gateway’ – the first integrated

hotel-heliport solution in Europe,” said McRobert. “Von Essen had remarkable vision and drive to purchase and develop the site, which we believe will set the standard for executive helicopter travel

worldwide. We’re looking forward to the benefits it will bring to executive helicopter charter clients and owners, particularly in London’s run-up to the 2012 Olympics.” The London Heliport remains the capital’s only licensed commercial heliport. It opened in 1959, owned originally by Westland, and has handled more than 450,000 helicopter movements since. There is a limit of 12,000 movements per year, plus ‘exempt’ emergency service movements – the heliport is an additional base and refuelling point for London’s police and emergency services helicopters. ATC and fire and rescue are full-time.

✱ Plush facilities await you.

✱ Coming in to land...

✱ London Heliport of yesteryear.

✱ New terminal is ultra modern.

FLYING OVER LONDON ✱ 27,300 helicopter movements over London ✱ 71% of flights nothing to do with the London Heliport ✱ 76% of movements twinengine helicopters ✱ 97% of movements between 0600 and 2000 ✱ One in four flights police or EMS ✱ Early morning/late evening flights mainly police

August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

14 NEWS Garmin G500H glass cockpit UPGRADE

FIRST FIT FOR GARMIN'S GLASS New York’s Zip Aviation has ‘nicest 407 in the world’


ARMIN’S G500H glass cockpit for helicopters is attracting lots of attention and one of the first to install the retro-fit avionics is New York operator Zip Aviation. Working with specialist Edwards & Associates, a Zip Bell 407 now has the G500H, plus a luxurious leather and maple interior, and an in-flight entertainment system.

“This is not just a Bell 407,” said Itai Shosani, owner of Zip Aviation. “This is the nicest 407 in the world, and among the first with the Garmin G500H glass cockpit.” The aircraft's Garmin G500H glass cockpit avionics system is optimised for the helicopter market and includes helicopter synthetic vision technology. Zip Aviation offers air tours and charters from Manhattan’s heliports at Wall Street and

West 30th Street. It also offers aerial photography, aerial survey, corporate/VIP transport, airport and cruiseline transfer and yacht services. “We really did this completion and customisation as a team,”

said Greg Williams, president and general manager of Edwards & Associates. “Itai was involved in every aspect of the work, right down to picking the right paint combination for the aircraft exterior.”

The 407’s first assignment was to serve as a camera platform to capture the Red Bull Air Race held over New York’s Hudson River in June.

✱ Zip rates the 407 as a real 'people pleaser'.

✱ G500H display fitted to Zip's Bell 407. WARGAMES




UK helicopter forces have just taken delivery of Lockheed Martin’s 3D battlefield rehearsal software, called Topscene. Crews based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire will use Topscene to perform mission rehearsal with greater realism than is possible with their existing system. Lockheed says Topscene also will enable greater interoperability with US forces, which have been using it for more than 20 years. Topscene converts two-dimensional data from satellites and other sources into threedimensional ‘fly through’

✱ Topscene allows realistic 3D battle rehearsals. and ‘walk through’ battlefield visualisation scenarios. “Using real-world images, warfighters can plan and then repeatedly rehearse a mission, taking advantage of visually significant clues and aim points,” said John Metzger, senior program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “By knowing exactly what the terrain and built-up areas will look like during the real mission, the chance of a successful mission is greatly increased. "Topscene, with its

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010

embedded ability to stop, scale, slew and rotate the image, enables the warfighter at all echelons to study their missionoperating environment in depth before actually entering a hostile area. “The system provides photo-based imagery, 3D terrain and culture, and sensor simulation, which provide a high-fidelity situational awareness in the tactical mission operating environment over large terrain databases.”

WITH an eye on Robinson’s imminent certification of its R66 Turbine, Bell has just announced a price cut for its 206L1+ and 206L3+ Performance Plus Upgrade Kits. “Our goal is to offer all Bell operators with supplemental product offerings that not only improve the performance of the aircraft, but are both affordable and cost-effective as well,” said a Bell official.

✱ More oomph for your JetRanger.

Introduced last year, the upgrade provides extended life for continuous operation on Bell 206L1 and 206L3 helicopters. Longtime customer Air-Evac Lifeteam was involved in the development and was the first to install the performance upgrade on their aircraft. The kit is said to bring performance up to that of the latest 206L4, as well as reduce direct costs.

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010


TYPE CERTIFICATION 'IMMINENT' FOR R66 TURBINE Robinson’s new turbine about to get the green light from US authorities


T’S taken longer than Robinson thought, but it’s now looking very likely that the new R66 Turbine will receive its American FAA Type Certification by mid-September. The FAA has been conducting flight tests over the summer, and Robinson itself has been running through all of the performance tests required for more than two years. Robinson showed off the R66 during the 2009 HeliExpo during a factory open day, and boss Frank Robinson told BLADES that he was

expecting certification to take another year. One reason for the delay is that there have been changes to the rules for crashworthiness and Robinson had to re-design the seats to meet the new standards. Frank’s son Kurt, now vicepresident of the company, said recently that the FAA was flying two R66s, with Function and Reliability tests and High Elevation tests to be completed. He was expecting those to be done by the end of August with certification to follow about two weeks later. Around 60 orders have been

✱ Robbo's new R66 Turbine is eagerly awaited.

placed for the R66 so far, with “two or three extra orders arriving each week.” BLADES will be flight testing the R66 as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can see the test R66 flying at:

✱ RR engine powers R66.


NEW LONDON LANDING SITE BROKERS Jet Booking Direct has done a deal with Ham Polo Club to offer an alternative helicopter landing site near Richmond – claimed to be just eight miles from Hyde Park Corner. Jet Booking Direct currently flies members of The Ham Polo Club committee as clients and is an official partner and sponsor of the club.

Steve Blight, director of Jet Booking Direct, said, “This new landing site can be used by visitors to the club and also business and leisure travellers heading into the city. It has been suggested that it may also be used for parking by helicopter operators flying clients into Battersea to save money and reduce flying time.”


WHAT'LL IT COST? DATA specialist Conklin & de Decker has announced the latest release of its Life Cycle Cost 2010, claiming it to be “the most comprehensive aircraft budget and financial analysis tool available.” Life Cycle Cost provides extensive ownership and operating cost data for more than 375 jets, turboprops, helicopters and piston aircraft, and is part of a family of aircraft operating and acquisition products. It puts all aspects of owning and operating an aircraft into one easy-to-use programme. Aircraft acquisition costs, operating costs, taxes, final residual values and revenues, if the user is in commercial operations, are all included. The latest update includes: • Fuel surcharge function to makes charter projections more accurate • Option to edit cost categories to produce custom reports • Ability to adjust basic airframe parts cost and

maintenance hours is more straightforward • A 'years-produced' field provides a quick reference about the selected aircraft’s current production status or, if out of production, the years it was manufactured. The new release also adds eight aircraft to its database: Citation CJ4, Gulfstream G250, Texas Turbine Supervan 900 (Cessna 208 with a TPE-331-12JR), Bell 429, Robinson R66, AS350B3 (2B), AS350B3 (2B1) and the Twin Commander Shrike. In addition, fuel and maintenance costs, as well as aircraft acquisition prices, have been updated.

✱ AS350 added to database.


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 exercises, and record setting expeditions, BLADES covers every aspect of rotary. Benefits include: Delivered to your door • Get your issue before it’s out in the shops • Save on the cover price Subscription cost: Within the UK, only £25.00 for 6 issues • Outside the UK, only £35.00 for 6 issues FOR AN ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION TO BLADES, CONTACT THE SUBSCRIPTION DESK ON +44(0)1223 499799 EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS@LOOP.AERO BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010


COLUMNIST Dennis Kenyon

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



IGHTS... camera... action! Or something like that. Yes, it’s time to look at the job of flying helicopters in films! During the past 40 years or so I've been flying helicopters, I’ve been plunged headlong into more than a few hair-raising moments where the only thing that seemed to matter was to get the shot ‘in the can’. But, as we all know, only three things really matter in flying: safety, safety and more safety, and I’ve refused to fly outside my personal safety box if I’m not 100% happy.

One was a simple lift-off out of a beaten up derelict building. “No problem,” I said, “but we need to clean up the site first.” The surprised reply was, “We’ve spent half the morning laying the dust and dirt for the shot!” Another time, I lost a £1500 fee when I refused to fly a B206 through an polystyrene wall. Later on, I saw the ad, in which the pilot simply ran the skids through the top section. Some skilful cutting did the rest – and I learned a bit more about aerial filming and getting jobs! The daftest suggestion? PHOTOS

✱ On set filming Black Hawk Down, about the 1993 mission in Somalia when two Black Hawk helicopters were destroyed.

Would I fly a helicopter out of the rear section of a giant Galaxy transport aircraft doing 100kt... The money was tempting, but no. still, I bet one day another pilot will do just that! Top in aerial filming has to be the incredible Marc Wolfe, of aerial filming company Flying Pictures fame. Marc conjured the famous Cliffhanger helicopter shot, with the skids tethered to a mountain peak, plus dozens of James Bond epics such as the skiing/skydiving opening to The Spy Who Loved Me. Marc’s film achievements are endless, and legendary filmmaker Cubby Brocolli would insist on having Marc direct his aerial team. My dear mate Mike Woodley has also been involved in many a top aerial sequence – it’s his Boeing 747 that is nonchalantly parked on the perimeter track at Dunsfold, where Top Gear is filmed. Mike introduced me to the world of film flying and we go back to the mid-70s. Even simple filming jobs can become unusual. In Morocco, I found myself holding a 175ft OGE hover for over an hour. As ‘story ship’ my task was to hold station in a Hughes AH6 above Bob Zee in a similar helicopter. Jerry Grayson’s Twin-Squirrel cameraship was 100ft above me. I looked down to see... a group of kids throwing rocks at Bob – and they were not far from making a dangerous contact. Security soon had the rascals rounded up, but the kids were back the next day armed with a catapult made from an inner tube. Before I could transmit a warning, Bob radioed, “I’ve lost my tail rotor... I’m going down!” while dropping in a starboard spin. A direct hit on the tail


Top in aerial filming is the incredible Marc Wolfe, who conjured the famous Cliffhanger helicopter shot, with the skids tethered to a mountain

rotor usually results in a crash, but he managed to bring it down safely. Amusingly, I don’t suppose it would have done much good to have tackled the boys to enquire who was responsible, but I can imagine the banter at school after actually causing a ‘Black Hawk Down’. So how do you break into film work? Well, on most occasions it is the usual ‘right place at the right time’, combined with a slice of luck. I got Black Hawk Down because the first pilot dropped out. To be considered for film flying, bring the company name to the film industry’s attention. Often nontechnical agencies will canvas the aviation trade and simply select on price. It’s often worth getting the job just to get started, but that’s likely only to be minor TV commercials and similar. The major movies go to experienced professional companies and pilots they have used before and know will get the job done. The TV stations, news agencies

and the newspapers have lists of approved helicopter operators, with an increasing use of helicopters covering sporting events, and there are many highly experienced companies competing for the business. But film flying isn’t always exciting, and can involve many hours standing around waiting... for the right weather... technical crew... prop placement... for the previous shot to be completed... you name it. Tasked to film Magellan 2000 for Bavarian TV at Bibury Court in Gloucestershire, I arrived in a Hughes 500 as required at 07.00 all polished and ready to fly. The shot required me to do a steep approach and land, pick up an actress, then a rapid, escape-like towering takeoff. Having stood around all day and with darkness closing in, I ventured to tell the lady with the call sheet that it was about to get dark! “I don’t want to fly until it’s dark,” was the terse reply! Another aspect of film is the number of takes routinely required for a few seconds of film time. On Black Hawk Down, Bob and I made a dozen close formation flights in front of a setting sun, Ridley Scott calling for more and more until he got ‘the shot’. The film cost £250,000 a day and that scene alone took two days; it was used in the film for less than two seconds! On occasions, a whole day’s flying might end up on the cutting room floor. Regardless of that, Bob and I flew ever tighter formations to achieve Ridley's required shot – I nicely tucked in one rotor distant from Bob’s rear. “Are you in position?” Bob radioed. “Yup,” I replied, “I’m right in behind you... just don’t fart!”

August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters


ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH Teams from all over Europe take part in the Swiss Helicopter Championships at Grenchen. Andy McCulloch reports from this year’s event WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY Andy McCulloch

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010



✱ Close formation with G-OSMD on the approach to Grenchen.

ELICOPTERS WAGs are special, they understand that weight is bad, clothes are heavy, fuel is good, and that Switzerland is a long way away. The instruction was fly in a bikini, one-piece and stop eating pies. In reality, it was a long discussion over weight and balance, fuel burn and range that led to the conclusion that despite the intention to breathe in a lot, we would have to offload the bags to Colin Spence, who saved us all the horror of naked pilots by driving the 800 miles to Grenchen in Switzerland laden with three teams’ bags. Lifting G-RUZZ from Oxfordshire confirmed the wisdom of doing the numbers on the R44 as Russ Harrison gently coaxed the aircraft into the air for the first leg, weaving our way around the zones to creep under the pink of LHR into Fairoaks. Fuelled and fed, we hooked up with Andrew Taee and Mike Buckland in Andrew’s JetRanger G-OSMD and departed as a flight, routing over the green tapestry of the South Downs bathed in sunshine. Overhead Lydd, the customary focus that comes with heading out into the Channel, was made a little more challenging by the summer haze that blurs the edges, but easier by the game of chase with the JetRanger that the slight difference in airspeed requires. Despite the haze, the welcoming sight of the French coast was soon visible with the frequency change at the FIR and the dulcet nasal tones of the French ATC confirming that we were, most definitely, abroad. I always love that bit. Watches changed, flightplan closed, fuel lifted, we were on our way south again, with Mike doing all the work on the radio for the ‘flight’ and us sitting pretty a mile or so behind like a puppy dog. With the workload so low, and the air to air comms open, we had plenty of time to observe the lead aircraft’s ability to hold track and height and helpfully offered coaching and encouragement safely out of sight of our buddies. What we did not know was that Mike was using steam navigation (with the GPS turned off) which was (despite our encouragement) incredibly accurate and pulled us in a tad west of our bed for the night at Chateau de Courelle 20nm west of Reims in the

Champagne region. Andrew was first in, disappearing into what looked like a forest of trees in the garden to bag the prime spot next to the swimming pool leaving us to sneak in over the lake. Landing at a chateau is, in my opinion, one of life’s greatest privileges, and the Chateau de Courelle, with its unassuming style and easy sophistication that the French do oh-so well, confirmed my belief. The evening meal was stunning, a few glasses of very fine wine leaving the crews all feeling rather good about life. Next morning was a short hop down to Troyes to feed the aircraft and file the flightplan for the ‘international’ flight to Switzerland. Planned at 1 hour 37 mins, we straight-lined for Grenchen, slowly pulling on the 4,500ft we needed to get over the mountains that sneak up just short of the border. After the wide open fields of France, the deep green and sweeping curves of the Swiss


We scoured the ground trying to find the 2m x 3m orange rectangle

valleys took our breath away. What a wonderful place to fly helicopters. On to Grenchen ATC as we cleared the last mountain on the ridge. Watching the RADALT leap from 450ft AGL to 3,000ft in seconds, it was collective down as we tried to dump the height to set up for the approach. We had planned a formation breakaway approach, and (with permission from ATC) we came in with G-OSMD glued to our wing close enough to see them grinning, round the break and along the parked row of aircraft slow enough to deploy a Union flag below G-RUZZ to announce the Brits had arrived. The scale of the event only became evident when the crews, wives and girlfriends (WAGs) and various support crews gathered expectantly in the hanger being used for the briefings. We were addressed (in Swiss German) by the competition director who had the task of controlling the somewhat restless teams. Fortunately, a translation was expertly supplied and,

30 minutes later, the crowd started to form excited huddles discussing where the heck they may be sent on the morning’s navigation exercise. DAY ONE Competition day dawned with clear blue skies promising burnt shoulders for the pasty Brits – and the best pre-flights I have seen for years. With set departure times scheduled through the morning, time was spent peering after the departing aircraft to see which way they turned at the first Must-Fly-Over (MFO) point. Fifteen mins to rotors turning was time to sit in the aircraft after a good luck kiss from the girls, trying to focus and stay calm. With a ‘let’s get on with it’ sigh of relief, we taxied to the preparation line and waited to receive our envelope with the points to plot. We also received the competition chart marked up with the ‘search box’ containing 10 dots representing the locations of the markers that we had to find and record. With the countdown to depart time ticking away, the ‘simple’ task of plotting two Lat Longs on the chart became a monster, with the warmth of self doubt wrapping closely round your shoulders. “Jeez, I hope the plots are right,” crashed around my head as the last seconds ticked away and Russ hauled ass off the departure line, lifting to the second. Good effort. I had thought that the minute we had from the line to the MFO point would be time to calm down a bit, but had not reckoned on the pressure and worry of working out where the heck we had to go AFTER the first point. “Can’t we just stop here?” Apparently not... The first instruction to turn 90deg right was brilliantly and emphatically ignored by Russ, who pointed us in vaguely the right direction as we finally got it together and searched the ground for the first waypoint. Utter despair set in as we scoured the ground trying to find the 2m x 3m orange rectangle from a dancing aircraft doing 100kt at 700ft. Despair and worry leapt to complete joy as we spied it lazing in the shadow of a hedge. Go! Go! Go! Nose down and redlined, we hammered down the valley towards the lake and the entrance to the search box. This was a few miles, and we actually had time to work things out and merrily scanned the town for the ‘railway ➽

August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

22 HELO CHAMPIONSHIP Switzerland station’ and the ‘wiggly road’ (I kid not). Found it, up the hill and turn right at the road junction. There it was. Good. Now the target squares. Weaving and ducking up and down the search box, tracking the roads and tiny towns, referencing the forest shapes and the open ground, we wheeled and wound our way along the box staring hard to recognise the odd shapes and symbols that are used to identify each target. We were feeling good and, amazingly, seemed to be a bit early. Fantastic. Out of the box to look for the next waypoint, which we concluded was not there (it was), we clock-watched all the way back to the field to try to hit the arrival line bang on the allotted arrival time, passing over it at 100ft and no less that 18kt – being pumped up with adrenalin after throwing the aircraft all around the sky.! Just to add to the fun, the exercise is not over on the timed arrival line. We were required to drop rice bags onto targets (we missed, really should have practiced that bit), and then fly a square in exactly 60 seconds leading towards the 'Dog House' which calls for the co-pilot to lower a skittle on a 7m rope and drop it into a 400

x 400 hole in the sloping ‘roof’ of the ‘Dog House’. We did OK on the skittle bit but blew our scores by (and I don’t like to admit it) missing a waypoint on the nav exercise. Oops! No wonder we were early. DAY TWO By the dawn of next day we were in the swing of things and felt that the next exercise, the precision flying, would be far less stressful than tearing around the valley looking for stuff. How wrong can you be? It all sounds so innocent; just fly around a square keeping the aircraft over a 1-metre wide corridor marked on the ground at the right height, throw in a couple of 360 timed turns for fun and then land exactly on the arrival line, and, oh yeah, do it reeeealy quick. Fortunately for us co-pilots, this is one where the workload for the driver is far higher than the left-hand seat, but even so, the task of just calling the height when you can barely see the chain from the skid was much harder than I had imagined. Another one for the ‘stuff you learnt today’ list. Lunch was taken in the well organised event tent along with the WAGs, who seemed to thing it was fun to neck Swiss beer in front of the

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010

gasping (but still to fly) crews! The next task is fun: lift a 900mm long boat fender on the end of a rope and drop it in the pretty blue oil drums, 1, 2, 3 and home. What they fail to tell you is that they had obviously made a mistake with the time allowed to do it: 60 seconds. - Er hello? 60 seconds? For all three? You must be having a laugh. That is seriously fast. DAY THREE Day three was going to be our day, we like the slalom events and despite the fiendishly complicated route the Swiss had designed, we felt we could do ok, so long as we did not get lost and miss gates. The principle is simple – hang a bucket full of water on a 5m rope, lift from the departure line and fly the bucket through 12 gates comprising two 2m posts set 1m apart. Don’t hit the posts or the ground. When you have done that, drop the bucket down to 11m below the aircraft and place it on a table that is 1m off the ground and 1m diameter. Spotted the snag? You guessed right... you have 3min and 20 seconds to complete the course. The lift was good, and fast off the line we were clear through the first gate at an alarming lick, handbrake turn and


Fast off the line, we were clear through the first gate at an alarming lick through gates two and three – so far so good (thank heavens Russ knew the way) – fast, fast, fast, stop the bucket swinging, judge the speed, right two, down one, hard right, through clear; NEXT GATE, down goes the nose and we go again. Total focus, never look up, continuous comms to the pilot and amazement when I get the ‘lifting’ call from Russ that tells me the next task is the table. Drop the rope down as we climb to 11m, steady, steady, steady, right two, down one, hold, hold, hold, back one... got it! Phew! Dripping, shaking and elated, we were done, and only a few seconds over the time, yeah! We were pleased with our effort and grinned all the way back to the parking lot waving to the supporting British team who had gathered alongside the spectators area to watch our effort. So that was a wrap for the

event. Did we do well? No. Did we have fun? You bet. It was my first open championship and it was a blast. You get to fly against some awesome crews and the nature of the event tests all aspects of the pilot and crew. It puts you under pressure to perform and to be in tune with the aircraft and pilot. It’s inspiring to see people do so well and makes you hungry to improve, which is an excellent thing. The event was superbly organised in a very safety conscious atmosphere and it was absolutely wonderful to share the passion for flying helicopters with so many people from so many countries. As expected, the brilliant pilots from Russia won the event with 1184 points from a possible 1200. Amazing. The British contingent did not have their best days, but managed to place Andrew Taee and Mike Buckland in the JetRanger at 6th with 1078 points, and David Monks and Caroline Brown in 8th with 1070. We snuck in at 18th, but were much the wiser. HOMEBOUND Hire car returned, bags dropped with the stalwart Colin, flightplan filed, we lifted into another beautiful day to turn NW and head for

23 home. With the mountains to the north of the field, it was hard work for the 44 to haul up quickly enough, and we opted for a lower bit of ground just off track to open the clearance up between us and the embroidered Swiss tourist brochure scenery below. Once again, many ooohs and ahhhs as we fly over the countryside and out onto the expanse of the French countryside. Classic French flying, quiet on the radio, gentle detours to stay out of the controlled airspace, but plenty of time to admire the view and to do the obligatory ship to ship photoshoot. With both pilots trained in formation flying, we were able to get some screensaver material and a souvenir for Will Heddle from Haywards Insurance who had hitched a ride home in the JetRanger. Fuel at Troyes was easy and we lifted in 27˚C through the heat haze to hop another few miles to the scheduled lunchstop at Château de Fère to the west of Reims. Being very warm and at pretty much MTOW, we were a little concerned with the approach into the fairly restricted meadow in front of the Chateau, and decided to send in the JetRanger to recce

the site. They got in just fine, and despite a little difference in opinion as to what a ‘slight slope’ actually means, we dropped in, pulling full power to settle on the hill. ‘Slight slope’ my foot! It’s amazing what being hot and heavy in a confined space does for your appetite, but the superb food being offered for lunch won over, and another of those ‘helicopter moments’ was had by both of the crews as we sat on the terrace and enjoyed the serenity of the place. With G-OSMD routing direct to Lydd, we bade them farewell and watched Andrew gingerly coax the JetRanger out of the meadow and leave with the usual panache. Now it was our turn, and all the theory of hot and heavy (with no wind) proved to be true: with me calling the manifold pressure and using every bit of field we could find, Russ willed the R44 up over the lowest trees and stroked her into the air. Good job I refused the dessert. Thirty minutes north with the girls asleep in the back, we both noticed the fuel filter light flicker and then defiantly illuminate. We watched it, both expecting it to go out (it has done this before). Five minutes,

hmm, 10 minutes. Neither of us are happy; all the T&Ps are ok but we are running at the absolute top end of engine and rotor rpms. I start to look for airfields. Russ starts to look for fields. It’s fascinating how you deal with it. We split the load – I watch the T&Ps, Russ concentrates on the flying and the engine overspeed potential. We start to route across the shortest parts of the forests, calling the clearings and roads. Strangely, we are tense and focused, but the aircraft seems absolutely fine, with the exception of the persistent glowing light and the ever so slightly high rpms. It’s hot, even at 2,000ft. We debate the symptoms. Twenty miles to run. We call Le Touquet and they give us a straight-in to 32, nice. The girls wake up and ask what the pretty light is... We hear Caroline Brown calling Le Touquet and reporting a few miles behind us, that feels good, somehow reassuring that they were there. Then David Monks; quite a crowd. We start the descent, all good. The shutdown was oh-so sweet. Group conference and a huddle around the aircraft... calls to the mechanics in the UK and reassuring noises. We


All the theory of hot and heavy (with no wind) proved to be true

✱ Far page, clockwise from top left: Russ Harrison, Liz Taylor, Sue Trafford and Andy McCulloch - the G-RUZZ team; en route over France; approaching the table drop; Château de Fère. ✱ Below, clockwise from top left: David Monks and Caroline Brown in an R22; practicing the flag deployment back in the UK; 'Calm time' for the G-OSMD crew; into the forest garden at Château de Fère.

decide to replan the route to shorten the sea crossing and take the aircraft up to Cap Gris Nez before committing to the blue stuff. The evening cool is setting in as we leave the field and start a climb all the way to Cap Gris Nez to set us up for a higher-than-normal crossing. Levelling at 4,000ft, we see the faint grey of England on the horizon despite the haze. A good sight. Crossing the FIR we are back with London and the crisp discipline of order gives us confidence – it’s like having your Mum take your hand when you talk to London, you kind of know they will look after you. Coasted in near Folkstone. Still no sigh of the damn orange light, rpms are just fine – did we imagine it? The aircraft is flying beautifully. The docklands to the left in the sprawl of London melt into the evening cool, along with glimpses of evening cricket matches and the smoke from barbeques – it was obviously a scorcher. Soon, we are over the green of Oxfordshire and back with the familiar ATC at Kidlington. A quick blind call to Enstone and then down to the pad. “Where is the line to land on?” “Are we EXACTLY on time?” – It seems a world away.

August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

24 Where to find all the latest and best heli gear available


SURPRISE! BRAND NEW BOSE 12 years after launching the X, Bose springs the A20 on us


OR 12 years, the Bose X has been top dog among aviation headsets – now it’s being replaced by the A20, launched last month at the EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, USA. “The Bose A20 aviation headset is our most advanced pilot headset yet,” said Bose. “Its breakthrough innovations

reduce more noise and provide even greater comfort than previous models, without compromising the clear audio you expect from Bose. “Plus, the A20 Aviation Headset now includes auxiliary audio input and Bluetooth phone connectivity.” Features include microphones (for the anti-noise reduction, ANR) both inside and outside

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010

each earcup to sense and reduce more ambient aircraft noise. The A20 has redesigned ear cushions using new materials, which together deliver greater comfort. The more compact earcups have a larger interior cavity, allowing more room for the ears, while a redistribution of headset weight also helps

to improve overall comfort and stability. In addition, the A20 now has auxiliary audio input for GPS and other devices, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, and meets or exceeds all FAA and JAA TSO requirements. All these improvements have been achieved without increasing the headset’s weight or clamping force. The A20

headset weighs 340 grams and exerts significantly less clamping force than most active headsets. It costs £995 in the UK, and is available with a U174 plug for helicopters. WHAT WE THOUGHT




GARMIN'S GLASS FOR HELICOPTERS GARMIN has been granted a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for its G500H all-glass avionics system aimed at the Part 27 VFR helicopter sector. The STC is for the Bell 206-series and Bell 407. Garmin says the G500H is optimised for helicopters, and is available in two versions – with the PFD on the right or the left to give installation versatility. The PFD screen displays attitude, airspeed, vertical speed, altitude and course/ heading information, and the MFD shows detailed moving

map graphics, with the helicopter’s current position in relation to terrain, chart data, navaids, and flight plan routings. The G500H communicates and integrates with Garmin’s other panel mount products, such as the GNS 430W/530W series. It is also compatible with Garmin’s new GSR 56 Iridium transceiver. This optional and affordable worldwide position tracking solution enables aircraft location data to be monitored via web-based displays. It can also be linked up to

Garmin’s TAS and TCAS I traffic systems. The G500H is available immediately at $24,995, which includes the GDU 620 display/ control unit, GRS 77H AHRS, GDC 74H digital air data computer, GMU 44 tri-axial magnetometer, and GTP 59 temp probe. Synthetic Vision Technology, giving a life-like view ahead on the PFD, is also available as an option for $7,995. WHAT WE THOUGHT




PILOT PROOF LOCATION SYSTEM TRACKING company Spidertracks has just launched its next generation aircraft emergency location system, designed for GA pilots. Spidertracks Aviator turns on automatically, tracking the aircraft from takeoff to landing, with position reports sent via the Iridium satellite network to the Aviator website. It will automatically send emergency SOS messages within minutes of an accident, with guaranteed reliability because the alerts are generated by the system, not the hardware in the aircraft. The ‘pilot proof’ location system has been coupled with a new social networking-

based website that lets pilots share their flights and their love of flying with others. Spidertracks Aviator is being launched with a new tracking device, the S3, which is smaller and lighter, but still portable with integrated antenna and keypad, and powered by auxiliary power. The S3 will retail at $995 and Spidertracks is offering new pricing plans to suit the number of hours pilots fly. Spidertracks Aviator will be sold alongside the existing Spidertracks offering, to be renamed Fleetpro. Fleetpro is more flexible and has additional functionality, making it ideal for managing aircraft fleets.

Spidertracks marketing manager Rachel Donald said, “You can’t rely on your ELT to survive the crash and transmit. Records show ELTs fail to transmit in the majority of aircraft accidents because the units or aerials are damaged in the crash. When the ELT doesn’t work searchers are reliant on your flightplan or last known radar position. “Spidertracks turns emergency alert thinking on its head because the SOS message is sent from the web-based system via satellite when the Spider tracking device stops sending position updates. The system knows when you have an accident, it knows where you are based on your last reported position and sends SOS messages automatically within minutes to your friends and family. They can notify emergency services so you can be found quickly. “The Spider tracking device doesn’t have to survive the crash to make sure you do.”

AGUSTA WINDOWS EASA approval has been given for DART Helicopter Services’ vertical reference bubble window and replacement crew door flat window for the AgustaWestland A119/ AW119MKII. Replacement window kits, bubble or flat, require no permanent modification to the crew door and install by removing the existing OEM window and installing the replacement window using a locking seal. The crew door window kit fits either the left-hand or right-hand side, and can be swapped in/out and replaced with either a bubble window kit or an OEM window.

The vertical reference bubble window enhances viewing capability by adding approximately 11in of headspace and installs with a locking seal. This can be swapped in/out and replaced with either a DART or OEM crew window. There is no VNE restriction with a bubble window installed. DART has also received Transport Canada, FAA, EASA and ANAC approval of its updated design HeliUtility-Basket for the EC130. WHAT WE THOUGHT

★★★★★ WHERE TO FIND IT www.darthelicopterservices. com


★★★★★ ✱ The S3 has pricing plans to suit the number of hours you fly.


✱ The replacement windows are easy to install with a locking seal.

August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

26 FLIGHT TEST Bell 429

Bell aims high with new 429 Bell’s 429 light twin is the first brand new helicopter from the Texan company for 30 years. Dennis Kenyon tests it for BLADES PHOTOGRAPHY Dave Spurdens

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010


âž˝ August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

28 FLIGHT TEST Bell 429 âœą Flying the Bell 429 demo aircraft from the Surrey airfield of Blackbushe.

BLADES fresh air for helicopters February 2010


✱ Four-blade main rotor and 'scissorstacking' tail rotor contribute to low noise footprint.


AKING a peek at Bell’s long history, we find that the Bell-Textron Company hasn’t actually built a new helicopter since the B-222 model appeared 30 years ago. Recently and somewhat sadly, a certain section of the rotary industry see this time lapse as a ‘bum that wants kicking’... I won’t use the American phrase! Over the past decade, the mighty Eurocopter business has announced a steady stream of bright new models incorporating 21st century technology... the EC120 and 130... rivals to the tried and trusty Bell 206 series. Then, there’s the dominant EC135 and EC145 series, while AgustaWestland launched the AW139 and Grand models into worldwide operation. While no one doubts the ability of Bell to produce a helicopter with a specification and performance to compete with the best machines out there today, it is no easy task to build in the newest technology and get the product accepted by the operators and sold in the market, all certified and ready to go. In the case of the Bell 429, development and production has taken a little over five years. So having had the opportunity to fly one at Blackbushe for BLADES, I have to ask myself has it been worth the wait? Has the factory come up with a 21st century helicopter that will enhance Bell’s historic record and bring the buyers back? I first saw the Bell 429 as an

artist’s impression at Heli-Expo four years ago and, like most pilots at the time, I simply perceived the new model as an updated Bell 427. Now, having been able to spend a day examining a fully certified 429 in the flesh and fly it, I know differently. My readers will know that in spite of 14,000 hours and 32 rotary types, I’m not especially experienced in the larger twin-engine machines and their varied EMS roles, but having some experience of the EC135/155 types and the Agusta 109, let me announce straight away... the Bell 429 is one of the nicest handling and best performing helicopters I’ve flown.

MAINTENANCE STEERING GROUP Before I get into the detail of the flight, let’s take a look at the 429’s maintenance credentials. Bell’s glossy brochure states casually, “The Bell 429 is the first helicopter to be designed and produced following the MSG process.” Now this may well be lost on many BLADES readers, but it is a groundbreaking design method hitherto not used for any helicopter anywhere. In the world of airliners, when a new type is planned, a major aspect of the certification process is a ‘Maintenance Steering Group’ (MSG) consisting of the manufacturer, the customers’ maintenance facilities and


Has Bell made a 21st century helicopter to bring buyers back?

certification personnel. As a steering group, they decide on a suitable maintenance programme for the type. The MSG system is standard practice for airliners and smaller fixed-wing, but to my knowledge has never been used for a helicopter. The benefit of an MSG design will show itself in lower service costs and, for starters, the scheduled 429 maintenance checks are spaced at a unique 200 hours. Yes, I know about the EC145’s 400 hours, but in practice that excludes several intervening 100-hour component inspections. The EMS industry is always looking for a helicopter that is sufficiently roomy to accommodate a wheeled patient litter together with a medical attendant and associated medical storage. An EMS aircraft must also have a suitable payload, range and speed and a high altitude and high density performance. A wide patient loading access is also essential. Bell’s newest 429 fulfils these requirements in spades. The earlier Bell 427 was originally intended to address this EMS market, but the type fell down on two counts. First, its small cabin was not large enough to accommodate the required medical equipment and personnel comfortably, and secondly, the aircraft’s systems could not support IFR certification. In fact, Bell unveiled the 427 at the 2004 HAI helicopter show, but customer response was so poor the project was abandoned. However, as a

August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

30 FLIGHT TEST Bell 429

test bed, the 427 did provide much valuable component technology that was used effectively on its successor. MODULAR AIRFRAME The Bell 429 uses a modular airframe concept (more later) and the ABC (advancing blade) Main Rotor (M/R) head, while using the 427’s derivative rotor drive system and two P&W207D turbo-shaft engines. It also benefits from a dual hydraulic system. The base model has a ‘glass cockpit’ instrument presentation and FAA and EASA certification for singlepilot IFR. First flight took place in February 2007, but delays in the supply of vendor parts and materials delayed first Canadian certification until July of last year. FAA approval

was obtained about the same time, with European CSA 27 certification announced at the Duxford Helitech exhibition in September 2009. At present, the 429 has a certified MAUW (maximum allup weight) of 7,000lb, mainly to stay within the FAA Part 27 limit (Part 29 for 7,000lb plus), but can be certified at 7,500lb with a disposable load. Factory flight testing is taking place to lift the gross weight to 8,000lb. Empty weight leaving the factory in standard configuration is quoted at 4,487lb, but I feel that a typically equipped version is likely to have a WPS (Weight Prepared for Service) that’s 200lb higher. Cargo hook capacity is a whopping 3,000lb and a retractable hoist operating outside the skids is available.

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010

The 429 uses a four-blade M/R head using what are described as ‘soft-in-plane’ flex beams. I’m far from certain what such technicals mean, but I can report that my subsequent flight was virtually free of any vibration or the usual level of noise. The main rotor blades are all-composite construction and have swept tips for reduced noise. Tail rotor (T/R) configuration is a ‘scissor’ stacking, four-blade system, which also provides a lower level of noise. Total cabin volume is an impressive 204 cubic feet. A highly welcome EMS feature for patient loading is the flat floor that runs the entire length of the airframe. Loading height is a whisker higher than a JetRanger at about 36in, but full length flight steps are standard.


The flight was free of any vibration or the usual level of noise

Clam-shell doors for rear litter loading are available and when opened are pinned flush either side of the fuselage. Personally, I’d always prefer to see the fairly standard American method of side loading. The 5ft x 7ft wide cabin can be configured for two side-by-side litters and a flight attendant. Removal of the sound-proofed dividing partition brings the total passenger/cargo cabin length to just under 12ft. Rear access sliding doors are a massive 62in wide. Wow! The primary airframe construction starts with a long flat composite base panel and three vertical formers that make up a rigid, fatigueresistant alloy airframe and are double epoxy-resin coated for corrosion resistance. The closing cabin panels are

33 31

THE OTHER SKIDS ON THE BLOCK Who are the Bell 429's rivals?

AGUSTAWESTLAND GRAND NEW Latest version of the Grand has had a major avionics re-fit to give unparalleled situational awareness. Two PWC207C engines produce 735shp each, gross weight is 3,175kg, cruise 156kt, max range 424nm and endurance 4.15hr.

EUROCOPTER EC135 composite material and with a cabin interior height of 49in in passenger configuration, there’s adequate headroom for a six-footer. A neat touch is the composite, two-piece tail boom that has belly-positioned hard points for additional avionics aerials. Composite is also used for the tail rotor drive shaft, which sits on just three hanger bearings. The passenger seats are easily reconfigured to face forward or aft to provide a club-seating arrangement. Airframe dimensions are: overall length, 43ft, height to top of tail fin, 13.36ft, with a 36ft span M/R disc. Skid track is 8.9ft so she won’t roll over too easily on slopes or run-on landings. I say to myself, “If this is a 21st century aircraft, I want to see some pilot comfort.” At last! Pilot

and co-pilot seats are as good as my Jaguar XKR – fully adjustable fore and aft, up and down, even including lumbar support. Pilot doors are front hinged and open 90˚. The seats are fairly comfortable and energy absorbing a la pretty French Cabri G2, so hopefully, no more JetRanger numb bums! WELL PROVEN ENGINE The meat of any flying machine is the power. This is supplied by the well-proven P&W207D FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control) turboshaft engines that run continuously at 586shp. The five-minute take-off limit is 598shp with a OEI (One Engine Inoperative) limit of 30 seconds at 729shp. OEI continuous limit is 719shp. Useable fuel capacity is 217 US gallons (1,475lb) contained in self-sealing tanks.

✱ Pilot comfort figures high in the 429, with seats as good as Dennis' Jag!

Police and EMS services love the EC135 and it's the market leader Bell is shooting for. Two PWC or Turbomeca engines produce 816shp each, gross weight is 2,910kg, cruise 137kt, max range 342nm and endurance 3.38hr.

MD 902 EXPLORER The NoTailRotor (NOTAR) Explorer from MD is also a popular police/EMS 'copter, partly because of the protected tail. Two PWC207E engines produce 710shp each, gross weight 2,948kg, cruise 136kt, range 317nm, endurance 3.4hr. August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

32 FLIGHT TEST Bell 429

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010

33 Flight manual cruise speed is a healthy 154kt falling to 150kt at MAUW. Retractable wheels are to become available and will add a further 5kt to the above figures. No-reserve range at sea level is 246nm. Loiter endurance at 60kt is 2.8 hours. ISA hover IGE (in ground effect) figures are: 14,000ft at 7,000 all up weight rising to 20,000ft at 5,500lb. ISA OGE being 11,300ft at MAUW increasing to 13,500ft at 5,500lb. So the Bell 429 is a healthy performer that should please ‘hot & high operators.’ Finally, and before we get to our pre-flight walkround, I need to list the standard SPIFR avionics fit (Single-Pilot IFR)... so take a deep breath! Bell’s ‘Basix-Pro’ integrated avionics system is optimised for IFR, Category ‘A’ and JAROPS-3 compliant operations. The all-glass display consists of dual NAV/ GPS/COMS, three-axis stability and control augmentation system (SCAS) and include the dual, digital 3-axis Automatic Flight Control System, (AFCS) two multi-function 6in x 8in high resolution Display Units (DUs) a dual channel Aircraft Data Interface Unit (ADIU) dual channel Air Data Attitude Heading Reference System, (ADAHRS) and a Course/ Heading/Flight Director Panel (CHFD.) The Engine Indications and Crew Alerting System (EICAS) display functions are routed through the Bell BasiX-Pro Avionics System. The system works in conjunction with the engine control units (ECC – Electronic Engine Control) for the P&W engines. Other aircraft system interfaces, warnings, cautions, aural alerts and automated performance information are provided through the remotely located Aircraft Data Interface. The Bell standard COMS/ NAV and Surveillance (CNS) consists of a dual Garmin GNS430 NAV/COM/WAAS GPS system, with a kit option to substitute a GNS530W. Also included as standard is a GTX-330 ELS compliant Mode-S Transponder, a PMA-7000H Audio/Intercom panel with VOX and Marker Beacon Receiver and an Artex C406 Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)... phew! Operators can add Avidyne’s Traffic Avoidance System (TAS), the previously mentioned Garmin 530W Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS), or a similar EGPWS from Honeywell.

TIME TO FLY Having studied the 429’s specification and PFM figures for a whole morning, it was now time to see how she flies. I’m introduced to Bell’s senior production test pilot, the genial Captain Henry Wilson. As we swop yarns, I discover Henry is a USAF ex-Cobra pilot. How I’d love to display one of those! We exit the ultra clean and shiny PremiAir hangar where the subject of our test report awaits. I’m impressed as she sits proudly on the pad – she sure is a thing of beauty and, like Katie Price, has full, well rounded curves in all the right places! Starting on the starboard side, my first look confirms this is a larger aircraft than the earlier 427. Interior dimensions are significantly increased. In particular the rear passenger cabin has sliding doors giving access to a 130 cubic feet cargo or passenger space. The pilot’s business end also enjoys more space as noted above.


She is a thing of beauty with full well-rounded curves in all the right places Landing lights are a LED design (Light Emitting Diodes) which avoid the inevitable overheating problems. In fact, all external lights are LEDs, providing increased life and lower power demand. There is a further array of smaller down-lights fitted flush below the forward doors for night operations. Why hasn’t that been done before? These are a Bell first and have been patented. All cowlings and panels are aerodynamically curved adding to the good looks. The starboard side features nicely placed hand and footholds for M/R inspections. We move further aft where Henry opens the rear clam shell doors using one hand. These fold against the fuselage for virtually unrestricted access for rear patient loading, but see my personal reservations above. A safety line can be fitted between the tail-plane fins to prevent accidental incursion into the T/R area. I noted a couple of hatches that contain various electronics. The

horizontal stabilisers are very similar to the 427 with the tall vertical fin having a cut-out designed to improve T/R efficiency. The existing ‘scissors’ T/R blade configuration is interesting, being a solid four-blade system; the first use of multi blades by Bell in a civil helicopter. The blade and transmission layout incorporates an intriguing lateral, 6.1˚ rear offset driveshaft which adds a further 4kt and, equally important, is significantly quieter. Returning to our walkround, the port inspections are a repeat of the starboard side and, overall, I’d say the airframe looked uncluttered and nicely streamlined. As I strap myself in the four-point harness, my first impression is of space, plus there are several useful corners and cubby holes for personal items. There’s a pull out holder for an IFR approach plate and even a holder for my water bottle! The field of view is particularly good and the instrument panel presentation is well thought out. I think the word is ergonomics, or perhaps MSG pilot input. Whichever, it’s organised and easily readable. Two large display units contain all the flight and instrument information and looked akin to my 42in plasma TV! There are no overhead windows and, heaven be praised, no circuit breakers that have to be fiddled with to conjure up some service; just the rotor brake and a ventilation control. I spent a minute using the seat controls to get comfy – forward, back and height – even including lumbar support. Pure luxury. START YOUR ENGINES Start-up! Oh what joy! Kiss goodbye to Bendix and Ceco and high start-up temperatures! Battery Master ON and the LCD screen runs through a quick self-test. Check the caution panel for messages and set both throttles at ground idle. Check fuel switch position, turn the fuel valves ON and press engine START. Now was that difficult? God bless FADEC. The procedure for a hot start is simply to turn off the fuel. Like the trusty 206, we wait one minute for the starter/ generator to cool before bringing the generator online when we can press START for the second engine. Set both throttles to ‘flight.’

August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

34 FLIGHT TEST Bell 429

With engines stabilised, the Automatic Flight Control System (ACFS) is selected. This system also runs through a self-test sequence. Finally, a pre-take-off check of warnings and cautions and we're ready to go. Captain Henry Wilson holds a Flight Instructor rating so I’m allowed to make a first lift into the hover. I dither with the pedals for a moment to capture the heading and make a small movement of aft cyclic as I raise the collective lever. A single ‘power used’ needle provides clear information as I hold a reasonably stable hover. We are flying with four passengers on a 23˚C day with a gusty 15kt breeze whipping across PremiAir’s helipads. With 150 US gallons of fuel and four pax on board, we would be in the region of 6,450lb takeoff weight and we’re using 73% torque... so plenty of power in reserve. Our cameraship, a Bell 206, is air-taxiing along the entry lane to Blackbushe’s runway 25 and, with ATC clearance to depart as a ‘combine,’ we accelerate to 70kt for the climbout. The plan is to route overhead Farnborough at 2,500ft for our photoshoot and, with a couple of military supersonic fighters

boring off Farnborough’s long runway below, I glance to my right to photographer Dave Spurdens dangling out of the 206’s rear cabin as he snaps away. Dave calls for a climb to 5,000ft. He wants the towering cumulus as background. I pull in the power to 90% and am intrigued to see the VSI indicating 2,500ft/min. No shortage of climbing capability for sure and no discernible changes in attitude. Max PFM quoted rate of climb (ROC) at 100% torque is 3,000ft/min. I’m holding formation with the JetRanger at our two o'clock station just four rotor discs away. If the cumulus clouds are producing turbulence, I can’t feel it. Yes, just 20 minutes into the flight and I’m already comfortable. The 429 is that sort of helicopter. VORTEX RING CONDITION We take up a high hover, turning the nose into what is probably a 30kt wind at 5,000ft. I drop collective and apply aft cyclic to reduce speed and glance down. Farnborough is hardly moving below. Airframe vibration is usually highest in a zero speed OGE hover, but flying this 429, I’d have to say I felt little

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010

vibration at any speed. Our cameraship is making repeated passes, and then we’re asked to fly lower and I decide our high-power hover configuration might be good for a Vortex Ring condition (American ‘settling with power’). For a moment, we have that sinking feeling as translation lift is lost and the helicopter commences an uncommanded descent. A warning rumble from the airframe as the incipient stage arrives, but with a forward movement of cyclic, the moment is gone. Photos finished, we get on with the flight test and I ask Henry to demonstrate a VNE run. Power is increased to 100%, and, adopting a descent attitude, the ASI indicates 155kt, probably 165kt TAS... BUT... no airframe vibration. The airspeed display flickered red to remind us we’d reached a limit. Still no vibration or wind noise to indicate VNE, which would be all too easy to exceed. What have the Bell engineers done? I began to wonder why we need a VNE at all. Bell’s 429 is a seriously fast helicopter! I take up a steep turn to the right feeling that we must at

✱ 429 rides turbulence from a nearby towering cumulus well; handling is superb.


I decide our highpower hover might be good for a Vortex Ring condition...

least expect some ‘rattle & roll’ but nothing. Looking out in the turn, I’m pleased to see the design guys have put a small cut-out in the upper corners of the windscreen. It allows a good look-out even at high angles of bank. On this test flight, we didn’t use the standard, three-axis autopilot, but Henry tells me that a four-axis version (attitude, height, collective and heading) was available. A pretty rare facility on this class of helicopter. Henry next talks me through a Category ‘A’ continued takeoff with OEI. Decision point for the 429 is 30kt and 20ft, at which stage he demonstrates a practice engine failure in simulation mode – which proves especially realistic. The master engineout caution doesn’t come on in training mode, but once the failure is recognised, Henry accelerates to 65kt and climbs away. The 427 test bed handed down a unique feature which in an emergency allows the pilot to exceed the 30 second power limit... better to wreck an engine than the aircraft. Time to return to our Blackbushe base as Henry hands back the controls. Once again, the ASI is approaching

36 FLIGHT TEST Bell 429


✱ State-of-the-art avionics with three display units. 429 certified for single pilot IFR.

BELL 429 PERFORMANCE Max cruise 155kt Long range cruise 130kt Ceiling 20,000ft HIGE @ max wt 14,130ft HOGE @ max wt 11,28ft Endurance @ 60kt 4.0 hours Range @ LRC 407nm

✱ Flying the 429 makes Dennis yearn to start his career again. the VNE red line as I make a fast descent. Levelling off, I ask Henry to simulate a second engine-out and, with No 1 AFCS on and one throttle closed, the only indication I have is the DU showing ‘split needles’. There’s practically no yaw at 110kt and again little change in noise or vibration level. What a great ship this must be to fly as a way of life – oh to be a young whippersnapper pilot again! As we approach the downwind leg at circuit height, we ask ATC if we can make an early left break to cross the active runway. With permission given, I roll on a fairly high angle of bank, drop the speed to 60kt in a 180˚ steep turn into wind and head for the PremiAir access taxi lane. Using a firm aft-cyclic flare, I settle into a five-foot skid height hover. Control is precise and yet again vibration is non-existent even as we lose translational lift. Henry takes over to demonstrate the AFCS control in the hover. As the nose comes round to the required direction, pedal pressure is reduced as the heading is smoothly captured and held. Track sideways with no pedal pressure and the AFCS maintains a constant heading. It is light years away from my handling of the

smaller helicopters! As Henry air-taxies through the helipad gates to our assigned landing pad he explains the simple closing down procedure. PILOT TRAINING Becoming competent on such an advanced bag of tricks needs a type ‘simulator’ and I’m told this will become available very shortly. Meantime, Bell has set up a specialist pilot and engineer training academy at Alliance Airfield, north of Fort Worth in Texas. It would have been in the early 1980s that I enjoyed a few days there to become one of the 110,000 pilots and engineers who attended, and the Bell men certainly showed me a thing or two about how to fly Bell products. I’d thoroughly recommend it. The five-seven day course costs around $35,000, but you get one free if you buy a 429! I'm sure the Bell 429 will find a ready market, especially as a corporate or EMS machine. Air Methods in USA have taken delivery of its first ship, leased to the Des Moines HEMS operator as 'Mercy One'. Rumours hint Bond is taking more than a whisker of interest, but whatever, I believe this is such a fine helicopter that many others will be doing the same.

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010

✱ Cabin area designed for maximum flexibility.

✱ Test aircraft configured for passengers.

SPECIFICATIONS Power 2 x Pratt & Whitney PW207D1 producing 586shp continuous Rotor ø 10.98m, 4 blades Tail rotor ø 1.65m Length 11.73m Height 4.04m Pilots/pax 2/6 Mtow 3,175kgkg Empty weight 2,007kg Useful load 1,168kg Cabin volume 5.78sq m Fuel capacity 821 litres MAJOR OPTIONS Wheel landing gear Tail rotor guard Aft clamshell doors Cargo hook Human External Cargo hoist Skid mounted floats Dual pilot controls Windshield wipers 4th axis autopilot CVR / FDR MANUFACTURER Bell Helicopters PO Box 482 Fort Worth Texas 76101 USA T: 001 817 280 2800 W:

✱ Baggage area accessed from side – 74 cu ft of space.

38 TRAINING PPL(H) ✱ David Anderson lives his dream.

GOING COMMERCIAL AT AGE 44 When David Anderson was made redundant at 44, he decided to train as a commercial helicopter pilot. First, though, he had to get his PPL(H) and decided to train in Florida... and doesn’t regret a minute WORDS David Anderson PHOTOGRAPHY Ocean Helicopters & David Anderson


HEN I was made redundant from my job as an electronic design engineer back in April 2003, I never thought for a moment it would lead me to where I am today. After a lengthy period of deciding what I really wanted to do with the remainder of my working life, I finally decided to attempt to ‘follow my dream’ (apologies for the wellworn cliché!) and become a professional helicopter pilot.

This was not a decision I reached lightly, considering both the costs involved and my age at the time (44). I carried out a lot – and I do mean a LOT – of research into training providers, locations, costs, etc. I had already decided that I wanted to build both sets of licences, FAA and JAA, as I wanted to be a professional pilot who could work on either side of the Atlantic (visa permitting, of course). I had two options: train in the USA and then convert my licence, or train in the UK. In

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010

the end, I decided to obtain my FAA PPL(H) in the USA first, and then convert to a JAA PPL(H) in the UK. This was primarily for cost reasons, but consistency of weather for day-on-day training was also an important factor for me. I had also decided that I wanted a small school, for that slightly more personal touch, but I also wanted somebody that would have some knowledge of what it was like to fly and work back here in the UK, as that was what I was probably going to end up doing. This was what

led me to Ocean Helicopters in West Palm Beach, Florida. Dave and Gill Harmon are both from the UK, and Dave had previously trained and worked here in the UK as a JAA instructor prior to setting up Ocean Helicopters in the United States. Their location in Florida would provide the weather consistency, and they were able to provide student housing. They also offered (and, in fact, still do) an ‘introductory week’, where you can go out and try flying the R22, to see if it really is

going to be for you before you commit to enrolling on a full PPL training course. This was what I did – and I was hooked right away! Of course, an important issue with training in the USA is obtaining a visa. To receive flight training, you must have the appropriate visa. I could write another entire article about this subject alone, so I’ll be brief. You need at least an M-1 student visa. Is it straightforward getting one? Well, yes and no. Do not assume it is just a rubber-stamp

39 ✱ Learning to fly in Florida left David with many unique memories.

✱ Consistency in the weather was one of the things that appealed to David.

exercise. It isn’t. It depends upon a lot of variables, including your age, background and financial circumstances. It can be onerous, and involves attending the US Embassy in London for a personal interview. Don’t forget to factor the costs involved in applying for and obtaining the visa into your estimates! Another important point to consider is that of holiday leave, assuming you have a fulltime job. I had sufficient leave in total, but could only take a maximum of three weeks leave at any one time. The average PPL student will probably take around four or five weeks, allowing for helicopter availability or the occasional bad weather day. I ended up doing my own course in two separate blocks, each of three weeks' duration. When I began training with


Flying between tower blocks on take off is my most memorable training flight Ocean Helicopters for my PPL, I had already completed the introductory week some months previously. My first impressions of the school were that it was both efficient and well-organised, with three full-time instructors available. Owner Dave Harmon was also available as an additional instructor when student demand required it. At that time, they had three R22s, and two R44s so aircraft availability was not a problem.

The aircraft were in good condition and well-maintained by a professional maintenance company nearby. The quality of the ground school tuition was good – two of the instructors at that time were recent graduates from Helicopter Adventures Inc (now Bristow Academy). Ocean Helicopters even has its very own school dog, Skipper. A word of warning, here, just don’t go out of the school for a moment and leave your lunch tantalisingly close to the edge of your desk, as one poor student did... needless to say, it was no longer there when he got back! You could usually fly twice a day without any problem, as long as the weather did not intervene – however, during a Florida summer, late afternoon thunderstorms do occur, so please bear this in mind when

you choose exactly what time of year you do want to train. The FAA course involved the usual mix of cross-country and navigation training, together with learning how to perform the standard PPL syllabus manoeuvres. The routes for cross-country flights were many and varied, but I spent a lot of time going to Pahokee. I also flew into Okeechobee and Stuart. The Sikorsky Helicopter Company test facility is located just a few miles north, at Gwinn Airport, which provides you with some more experience of transitioning through controlled airspace. The largest airport nearby is, of course, Palm Beach International, which is located within Class C airspace. A particular stand-out flight is the one down to Fort Lauderdale, where you land

at Downtown 1, a heliport situated on the top of a multistorey car park in the centre of the city. Flying between the tower blocks as you take off remains one of my most memorable training flights, even to this day. DIFFERENCES One of the main differences with helicopter flight training in Florida is that you can fly mostly at 500ft (yes, even over built-up areas), with the doors off! The R/T is also different to the UK, but I did not find this to be much of a problem. Another significant difference is that five hours of dual night flying is included as part of the FAA PPL(H). Flying cross-country at night from West Palm Beach down to Ft Lauderdale was quite special, and something that you just wouldn’t get ➽

August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

40 TRAINING PPL(H) here in the UK. Another daily highlight was flying along the beach at Jupiter Inlet, looking at all of the sharks in the water (luckily for the surfers, non man-eating). Golf courses abound, and you can fly along PGA Boulevard, the home of the US Professional Golf Association. The colour of the ocean was always quite spectacular. Then you had the ‘Celebrity Tour’, where you could have a bird’s eye view of the houses of the rich and famous, such as Ralph Lauren, Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, who all have palatial mansions in and around the West Palm Beach area. Generally speaking, light aviation airports in the United States are very well maintained and, for the most part, have good facilities. Ocean Helicopters operates out of North County General Aviation

Airport. It is an uncontrolled airport, and the beauty of this particular location is that you can do most of your manoeuvre training ‘on-airport’, without having to shuttle off to a separate training area somewhere. This can save you a lot of time, and therefore money. Being able to practice quick-stops, slopes, running landings, autorotations etc, all on the airport, is a definite advantage. In addition, helicopters tend to operate predominantly on the grass runway (wind conditions permitting), separated from the fixed-wing traffic – always a good thing! Most schools in the US will offer you transportation to and from the school, but there is no real substitute for having your own transport. In America, the car is king, and outside of the major cities, public transport is often not a realistic option.

✱ Dave Harmon, owner of Ocean Helicopters... and Gill Harmon.

So factor car rental costs into your budget. Driving in the US is not difficult once you get the hang of things. However, one student at the school did hit a cow while driving at night, after completing his night crosscountry! The cow was perfectly fine, but the car didn’t fare quite so well! Staying on the subject of night flying for just a moment, in the United States a lot of the airports have ‘PCL’ (Pilot Controlled Lighting). This allows the pilot to turn on and adjust the intensity of the airport lighting, simply by keying the radio transmit button the requisite number of times within five seconds. One student thought this was great fun, and so kept repeatedly adjusting the lighting intensity up and down – until he realised someone else was on final approach to the active runway, and that they did not really appreciate his impromptu light show very much at all... As far as exams go, the FAA PPL(H) only requires one written test, unlike the JAA PPL(H) where the material is split into seven separate exams. I would advise anyone to study for this test while still in the UK. You can buy the books from


Being able to practice quickstops, slopes, etc all on the airport, is an advantage

the internet with ease, and there are software packages available to practice the exam questions. This way, you can be in a position to take the FAA written test quite quickly after your arrival in the USA, and then concentrate solely on your flying. You can also get your FAA medical in the UK before you leave, if you want to be really organised. Finally, the day of the checkride (or ‘skill test’) arrived. The test is split into two main parts, the oral and the practical. You obviously have to pass the oral test, before you can go on to take the practical part. I generally find skill tests pretty nerve-racking, but it all went really well. I do remember that my straight-in autorotation was right on the spot that day! We won’t mention the quickstop, however.

HOURS & LOG BOOKS I had completed my FAA PPL in just a little under 70 hours, which was okay considering that I had to take an enforced three-week break in the middle of my training period. As I said at the beginning of this article, it had always been my intention to convert my FAA licence to a JAA PPL(H), and it is worth highlighting that there are a couple of important aspects to this. These are to do with the related subjects of total hours and log books. If you have logged less than 100 hours’ total time, you must sit and pass all seven of the JAA PPL(H) written exams. More than 100 hours, and you are only required to sit two exams - Air Law and Human Performance & Limitations. It’s up to you, but I personally went back and hour-built above the 100 hour mark before I converted my licence. I also strongly advise that you log all of your JAA flights in a separate log book, immediately upon commencing any flying in the UK. This is because the FAA system enables you to also log any dual hours as Pilot In Command (PIC) time, once you have obtained your initial FAA licence. The ➽

✱ David Anderson in 2009 undertaking recurrency training.

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010


✱ The full-motion, six-axis FTD can simulate more than 200 emergency procedures.

A SIM DIFFERENT FROM THE NORM State-of-the-art flight training from Bond Aviation Services


N 2005, Bond Air Services opened its doors to a new department, Bond Training Services, and in doing so unveiled to the world its state-of-theart EC135 Level III Flight Training Device. So what has the last five years meant to the training division of the UK's largest onshore helicopter service provider, and has it lived up to its own high expectations? Initially, Bond developed the FTD to provide Instrument Ratings, Type Ratings, competency checks and continuation checks for its own pilots. With over 200 emergency scenarios and significantly lower operating costs than a real EC135, the Flight Training Device demonstrated huge benefits for Bond. It not only reduced the company's training overheads, but improved the already high standards of training and experience by enabling pilots to benefit from more simulated failures than can possibly be recreated in-flight. Today, however, Bond’s

external training programme far outweighs its internal requirements. In 2009, Bond Training Services carried out in excess of 1900 hours of training. The external use of the facility now accounts for nearly 60% of the training department’s activities, which include Type Rating, Instrument Rating, Multi Crew, CRM, Qualified Service Personnel Conversation and Dangerous Goods Courses. Training Services Manager Andy Mottram is delighted with the progress. “In the last two years, the number of external hours has increased by over 25%, in part due to the comprehensive range of courses offered by Bond on the EC135 platform. As a result, we have attracted widespread interest from around the world – from Bahrain to Brazil. “The reputation we have built for ourselves is based upon delivering results. For initial instrument ratings, we are proud to boast a 100% pass rate, of which 94.5% are first-time passes. It is this combination of expertise and state-of-the-art facilities,

together with a proven track record, that has made Bond the training school of choice.” The full-motion, six-axis FTD, which meets UK, CAA and European EASA requirements, replicates a single-pilot ECI35 CPDS glass cockpit and offers single pilot and multi-crew training. Bond also has guaranteed access to three EC135T2 helicopters. Since initial development of the FTD, technology has moved on. To keep up with these technological advancements, it has been important to update and modernise Bond’s equipment, and 2009 saw the implementation of a development programme that further improved the highly-detailed graphics and high-resolution inserts that make the device ideal for low-level visual flying. To do this, the FTD itself has undergone a number of firmware upgrades, while the hardware that runs the FTD software has benefited from a number of processor improvements.


David Bond

Expertise and a proven track record has made Bond the training school of choice LCD projectors have also been installed, improving the graphical representation of the geo-specific training. Bond’s training center at Gloucestershire Airport includes an air conditioned Lecture Studio, capable of seating 18 students, supported by audio/visual aids. A full post-flight debriefing facility is integral to the learning programme, so every second of activity taking place in the FTD is digitally recorded, allowing instructors to re-run the student’s performance in minute detail and correct any shortcomings or analysing any alternative outcomes or scenarios. Andy Mottram explains, “The simulator allows students to learn the

toughest lessons in the safest place. It enables them to prepare for scenarios that cannot be replicated in flight. What we have here at Bond is the ability to arm our pilots and students with the knowledge and training that will enable them to react appropriately should a situation require them to do so. “The training centre forms part of our company headquarters and heavy maintenance center, so subsequently our pilots and students are also encouraged to develop an understanding of how the aircraft actually works. Our engineers are always happy to answer any questions, and we believe this all-encompassing approach produces a level of excellence that is crucial for pilots in this industry. “As the simulator approaches its sixth year of operation, we believe its unique capabilities and the impeccable standard of our trainers are defining a new standard for the future of flight training.”

Gloucestershire Airport, Staverton, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK, GL51 6SP CONTACT BOND TRAINING SERVICES W E T +44(0)1452 856007

42 TRAINING PPL(H) JAA system, however, does not. You can still enter your JAA flights into your FAA log book, thus enabling you to have a complete record of all your flights – just be aware of the differences between the two systems, and what the specific conditions were for each flight, FAA or JAA. It does mean keeping two separate log books, but it really saves you a LOT of grief later on, when classifying and counting up your hours, believe me. Returning to the UK to fly helicopters requires you to adapt to a couple of major differences quite quickly. No more flying around at 500ft with the doors off, for a start. As you will already know, you must maintain a sufficient altitude to land clear in the event of an engine failure, so you have to get used to flying a little higher, and avoiding any built-up areas etc. Most UK flight training schools will insist that you do some form of ‘conversion’ training when you come back prior to sitting the JAA Skill Test. The amount does seem to vary slightly from place to place, but I would allow for between five to ten hours. This is to ensure that you are


I did the whole thing for about £10,500 – including two return air fares thoroughly familiarised with the key differences, which primarily relate to airspace and radio procedures, but also to ensure you are fundamentally safe and up to the standards required to sit and pass the JAA Skill Test. I did my own JAA PPL conversion with Kingsfield Helicopters based at Scone, in Perthshire, Scotland. Russell Hogan, the Chief Instructor there, is also an FAA CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) and is a great bloke, who can also fill you in on the differences and exactly what’s involved in converting your licence. WHAT DID IT COST? So, how much did it all cost, I hear you cry? Bearing in mind that I completed my FAA PPL(H) back in 2005, when things were definitely

✱ In Florida, it’s permissible to fly at 500ft – and with the doors off!

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010

cheaper than they are now, I did the whole thing for about £10,500 – including two sets of return air fares to Florida. All reputable schools will be able to give you an estimated cost for a PPL, but bear in mind it is exactly that, an estimate. The final cost will depend on both how quickly you learn as an individual, and how hard you work during the training. The pound-dollar exchange rate is also very important, as you would expect, but that is really out of your control – you just have to time it as well as you possibly can. At that time, a JAA PPL(H) in the UK was costing approximately £15,000. Of course, you have to add on the conversion training costs, JAA exam and Skill Test fees etc, so my final cost to get to my JAA PPL(H) was probably closer to £14,000. However, I had successfully obtained not one but two licences, and a lot of invaluable experience along the way. Ocean Helicopters offer FAA Part 141 training from PPL through to CFII, and I met people there who are still my friends to this day. Would I recommend it? Absolutely!

TRAINING IN FLORIDA SOME of the places David took in when he was training, with the daily highlight of flying over Jupiter Inlet watching the sharks surfers couldn’t see. E Palm Beach A West Palm Beach F Fort Lauderdale B Pahokee G Jupiter Inlet C Okeechobee H North County Airport D Stuart







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PERFORMANCE in) Ma x ra ng e (n m) HIG E (f


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

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. 1830 1930 1850 2788 2140

295 378 301 610 437

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

119 KOALA MK11 AW119 Ke is an eight-seat single turbine helicopter designed to provide high productivity and performance at a competitive price. 575 605 605 4303 1568

3.40 3.50 3.59 6.60 3.70

11.70 11.46 12.92 22.80 13.52

1.60 1.60 na 4.50 2.26

8 8 8 33 17

2 x PWC PW207C 2 x PWC PW206C PWC PT6B-37A 3 x GE CT-7 2 x PWC PT6C-67C

AW139 Medium-twin engine helicopter combining the benefits of proven technology and the latest new-generation system integration. 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.

BELL 430 Beautiful and brawny, that’s how Bell describes “the world’s most captivating light twin.” Has an advanced bearingless composite main rotor design.

122 130 140 140 140 tba 150

115 112 122 133 138 142 139

1280 1320 1780 1940 1600 tbc 1730

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

344 419 1251 484 770 814 935

2.90 3.10 4.50 3.10 3.20 tbc 4.00

12.00 12.90 17.10 12.60 13.00 tbc 15.30

2.00 2.30 2.90 2.50 2.70 tbc 3.60

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. 1450 1600 1450

229 375 229

13200 15600 13200

8700 14000 8700

12000 13000 12000

1180 1360 1179

744 816 744

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. 422 544 435

159 340 159

2.74 2.90 2.74

8.90 9.10 8.90

2.23 2.50 2.23

3 5 3

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






na 2 x JFTD12A-4A

BRANTLY B2B Simple, robust, easy-to-fly two-seater. Fuel-injected piston engine mounted vertically, driving main and tail rotors through gears. 225 420 225

3/9.75 3/9.75 3/9.75

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

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












2 x 4500 5/22.00

Specialist heavy-lifter and fire-fighter.

MORE STATS OVER THE PAGE EUROCOPTER – SIKORSKY August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

46 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

AS 350 B3 The ‘Single Squirrel’ is used on a wide range of missions, including aerial work, training, observation, fire fighting and law enforcement. 1150 1675 1979 1770 1296 1500 1500 1600 1321 1154 1618 1062

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

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

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

EC130 B4 The EC130 B4 is the newest 7/8-seat single-engine helicopter in the Eurocopter range. One outstanding quality is its wide cabin.

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

725 1026 1009 1376 1110 1455 1455 1793 1891 2302 4090 5719

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

3.40 3.34 3.34 3.61 3.14 3.62 3.62 4.00 4.06 4.35 4.92 4.97

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

2.60 2.53 2.53 2.73 3.05 2.65 2.65 3.12 3.25 3.48 3.38 3.96

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

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

1770 1546 2061 2100 2020

239 210 232 423

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

MD 600N The MD 600N® is an eight-place, light, single-turbine engine helicopter that provides high performance and increased capacity. 690 801 684 900 1304

242 242 242 435 606

2.90 2.90 2.80 2.70 3.70

9.40 9.80 9.80 10.90 9.80

1.90 1.90 1.90 2.50 2.20

4 4 4 7 7

Rolls-Royce 250-C20B Rolls-Royce 250-C20R Rolls-Royce 250-C30 Rolls-Royce 250-C47 2 x PWC PW207E

MD 902 EXPLORER Currently certified by FAA and JAA for day/night VFR and single pilot IFR with full Category A design standards to JAR-OPS 3 performance Class I. 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

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

1000 1,000+ 1,000+

180 365 348

9400 6400 8950

5200 5100 7500

14000 14000 14000

621 1089 1134

388 654 683

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

233 445 451

73 116 116

2.70 3.30 3.30

8.80 11.70 11.70

1.90 2.20 2.20

2 4 4

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

R66 The new RR300 turbine-powered five-seater from Robinson, shown for the first time in February. Certification in 2010?

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

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

432 270 281 405 362 497 432

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

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

600 1000 1200 2100 3700 5000 20000

na na na na na na na

2.75 3.50 4.185 3.77 5.40 5.20 8.145

8.85 11.18 8.23 13.50 11.30 20.15 33.747

2.40 2.50 2.56 2.50 3.52 4.50 6.15

5 6 9 16 15 32 4-5

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

MI-26T World's heaviest lifting helicopter in production, says the company. Can carry up to 20 tons.

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

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

750 1250 1500 1800 1600

201 225 310 411 539

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010

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

SIKORSKY S-76C++ All-round tough operator, capable of many roles. Now in C++ version, with D on the way with many big upgrades. 431 294 590 2129 4421

147 121 137 1064 2858

2.66 2.65 3.40 4.42 5.47

9.40 9.40 5.18 16.00 20.88

1.99 1.99 1.91 3.05 5.26

3 3 4 14 21

Lycoming HIO-360-D1A Lycoming HIO-360-G1A Rolls-Royce 250-C20W 2 x Turbomeca Arriel 2S2 2 x GE CT7-8A

SIKORSKY S-92 Heavy lifter and the most advanced aircraft in Sikorsky’s civil product line. Shares much with H-92 military version. 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


FLIGHTTRAINING To place an advert in the helicopter industry’s premium publication call the sales team on 01223 409060 or email ABERDEENSHIRE HJS Helicopters

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

BEDFORDSHIRE Cranfield Helicopters

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

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

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


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


Wycombe Air Park & Denham PPL(H), CPL(H), FI(H), IR(H), Type Ratings, Night Rating, LPC’s 01789 470476

GLOUCESTERSHIRE Heliflight UK – A Patriot Aerospace Company Gloucestershire Airport PPL(H), CPL(H), FI(H), Night Rating, LPC’s 01452 714555


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

WEST SUSSEX Elite Helicopters

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


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

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE Central Helicopters

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


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

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

NORTHUMBRIA Northumbria Helicopters

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

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

Advertise in Blades Telephone: 01223 497068

August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters



To place an advert in the helicopter industry’s premium publication call the sales team on 01223 409060 or email 1997 AGUSTA 109 POWER ELITE

1996 ENSTROM 480


Aircraft S/N: 11719 Registration: F-GOOZ TSN: 377 VIP configuration 6 pax. Dual controls. Air conditioning. Snow Skids, fixed parts €3.800.000 EUR Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

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

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

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



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. €2.650.000 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. €850.000 Euro Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010




Comfort lay-out with soundproofing. Energyabsorbing front seats. Dual controls. 65hrs TT. Honeywell KX 165A - VHF/VOR/LOC/GS Garmin GI 106A – Course Deviation Indicator Garmin GMA340H – ICS Garmin GNS 430 – VHF/VOR/LOC/GS/GPS €1.390.000 Euro Contact +46 (0) 706 365 135

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

Aircraft S/N: 3063 Registration: SE-JDX TSN: 7.937 Hours TT Emergency flotation gear fixed parts. Cargo swing fixed parts. 6 ea. headset High type landing gear €950.000 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: 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





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 €1.000.000 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



To place an advert in the helicopter industry’s premium publication call the sales team on 01223 409060 or email 1981 AS 350 B SINGLE SQUIRREL G-EJOC TT 5225 Corporate & type training use only - T Inspection Due 03/12 (490 hrs) - Low Skids-SFIM 85E APMany NEW Avionics & KMD 150 GPS-6 Plc com -Excellent Times - Available Now £385,000 + VAT - Would consider px R44. Capital Air Services Limited 01865 370739 mhampton@

1991 AEROSPATIALE AS355F2 SN-5462, TTAF 5462, 2 x Ali 250C20F ETT LH 3,185 Hrs. / RH 3,256 Hrs, Time since O/H LH 2,588 Hrs. / RH 2,570 Hrs. VIP Leather Interior 5/6 Seats, Emergency Floats, SFIM 3 Axis, GNS-430, TCAS 1, £750,000 + vat, Derik McGarrity - +44(0)7980814365



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

2008 EUROCOPTER EC135T2+ Offered by PC Aviation

2007 EUROCOPTER EC155 B1 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

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


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 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


GPS, AFCS Sperry with flight director and auto-trim, Dual VHF / AM Collins VHF, Dual VOR / ILS, ADF, Trans, DME, Dual markers, Rad Alt & LG Caution System, ISAI, Duel HSI, Dual ICS with 6 headsets, Exterior paint (2003) and Cabin reno 2003 Tanned leather seats and Carpet. €500,000. Derik McGarrity +44(0)7980814365

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

Advertise your Clubs and Schools here call on 01223 497068

1983 EUROCOPTER AS 355 F1 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

1999 EUROCOPTER EC120B COLIBRI 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

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 £180,000 No VAT Contact: 01823 461 777

ONE 1998 EUROCOPTER EC135 T1 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

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

BLADESmart “special” Deals Call now for more details on 01223 497 067 or email

1992 MD500E


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

1985 ROBINSON R22 ALPHA. S/No 0500. O/H May 2010 inc ext paint & new interior. 7 Hole panel. KX155 nav / comm. KI203 nav indicator. KT73 Mode S transponder. Twin fuel tanks. Cabin Heater. £115,000.00 +VAT (If app) Contact Joe Pettifor Brian Seedle Helicopters Ltd +44 (0) 1253 342754



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,


2004 1100hrs TT New ARC/Annual. Whole or 1/3 shares. See web site for info. £149,000 +VAT Tel. 07917 023987 Tel. 01473 811783

1993 Schweizer 300c (269c) 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 bjarne@

1996 SIKORSKY S76C+ Offered by PC Aviation


Price £120,000.00 no VAT

S/N - 760464, G-BYOM, TTAF - 3,700, LOCATION Blackbushe Airport-UK, Single & dual pilot IFR, Available immediately. Price - Make Offer Contact: Huxley Cowen +44 (0)1865 768888

August 2010 BLADES fresh air for helicopters

50 WHAT'S ON Helitech Europe, Diary Dates PHOTO Serge Bailleul/

✱ Fighting fires from the air is an important industry in southern Europe.

COOL DOWN AT HELITECH EUROPE Head to Portugal for aerial fire-fighting demonstrations and more...


IVE aerial firefighting displays are just one of the highlights of the Helitech Europe event being staged at Airport Cascais, Portugal on 5-7 October. The demos are organised by Helibravo, an operator based at Cascais with specialist knowledge of aerial firefighting – a major industry

during southern Europe’s summer season. Remember ‘Greece on fire’ in 2009? The event alternates with Helitech at Duxford, with most of the major helicopter manufacturers exhibiting, along with many of the specialist suppliers of equipment and services. The organisers say visitors will benefit from seeing first

hand all the latest product developments, meet with key industry people and network with friends and colleagues from across the industry. And you can fly your helicopter into the event site during show hours, free of charge. Airport Cascais is located in a tourist area of the Costa do Estoril, 30km from Lisbon’s international airport and is

home to numerous flying schools, maintenance and service companies. See www. for more details. Leading the packed conference programme topics are: • Next generation of simulation training from the UK’s Helicopter International Working Group

• Challenging the status quo in current training policies by the European Helicopter Safety Team (EHEST) • Aerial fire-fighting, from contract tendering through to operation • Project Clean Sky, a huge project covering Europe and aiming to produce ‘greener’ aircraft.

WHAT'S ON AND WHERE TO FIND IT... ✱ SEPTEMBER 2-3 European Corporate Aviation Summit, Linkoping, Sweden. Conference. 2-12 European Aerobatic Championships, Touzim, Czech Republic. 3 The Blackpool Illuminations switch on (til 7 Nov). 3-5 LAA Rally, Sywell. 4 Braemar Gathering.

www.braemargathering. org 4-5 Battle of Britain Airshow, Duxford, Cambs. http://duxford. 5 World Superbikes, Nurburgring, Germany. 8-11 St Leger Horseracing Festival, Doncaster. 10-12 Guernsey Air Rally, Guernsey Airport. Guernsey Aero Club 01481 265267. www.

BLADES fresh air for helicopters August 2010

10-12 Italian F1 GO, Monza, Italy. 14-16 Aircraft Interiors Expo – Americas, Long Beach, USA. www,aircraftinteriors 15-17 Jet Expo, Vnukovo 3 Airport, Moscow, Russia. Business aviation show. 17-19 Goodwood Revival, Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit, West Sussex, UK. 21 Business & General Aviation Day, Cambridge, UK. 22-25 Monaco Yacht Show, Port Hercules, Monaco. Europe’s top yacht show. www.monacoyacht 23-24 Light Jets Europe 2010, Oxford, UK. Conference. 24-26 Singapore F1 GP. 26 World Superbikes, Imola, Italy. 28-30 MRO Europe, ExCel, London, UK. Exhibition & conference.

✱ OCTOBER 5-7 Helitech Europe, Cascais, Portugal. 19-21 NBAA, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. ✱ NOVEMBER 2-4 Dubai Helishow, Airport Expo, Dubai, UAE. ✱ DECEMBER 7-9 Middle East Business Aviation Show (MEBA), Dubai.


5-8 Heli-Expo 2011, Orlando, Florida, USA. ✱ APRIL 2011 13-16 AERO 2011, Friedrichshafen, Germany. ✱ MAY 2011 17-19 EBACE, Geneva, Switzerland. ✱ JUNE 2011 20-26 Paris International Airshow, Le Bourget, France.

Visual flying rules!

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Blades August 2010  

Blades is the most passionate advocate of helicopter flight in publishing. With news, show reports, flight tests of machinery as varied as B...