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•Compound helos push the speed envelope Eurocopter’s and Sikorsky’s forays into the compound-helicopter segment harness the latest technology to provide speeds of more than 200 knots for a relatively low cost. Page 4
•Milestone logs nearly $205 million in sales Since Richard Santulli launched the leasing firm in August, the company has closed $141 million in transactions and holds letters of intent for $64 million more. Page 10
Bell intros new 407s, for civil and military ops by Mark Huber Bell Helicopter unveiled two new versions of its 407 single here at Heli-Expo yesterday. The 407GX features a Garmin G1000H glass cockpit, while the 407AH is a $5 million commercially available armed helicopter developed primarily for the export market. It will be available to qualified customers directly from Bell, as opposed to via contracts from the U.S. Defense or State Department.
The GX’s G1000H system can be configured to include HTaws, TCAS, synthetic vision and electronic maps, ADSB, high-speed data bus, global worldwide weather and connectivity and displays all electrical, engine and engine power parameters, all on a pair of 10.4inch LCD displays. Optional kits include the Garmin GDL 69AH XM weather and radio,
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•Uniflight developing RR500 STC for B206
Language in the senate version of the FAA Reauthorization bill seeks to restrict operations over Crater Lake National Park and over the Long Island corridor. Page 14
Eurocopter’s newest helicopter, the EC145T2 unveiled yesterday morning, has already added 17 helicopters to the manufacturer’s order book.
Eurocopter unwraps its newest EC145 by Nigel Moll
Installation of the 475-shp Rolls-Royce 500–which could begin in 2013–will boost performance and reduce costs, according to Uniflight. Page 11
•Senators move to limit helo operations
Vol. 43 No. 5
MARCH 7, 2011
Bell’s 407GX is equipped with Garmin’s just announced G1000H glass cockpit. The Bell installation will be the first certifcation of the G1000H in a helicopter.
•Timken transmission gets pilots home
With dry ice, bright lights, loud music, CEO Lutz Bertling in the cockpit and four glamorous passengers in helmets and flight suits, Eurocopter rolled out its newest helicopter here at Heli-Expo shortly after the convention opened yesterday morning. The EC145T2 introduces a fenestron, new engines, a new main gearbox and what Bertling described as “25 percent more mission performance” than its predecessor. Four operators have already signed up for 17 copies of the new helicopter. The EC145T2 takes a platform well proven by the 2.8 million hours logged by the BK117/EC145 and replaces the original Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 turboshafts with dual-Fadec Arriel
Opening day draws a crowd
Army Apache pilots stationed in Afghanistan find out that the Timken main gear box will, indeed, run for 30 minutes without oil. Page 18
Attendees crowded the hall yesterday for the opening of this year’s Heli-Expo. The event has certainly delivered the excitement attendees expect, with the introduction of several new models. Manufacturers continued the momentum, announcing deals for aircraft n throughout the day yesterday.
•GA leaders outline industry challenges Budget cutting and potential limits on airspace access rank high among the concerns of industry leaders. Page 23
•HAI honors helicopter pilots and mechanics
The association is awarding its Salute to Excellence and Golden Hour awards this evening. Pilots and mechanics from the U.S. Coast Guard are among the honorees. Page 28
Continued on page 27 u
AW sees growth in orders, revenue by Kirby J. Harrison AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppi Orsi had reason to smile at Saturday night’s press conference, pointing out that the Milan-based manufacturer delivered 111 commercial helicopters in 2010 and the commercial order book showed an increase of 56 percent when compared with 2009. Offering a chart tracking market share, Orsi said AgustaWestland’s share has grown from 11 percent in 2004 to 29 percent in 2010. More recently, he said, “AgustaWestland has been growing at more than three times the rate of market growth.” Citing a jump in total revenue from $4.832 billion in 2009 to $5.060 billion in 2010, Orsi credited in part a 43-percent increase in AW139 orders and a combined commercial and military order book for 230 helicopters valued at $4.443 billion. He further noted a 25-percent increase
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Discover innovative mission solutions at Bell Helicopter during HELI-EXPO® 2011. Explore the robust technology of our 407AH commercially qualified armed helicopter, offering performance in parapublic and military applications, along with the exclusive Garmin G1000H™ glass cockpit on our 407GX. Experience our Garmin flight simulator and touch-screen interactive media displays. We’re on a mission to show you what you’ve never seen before. Visit us at booth #237. On a Mission. ©2011 Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. All rights reserved.
Call 800-FLY-BELL or visit www.bellhelicopter.com to find the solution thatâ€™s best for your mission-specific needs.
High-speed compound helos push the flight envelope by Thierry Dubois Eurocopter (Booth No. 4637) and Sikorsky (Booth No. 2737) have successfully demonstrated the feasibility of a high-speed compound helicopter, but using different configurations. S ikorsky’s X2 reached its target of 250 knots last September in West Palm Beach, Fla., and also met vibration and workload targets, according to the U.S. manufacturer. A few days later, Eurocopter unveiled its
reached 260 knots in a shallow dive. Program officials said they are happy with the aircraft’s aerodynamic performance. The vibration level, as hoped, is said to be similar to that of the Black Hawk military transport at its cruise speed of 140 knots. Pilot workload is relatively low thanks to the fly-by-wire control system. Sikorsky president Jeff Pino announced the construction of two prototype X2
Sikorsky’s X2 (above) has reached 260 knots in a shallow dive, while Eurocopter’s X3 (left) despite having a slower top speed, promises better fuel burn and reduced operating costs.
X3 (X cube) in Istres, France, with a 220knot speed goal. Both the X2 and the X3 are taking advantage of 21st-century technology to develop the relatively old compound concept. Both claim to be less complex than a tiltrotor, and their main applications will likely be military and commercial, respectively. Sikorsky is exhibiting the X2 technology demonstrator at Heli-Expo. X2 team members, including chief test pilot Kevin Bredenbeck, are prepared to field questions from attendees, a Sikorsky spokesperson told AIN. The aircraft is a compound helicopter featuring two counter-rotating coaxial main rotors and a pusher propeller. The X2’s flight test program is complete. “With all of our key performance parameters met, we will be moving our attention and resources to the [military] S-97 Raider program,” the spokesperson said. There is no longer a plan to fly a full hub fairing on the X2, which was expected to afford an extra 15 to 20 knots. The 250-knot speed was the program’s main objective since launch in 2005 and was attained in level flight. The X2 even
Raiders late in October. The U.S. Army will evaluate the prototypes for armed reconnaissance. The X2 Raider will have a two-pilot cockpit and space for armaments and auxiliary fuel or troops. First flight is planned in 2014. The proposed helicopter model to be developed from the X2 Raider is the S-97. At last year’s Heli-Expo, a Rolls-Royce official accidentally and publicly alluded to the “Eurocopter X3.” About six months ago, the European company unveiled the X3, designed to cruise at 220 knots–about 50 percent faster than today’s medium twins. The aircraft made its maiden flight on September 6. It was built from a Dauphin helicopter airframe, with two short wings and two propellers
in puller configuration. A conventional empennage replaces the tailrotor. The X3 is doing “surprisingly well,” Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling said recently, noting that it reached 180 knots at reduced power in November. The aircraft’s flight envelope was expanded to 12,500 feet and up to 60 degrees in bank. Bertling also said the development simulator the pilots have been flying for two years has been very helpful. Profitable to Operate
The first test phase is complete and the engineers are now investigating all critical parts. The main gearbox, adapted from the EC175 medium twin, is being upgraded to accommodate full power from the aircraft’s two Rolls-Royce RTM322 engines. Fadec software is also being modified. The helicopter manufacturer believes it has found a sweet spot at a target speed that, although slower than the Sikorsky X2’s 250 knots, will still make the X cube profitable to operate. The 220-knot optimal speed also helps meet the goal of keeping operating costs low. The design is inherently more efficient and the fuel burn (per passenger mile) is said to be similar to that of a conventional helicopter flying at 140 knots. And by spending less time in the air for a given trip, maintenance costs per flight should be lower. The bottom line should be a 20-percent cut in per passenger mile costs. The price premium of a commercial X3 should not exceed 25 percent more than the price of a conventional helicopter equivalent. Hoped-for civil applications for this high-speed, long range concept include search and rescue, border patrol and commercial passenger transport, especially offshore. Military applications are under consideration, too. An application in the 20-seat category would weigh about 29,000 pounds–4,000 more than today’s EC225. The first application of the X3 concept may be in service in six years from now, Bertling estimated. A combination of technology developments enables the X3 innovations, flight test engineer Daniel Semioli explained to AIN. The engines are now powerful enough, without excessive fuel burn. Manufacturers have a better command of materials, both metals and composites. Finally, test equipment, especially telemetry, is more sophisticated. Engineers can thus conduct a test campaign without too many problems. o
Eurocopter EC175 in flight test Eurocopter is currently flying two EC175 prototypes, and is expecting EASA certification later this year, with deliveries to begin next year. Eurocopter is partnering with China’s Avicopter on the medium twin. The EC175 is directed at a diverse clientele, including coastal patrol. At last year’s Heli-Expo the company unveiled an SAR concept demonstrator of the helicopter that included a 360-degree search radar, an electro-optical system, high-intensity searchlight, two class-one rescue hoists, bubble windows and additional aircraft lighting. Eurocopter says the EC175 is ideally suited for SAR because of its large cabin and extra-wide sliding passenger doors. The cabin area is large to enough to accommodate multiple casualties and an extensive amount of medical equipment, while the doors ease hoist operations. The EC175’s avionics suite, integrated and designed by Eurocopter, also complements SAR operations. It includes a digital four-axis automatic flight control system linked to the flight management system that provides area navigation and automatic search patterns. –M.H.
4aaHAI Convention News • March 7, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
An independent publication solely owned by the Convention News Co., Inc., Midland Park, N.J. FOUNDED IN 1972 James Holahan, Founding Editor Wilson S. Leach, Managing Director Editor-in-chief – R. Randall Padfield Editor – DOMESTIC show editions – Matt Thurber PRODUCTION DIRECTOR – Mary E. Mahoney PRODUCTION editor – Jane Campbell PRESS ROOM ADMINISTRATOR – Annmarie Yannaco the editorial team Charles Alcock Thierry Dubois Kirby J. Harrison Mark Huber David A. Lombardo Nigel Moll Harry Weisberger James Wynbrandt the production team Mona L. Brown Joseph W. Darlington Curt Epstein John Manfredo Lysbeth McAleer Colleen Redmond ONLINE EDITOR – Chad Trautvetter Photographers – Cy Cyr Mariano Rosales EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT & ONLINE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT – John F. McCarthy Jr. Publisher – Anthony T. Romano Advertising Sales – north america Melissa Murphy – Midwest (830) 608-9888 Nancy O’Brien – West (530) 241-3534 Anthony T. Romano – East/International Philip Scarano III – Southeast (203) 798-2400 ext. 23 Victoria Tod – Great Lakes/UK Advertising Sales - International – Daniel Solnica - Paris production/MANUFACTURING manageR – Tom Hurley audience development manager – Jeff Hartford Group Brand Manager – Jennifer Leach English SALES/production ADMINISTRATOR– Susan Amisson Advertising/sales Secretary STAFF – Patty Hayes Cindy Nesline DIRECTOR OF FINANCE & NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT – David M. Leach Human ResourceS Manager – Jane Webb accounting/Administration manager – Irene L. Flannagan accounting/AdministratiON Staff – M ary Avella Erin Fogelstrom Rosa Rivera U.S. EDITORIAL OFFICE: 214 Franklin Ave., Midland Park, NJ 07432 Tel: (201) 444-5075; Fax: (201) 444-4647 Washington, D.C. EDITORIAL OFFICE: Paul Lowe 5605 Alderbrook Court, T-6, Rockville, MD 20851 Tel: (301) 230-4520; Fax: (301) 881-1982 email@example.com EUROPEAN EDITORIAL OFFICE: Charles Alcock 8 Stephendale Road, Farnham, Surrey GU9 9QP UK Tel: 44 1 252 727 758; firstname.lastname@example.org U.S. advertising OFFICE: 81 Kenosia Ave., Danbury, CT 06810 Tel: (203) 798-2400; Fax: (203) 798-2104 EUROPEAN ADVERTISING OFFICE: Daniel Solnica 25 rue Saulnier, 75009, Paris, France Tel: 33-1-42-46-95-71; Fax: 33-1-42-46-85-08 email@example.com RUSSIAN ADVERTISING OFFICE: Yuri Laskin, Gen. Dir., Laguk Co. Ltd. Russia, 115172, Moscow, Krasnokholmskaya Nab., 11/15 - 132 Tel: +7-05-912-1346, 911-2762; Fax: +7-095-912-1260 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Convention News Company, Inc.– AIN Publications President – Wilson Leach Executive Vice President – John F. McCarthy, Jr. Vice President of Operations – R. Randall Padfield Treasurer – Jane L. Webb Secretary – Jennifer Leach English HAI Convention News is a publication of The Convention News Co., Inc., 214 Franklin Ave., Midland Park, NJ 07432; Tel.: (201) 444-5075. Copyright © 2011. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission of The Convention News Co., Inc. is strictly prohibited. The Convention News Co., Inc. publishes Aviation International News, AINalerts, AIN Air Transport Perspective, AIN Defense Perspective, AINmxReports, Business Jet Traveler, BJTwaypoints, Dubai Airshow News, EBACE Convention News, Farnborough Airshow News, HAI Convention News, MEBA Convention News, NBAA Convention News, Paris Airshow News, Singapore Airshow News. Printed in Orlando by Central Florida Press Computer Services: Rentfusion
Introducing the Garmin G1000H ™. It’s a new glass age for Bell Helicopters. Featuring 3-D HSVT™ “synthetic vision” technology and HTAWS terrain alerting1 with voice annunciation, this new Garmin suite brings the ultimate in glass cockpit capability to the Bell 407GX. The G1000H’s integrated avionics technology enhances pilot situational awareness by consolidating all primary flight, navigation, terrain, obstacle, traffic, radio frequency and engine data on large 10-inch PFD and MFD displays. Other highlights include: Large moving maps with detailed topography; available XM™ Satellite Weather2. Airport diagrams. Radar altimeter interface3. And there’s even input for optional FLIR or live-cam video monitoring – as well as future capability for automatic speech recognition (ASR) and 3-D audio. Garmin G1000H: It’s the best in glass for Bell Helicopter. And we’re truly thankful and proud to be onboard. Follow the leader.
©2011 Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries NASDAQ GRMN NOTE: Some listed capabilities may be optional equipment. Check with manufacturer. 2 Subscription required for optional XM weather (sold separately). 3 ARINC 429 radar altimeter interface. 1
Robinson looks toward resurgence Following a watershed year that marked the retirement of company founder Frank Robinson, the certification and first deliveries of its new R66 turbine single and its worst sales numbers since 1987, Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. 2928) is positioning itself for strengthening sales and new product development. “I can’t think of anything bad to say,” Frank Robinson said at a press conference here before turning the podium over to his son, Kurt. Frank Robinson retired on August 10 as president and chairman of the board. He founded the company in 1973. Kurt Robinson has worked at Robinson since 1987. He holds an undergraduate economics degree from the University of California, San Diego as well as an MBA and law degree from the University of San Diego and is a licensed commercial helicopter pilot. He said his management style would be collaborative. “We have a team of people here now who run the company and my role is to work with that team.” Kurt Robinson faces immediate challenges. Just two years after
hundred of the turbine singles annually. “We are growing more confident by the day,” he said. “As you go forward you don’t stop if you have a vision and you know where you are going.” Robinson said the company is evaluating glass-panel avionics for the R66, but that a decision would likely wait until after the R66 is certified in additional foreign markets and completes certification work on float, law enforcement, cargo hook and electronic news gathering packages. He said there are no plans to pursue an IFR certification for the helicopter, but added that it is currently undergoing cold weather and blowing snow testing in Canada. The company received FAA certification of the R66 on October 25 and announced that the base price has increased to $798,000. Recently it received FAA certification for factory air-conditioning on the helicopter, a $23,000 option. The 42-pound unit has a 17,000 BTU/hour cooling capacity. Air is distributed through an overhead console with vents for each seat. The system is controlled via a toggle switch with low and high fan settings and uses approximately three horsepower during operation. The evaporator and fan are mounted under the aft center seat, maintaining all four under-seat baggage areas. The compressor engages when the fan is switched on and automatically disengages during autorotation entry to maximize glide performance. An R66 equipped with airconditioning is on display in the Robinson booth at Heli-Expo. o
posting record annual deliveries of 893 helicopters, Robinson Helicopter saw its 2010 sales plummet to 162 units. The total included 10 R66s, 40 R22s and 112 R44s. Robinson’s robust spares business allowed it to maintain 1,000 employees during the downturn. The company also completed a 132,000-sq-ft plant expansion at its Torrance, Calif., site, bringing its total square footage under roof there to 617,000. “It allows us to increase our manufacturing capacity,” the younger Robinson said. Last year the company anticipated making 300 helicopters in 2011. The total includes an estimated three-per-month production of the newly certified R66 turbine single. Robinson said sales are exceeding that projection and that the company is currently making seven helicopters per week; one R22, four R44s and two R66s. Robinson said that the company already had delivered 20 R66s and anticipates increasing the helicopter’s production rate to three or four per week shortly. Robinson has signed 51 dealers for the R66 and has orders for 130. Robinson said the company is striving to sell several
Robinson R66 Shines in the Details Put an R44 and R66 side-by-side, and the key differences are immediately apparent: the R66’s eight-inch taller mast and eight-inch wider cabin. Thanks to the angled installation of the Rolls-Royce RR300 (below right) that powers the R66, Robinson engineers, led by chief engineer Peter Riedl, were able to carve out a 300-pound, 18-cu-ft baggage compartment directly under the rotor mast, so cargo doesn’t have much effect on center of gravity location, according to chief test pilot Doug Tompkins. Pilots like the baggage storage area under the R44 seats, and even though Robinson had to meet the latest dynamic seat crashworthiness standards, Riedl and his team were able to retain storage areas under four of the R-66’s seats (the fifth seat in the center rear has no storage). “We’re the only manufacturer able to pass the latest crashworthiness and still retain some of our baggage space,” Tompkins said. The R66 tailrotor is two inches larger in diameter, so the total helicopter length is one inch longer than the R44. Tailrotor blades are about a half-inch wider in chord, and the tailrotor hub is redesigned to reduce vibration, with a thinner hub but beefier bolts. The R66 incorporates the “whale tail” a uxiliary stabilizer used on the float-equipped R44. The tail keeps the nose from r ising during autorotation. Another improvement deserving attention is a handy airspeed limitation chart mounted on the cyclic for easy viewing during flight. The chart is printed on a housing (below left) that rotates so the applicable temperature and limitations can be viewed easily, instead of having to squint at a hard-tosee sticker mounted elsewhere in the cockpit.–M.T.
by Mark Huber
Sealed with a shake Charles Alesi of Florida Coast To Coast Helicopters (left) takes delivery of a Flyit Standard Professional Helicopter Simulator from Flyit chairman Terry Simpkins at Heli-Expo yesterday.
Tilton Bullish on MDH Prospects Lynn Tilton, CEO of MD Helicopters (Booth No. 1618) gave an upbeat assessment of the Mesa, Ariz.-based company’s near- and long-term prospects at a Heli-Expo press conference yesterday. Several major sales agreements that could keep the production line at capacity for the next four years are near consummation, according to Tilton. Among the prospective deals: a collaborative production agreement to provide the majority of the airframe for Boeing’s AH-6i light attack/ reconnaissance helicopter for the global market and a contract with a six-nation EMS program in the Middle East to provide 50 to 75 MD902 helicopters and support over 10 years. –J.W.
Enstroms Headed to Japan
6aaHAI Convention News • March 7, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
On February 25 in an elaborate ceremony at Sendai, Japan, Enstrom Helicopter delivered the first of 30 RollsRoyce 250-powered TH-480Bs ordered by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force for training up to 60 pilots a year. On the opening day of Heli-Expo, papers were signed here for handover of the second aircraft, and eight more will follow next year, 10 in 2013 and the final 10 in 2014, company president and CEO Jerry Mullins (left, in photo) told AIN. M itsuo Hattori of Aero Facility, Enstrom’s representative in Japan, signed the paperwork here in Orlando on behalf of the customer. Mullins has been president and CEO of Enstrom since 2003, when he was hired by the Swiss individual who bought Enstrom Helicopter in 2000. –N.M.
Consider the Cutting-Edge. Sharpened. Introducing our newest innovation:
EC145 T2 Eurocopter Exhibit #4637
The Australian Army has chosen Sandel Avionics’ fourinch flat-panel primary flight and navigation displays to upgrade its fleet of Bell 206B/OH-58 Kiowa helicopters. Redesign of the legacy OH-58 instrument panel and installation work was accomplished by Sikorsky Helitech in Brisbane, Queensland. The 4-ATI SA4550 PFD and SN4500 nav display feature a 180-degree viewing angle and high sunlight readability. The self-contained, panel-mounted units can interface with nearly all digital or analog aircraft. For the Australian military application, optional analog and digital Tacan interfaces are included, along with certification to demanding DO160F helicopter gunship vibration standards. Night-vision-imaging system compatibility, another option, is also included on the Australian OH-58s. An Australian Army spokesman said a follow-on order for the Sandel displays is planned later this year. “This selection further confirms the value of our 4-ATI units for military retrofit,” said Jerry Henry, director of sales for Vista, Calif.-based Sandel (Booth No. 3518). “We’re pleased that our commercial off-the-shelf products can provide reliable performance at a reasonable price.”
z DAC and Cobham Sign HeliSAS Sales Agreement DAC International, part of Greenwich AeroGroup, has entered into an agreement with Cobham S-Tec under which DAC will distribute Cobham’s HeliSAS autopilot and stability augmentation system for light and medium helicopters in Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand. Cobham received FAA TSO certification for the HeliSAS in 2009 and received STC approval for installation and VFR operation in the Bell 206 and 407 on March 4. Cobham (Booth No. 4028) expects to receive approval for installation in the AS350 and EC130 by mid-year. HeliSAS is a two-axis altitude-hold, attitude-command flight-control system designed to help with aircraft stability, hold altitude and heading and couple with onboard navigation equipment. Installation requires approximately 40 manhours. The HeliSAS is billed by Cobham’s Mineral Wells, Texas, division as “lightweight” (15 pounds) and “affordable” (price to be announced). The system is on display at Booth No. 1259.
z Brazilian Military Police Go for Armored Huey II Bell Helicopter (Booth No. 237) and helicopter mods specialist LifePort (Booth No. 2737) teamed to develop a customized, advanced armament solution for a Huey II now in service with the Rio de Janeiro Policia Militar. The customized armor adds security for pilots, passengers and crew. “The Rio military police perform some of the most dangerous and difficult parapublic missions,” said Larry Roberts, Bell Helicopter senior v-p. “Our number one priority was to provide the Rio police with a solution that offered them the highest level of safety and performance capability.” Four pilots from the Rio military police took a two-week training course at the Bell Helicopter Training Academy in Alliance, Texas, to become familiar with the armored helicopter.
on the state of the organization and its current initiatives. With close to 2,900 members, 91 international affiliates and solid finances ($37 million in the black), HAI is stronger than by James Wynbrandt ever, Zuccaro said. During the past year HAI “It’s going to be a really big of a proposed balanced bud- has been working with the FAA show,” HAI chairman David get amendment, stated that the Safety Team (FAASTeam) to Chevalier (CEO of Blue Hawai- growing federal deficit could develop helicopter-specific safety ian Helicopters) told attendees ultimately reduce funds available and training programs for EMS, yesterday morning at the annual for defense, fighting forest fires air tour and firefighting operageneral membership meeting and other spending that many tors. With expanded video and broadcasting capabiliand breakfast that kicked off HAI members rely on. ties, HAI continues to “I fear it could affect Heli-Expo 2011. produce safety and eduIn fact, with more than 600 your industry first and cational videos. exhibitors and almost one mil- foremost,” he said, makFurthermore, the lion square feet of display and ing a case for a balanced association’s 21 workmeeting areas, this is the biggest budget and reduced feding committees conHeli-Expo ever, featuring sev- eral spending. tinue to develop In the Q&A session eral new activities and events. recommendations for These include an aviation asso- following his remarks, policy makers and prociation town hall meeting with the senator was asked Senator vide information for use CEOs of major alphabet groups, his thoughts on recent Mike Lee in congressional teslive streaming of forums to a sales of American aviglobal audience via the Inter- ation companies, such as Tele- timony by HAI leaders. And net, and perhaps most excit- dyne Continental and Cirrus perhaps most important, the Aircraft, to Chinese- organization continues to be a ing, a heliport adjacent vital link connecting all memcontrolled interests. to the convention cen“Because we live in bers of the helicopter industry. ter that will be in oper“Our strength as an industry is a free-market economy, ation throughout the we can’t prohibit other in our unity,” Zuccaro told AIN gathering. people from buying before the convention. “The thing The breakfast meetAmerican companies,” that’s apparent to us, everybody ing set the tone for an he said, while noting a is experiencing the same issues, action-packed gathering. need to protect intel- concerns and problems, and the Keynote speaker firstlectual property cre- solution is out there somewhere, term Senator Mike Lee ated with federal funds. and working together is the key of Utah, whose fatherHAI President “I don’t think there’s to finding it. So that’s the value in-law founded Rocky Matt Zuccaro anything we can do or of networking we offer.” Mountain HelicopZuccaro also noted one reaters and brother-in-law founded should try to do particularly Mountain West Helicopters, said, to prevent foreign companies son why Heli-Expo is such an “The helicopter industry is at the from buying U.S. companies. important event. “This is where cutting edge of the United States We should be doing things to deals are made, this is where economy, moving high-end goods restore prosperity so we can buy sales occur: aircraft sales, major service contracts and compoand people in a way no other their interests, as well.” HAI president Matthew Zuc- nent parts sales. So there’s real machine can get them there.” But the senator, co-sponsor caro gave attendees an update business here,” he said. o MARIANO ROSALES
z Sandel Display Updates Aussie Kiowa Panel
2011 on course to eclipse previous Heli-Expo shows
Columbia Helicopters (Booth No. 1017) announced that the Commercial Airlift Review Board (CARB) recently certified the Oregon-based company for Department of Defense (DOD) passenger and cargo operations. With this and prior certifications, Columbia is now eligible to bid on a more comprehensive variety of contracts for heavy-lift helicopters for all U.S. government agencies. “The verbal comments I got from the actual audit team were that we didn’t just do well, we excelled,” said Columbia Helicopters president Michael Fahey. “This will open up whole new areas of opportunities for our company.” Columbia claims to own and operate the world’s largest privately held fleet of heavylift helicopters.
8aaHAI Convention News • March 7, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
z Columbia Helicopters Wins CARB Certification
And we’re off! HAI president Matt Zuccaro presided over the ribbon cutting ceremony marking the official start of Heli-Expo 2011 Sunday morning. The show is expected to attract more than 20,000 visitors over the course of the three days.
S-92 Helicopter: International Symbol of Hope. ®
Ever since a Sikorsky R-4 helicopter performed the first helicopter rescue in 1942, Sikorsky has been the leader in developing outstanding search and rescue helicopters. Now, we’re raising the bar even higher with an enhanced S-92® helicopter, tailor-made for civil and military search and rescue missions. A new Automatic Flight Control System with automatic hover capability enhances mission effectiveness, while a uniquely spacious cabin maximizes flexibility. With nearly 300,000 flight hours worldwide, the S-92® helicopter delivers the consistent, value-added performance you need in the most challenging environments. And that’s just what you’d expect from Sikorsky, giving the world hope that help is on the way.
z Clutch on Breeze-Eastern Rescue Hoists Improves Coast Guard Helicopter Safety Breeze-Eastern of Whippany, N.J., announced that the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has almost completed upgrading the rescue hoists of more than 100 HH-65 multi-mission cutter helicopters with Breeze-Eastern’s reactive overload clutch. The clutch is a nextgeneration improvement, according to the company, and provides a significant safety advantage over slip-clutch technology. While slip clutches prevent cables from snapping under gradual increases in pressure when they exceed load limits, the reactive overload clutch will protect cables from snapping in the event a sudden exceedance occurs. During the USCG’s evaluations, a hoist was subjected to freefall drops of loads of various weights and distances under a wide range of operational conditions. The tests found the new clutch would prevent a shock load from breaking the cable. “Breeze-Eastern is proud to bring this product to the U.S. Coast Guard and make it available to all of our commercial and military customers who are doing important, lifesaving work,” said company president and CEO Mike Harlan. “Contributing to safe operations is Breeze-Eastern’s top priority.” The reactive overload clutch is available on new hoists and as an aftermarket upgrade. Breeze-Eastern (Booth No. 3631) also manufactures winches, cargo hooks and weapons-lifting systems.
z Professional Aircraft Accessories Invests In Test Cell Professional Aircraft Accessories (Booth No. 1359/1360) has invested approximately $500,000 in a new rotorcraft test cell to facilitate transmission overhauls. According to Professional Aircraft president Robert Bial, the service is now being offered in both the military and civilian marketplace. A Greenwich AeroGroup company, Professional Aircraft offers a variety of other rotorcraft services at its Titusville, Fla., facilities. It is an FAA- and EASA-approved Part 145 repair station specializing in repair and overhaul of helicopter powertrain components, landing gear, accessories, instrumentation, radio and radar avionics and airframe components.
z Global Aerospace Adds Insurance App Aviation insurer Global Aerospace of London announced the launch of its FlightDeck iPhone/iPad app at Heli-Expo 2011, enabling users to access the company’s insurance services via these mobile devices. Global Aerospace is demonstrating the app throughout the convention at its booth (No. 823). The FlightDeck app provides easy access to the company’s eCert certificate processing system, including the ability to save certificates directly onto FlightDeck’s documents folder for later retrieval and printing. The app also includes contact information for all Global Aerospace offices and key contacts. The EU insurance-limits calculator enables users to determine minimum liability limits for travel within the European Union based on aircraft weight, number of passengers, and baggage and cargo. Users can also submit a light aircraft claim using their iPhone or iPad, connect to the company’s Web site or access an emergency checklist. And through an iTunes direct link, users can also save documents securely on these mobile devices.
z AAR Airlift Adds Two Sikorsky S-92s to Its DOD Fleet AAR Airlift, one of the largest providers of intra-theater transport for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has added two new Sikorsky S-92 Helibus helicopters to its fleet of 29 rotary-wing and 20 fixed-wing aircraft providing airlift services to the government. The S-92s are being used in support of a $450 million contract for super-heavy airlift services for USTRANSCOM. Putting the Helibuses into service marks a major milestone for AAR Airlift, as it expands and optimizes its fleet to serve a wider range of Department of Defense airlift requirements. AAR’s fleet now is capable of serving medium, heavy and super-heavy airlift categories. AAR (Booth No. 1600), headquartered in Wood Dale, Ill., also provides a variety of value-added products and services to the worldwide aerospace and government/defense industries.
Milestone expects to top $205M in aircraft leases by Charles Alcock Milestone Aviation Group (Booth No. 4042), a global finance company focused on providing leasing of high-value helicopters and private jets, announced at Heli-Expo 2011 that it has closed $141 million in transactions for 27 new and used helicopters since the company was launched last August. In addition, it currently holds letters of intent for an additional $64 million in aircraft, bringing the total of firm and expected business to $205 million. The company expects to close a transaction on its first business jet, a Gulfstream G450, this week, founder and chairman Richard Santulli told AIN here at Heli-Expo 2011 yesterday. The company is providing leases to helicopter operators in Mexico, the U.S., India, Canada, Europe and Brazil, including Aeroservicios Especializados of Mexico; CareFlite, Grand Prairie, Texas; Global Vectra, India; Helijet International, Vancouver, B.C.; Inaer of Europe; and Omni Taxi Aereo of Brazil. These operators use helicopters in a range of industries, such as offshore oil and gas, EMS and government contract transport. After leaving his position with the NetJets fractional ownership company in August 2009, a company he also founded, Santulli said he had no idea what he planned to do next. However, before starting NetJets, he had been head of the Goldman Sachs leasing group and founder of the highly successful RTS Helicopters, a leasing company, so he knows the aircraft leasing business well. “I have leasing in my DNA. I really have a passion for it,” Santulli told AIN. “I knew there weren’t any companies focusing specifically on leasing helicopters, so I saw an opportunity.” Fellow founders were CEO William Kelly and managing director Robert Dranitzke, and both former senior executives with NetJets Europe. In fact, all seven members of the Milestone management team are former NetJets people. The company is headquartered in Ireland and has a U.S. office in Columbus, Ohio. Santulli works from his home in New Jersey, but travels a lot. He owns a share of a NetJets Falcon 2000, which he bought for his personal use
10aaHAI Convention News • March 7, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
while he was with the company. Milestone provides dry leases in which it carries 100 percent of the financing and residual value risk on the new and preowned aircraft it buys. “We want to avoid people having to go
$6.5 and $7 million. “There are very few dry lessors like us in the helicopter sector, and the manufacturers don’t provide much financing,” Kelly said. “We’re not into the VIP market because that fluctuates a lot, but the working-class helicopters are in demand all the time and all around the world.” Milestone Aviation is backed by $500 million in capital from the Jordan Company and Nautic Partners private equity groups. The company is expected to
R. RANDALL PADFIELD
Former NetJets honcho RIchard Santulli sees a booming business in aircraft finance with Milestone Aviation Group, the company he helped found less than a year ago. To catch AINtv’s interview with Santulli, log on to www.AINtv.com.
through credit committee hell,” Kelly said, referring to what can be a torturous process for getting leases approved. “There is just a small group of people involved and we make quick decisions.” The new firm’s main area of focus is what Kelly called “working-class helicopters,” meaning aircraft involved in activities such as offshore support and logging. He said that helicopters involved in fields like these hold their value well. Milestone expects 70 percent of its business to be outside the U.S., with a strong focus on Africa and Asia. For helicopter operators, Milestone’s pitch is that leasing equipment reduces risk and conserves working capital, as well as offers tax advantages and improves cash flow. “It also eliminates end-of-useful-life hassles, and these days even finding financing to cover 20 percent of the purchase prices can be tough so leases can ease strapped balance sheets,” he explained. While raising launch capital for Milestone, Santulli visited the First Reserve private equity group, which owns CHC Helicopters. Back in 1993, Santulli had bought some Eurocopter Super Pumas for CHC at $5.5 million apiece. The aircraft are still in service and First Reserve now values them at between
raise further equity next year and in the next five or six years wants to lift the value of its portfolio to between $4 billion and $5 billion. Milestone also intends to be active in leasing fixed-wing aircraft. These could account for around 20 percent of its portfolio and will mainly consist of private jets aged between one and five years in the class of the Bombardier Challenger 300 and larger. o
AT THE BOOTHS Dart Helicopter Services (Booth Nos. 4628 and 5328) signed an agreement to distribute Heli-Enterprise maintenance work stands and speciality tools for helicopters throughout the world. Heli-Enterprise products include the patented Engine Extractor, a portable hoist that can be used to remove engines, transmissions and rotor heads from helicopters in any location, according to the company. The Extractor folds up and fits inside most helicopter cabins. Other Heli-Enterprise tools covered by the agreement include maintenance stands, blade racks, Nightsun racks, work tables and dollies for almost every model of helicopter. v
Uniflight developing RR500 STC for Bell 206 by Mark Huber Uniflight (Booth No. 2654) is developing a supplemental type certificate (STC) to install the 475-shp Rolls-Royce RR500 in the Bell 206. The $599,000 (2011 dollars, less engine core credit) STC includes the RR500 engine, new engine cowling and exhaust, Donaldson inlet-barrier filter and diffuser-vent filter and a Sagem eight-inch multifunction display for engine instruments. Uniflight CEO Joseph Hawke said the company hopes to have the STC certified in early 2013, shortly after Rolls-Royce receives the type certificate approval on the engine. Hawke sees an eventual market of up to 30 conversions annually, with initial orders likely coming from Bell 206L LongRanger operators, “who are still thirsty for additional power.” He said that replacing the stock RR250-C20B engine with the RR500 would reduce direct operating costs of the
helicopter by an estimated $24 per hour, thanks mainly to reduced maintenance costs and longer overhaul intervals. The time between overhauls (TBO) on the RR500 increases to 2,000 hours for the hot section and first- and second-stage turbine wheels and to 4,000 hours for the power turbine and compressor. This compares to the RR250-C20R’s TBO of 1,750 hours for the hot section and first- and second-stage turbine wheels and 3,500 hours for the power turbine and compressor. The life of the single-stage titanium impeller is measured in cycles and the limit for it has been set at 15,000. Uniflight has hired Frank Shallene, a retired Bell program manager and propulsion engineer, as an FAA designated engineering representative, to develop the STC. Shallene said the new engine would give the 206 significantly improved performance. “The climb rate will be quite a bit better. Maximum payload will increase by 400 to 450 pounds. High/hot performance is going to be a stemwinder.” Christopher Fultz, Rolls-Royce RR500 program director, said the new engine can provide more than maximum continuous power from sea level through 20,000 feet within current transmission limits at “pretty significant temperatures.” Rolls-Royce plans to accelerate its testing program for the engine. To date, only one engine has been tested. It was run for
sharing sikorsky stories
Sergei Sikorsky, the eldest son of Sikorsky founder Igor Sikorsky, talks about his father’s aviation sucesses during a special session yesterday here at Heli-Expo 2011.
20 hours before inspection tear down. A second engine is being built and readied for automated endurance testing, scheduled to begin in the next few weeks. The initial engine test was absent of anomalies, and Rolls-Royce engineers plan to monitor the performance of the RR500’s new gearbox and lubrication system, among other variables, in the accelerated and automated tests. Fultz said certification testing should begin in June 2012 and take approximately seven months. He added that Rolls-Royce is
working “to try and improve fuel consumption” of the engine, estimated at slightly more than 27 gph. However, “It is a bigger engine and it has more power, so it takes a little more fuel.” Hawke said that fuel consumption would not be a big factor in a prospective customer’s decision to upgrade. Uniflight plans to distribute the STC through authorized dealers and their affiliates and already has signed dealers in Canada (Skyline Helicopter Technologies) and Australia/New Zealand (HeliCenter). o
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New safety tools on tap from EMS pilots group The National EMS Pilots Association (NEMSPA) is showcasing two online safety programs at Heli-Expo 2011, developed in collaboration with
two helicopter industry safety organizations: Aerosafe Risk Management and Alertness Solutions. NEMSPA expects both programs to enhance
safety in the air medical transport industry and commercial helicopter operations in general. NEMSPA (Booth No. 5711) and Aerosafe Risk Management (Booth No. 5710) have developed an interactive Web site designed to provide pilots, dispatch centers, facility managers and disaster response agencies with up-to-date, detailed helicopter landing zone
information through an online database. The database includes information on each listed helipad, including its environment and permanent as well as transient hazards to flight in the vicinity. NEMSPA is also displaying Z-Coach here at Heli-Expo, a fatigue management program developed by Dr. Mark Rosekind and Alertness Solutions.
Z-Coach provides knowledge, strategies and tools to help users obtain optimal sleep and alertness, resulting in improved safety. Z-Coach is accessible online, and the program can be tailored to the needs of individual users. NEMSPA is the exclusive distributor of the Z-Coach fatigue management program to NEMSPA members.–H.W.
Rockwell’s helo boxes to contain Sandel software
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Sandel Avionics’ HeliTaws terrain warning and avoidance technology, introduced at HeliExpo 2010, has been adopted for inclusion in Rockwell Collins’ line of integrated rotorcraft avionics systems under a long-term agreement between the companies. Sandel’s proprietary TrueAlert adaptive algorithms are at the heart of technology that Gerry Block, the company’s founder and CEO, says virtually eliminates nuisance alerting in lowlevel helicopter flight. The original Sandel ST3400H HeliTaws is a panel-mounted display with integral processor that combines the terrain database, radar altimeter, GPS and air data information to present the pilot with a color-coded map of the helicopter’s immediate environs and its present and predicted flight path. The 3-ATI unit is a direct form, fit and function replacement for a radar altitude indicator. Sandel Avionics is demonstrating the ST3400H at Booth No. 3518.–H.W.
China Inaugurates Helicopter Show China is launching its own helicopter show. The China Helicopter Exposition 2011 (Booth No. 503) will be held September 15 to 18 in Tianjin and is sponsored by the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and its Avicopter division. Currently China has a population of 1.4 billion but has only 200 civil helicopters. Avicopter has a major helicopter research and production facility in Tianjin and Chinese officials have previously stated the goal of eventually building indigenous heavy, medium, and light n helicopters at the facility.
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Enstrom makes China return
by Nigel Moll With the recent sale of a 480B turbine single to Wuhan Helicopters, Enstrom has returned to the Chinese market. It was in the early 1990s that the Menominee, Mich.-based manufacturer first sold helicopters into China when Wuhan Helicopters imported some of the first civil certified helicopters–Enstrom 280FXs used by the Wuhan Police and Enstrom 480s for agricultural spraying. Wuhan still operates a rare turbine-powered TH-28 for agricultural spraying and other commercial work. The 480B recently ordered by Wuhan Helicopters will also be fitted with spraying equipment (an Isolair system), as well as Garmin GPS and a Safe Flight powerline detection system. Michael Powell, president of Isolair, noted that there is a flow control in the cockpit for easy and fast adjustment
of spray volume. “The tank mounts under the belly, and the entire assembly–pumps, booms and all–attaches with only a few quick-disconnect pins. This means the helicopter can quickly be reconfigured for other duties with a minimum of fuss.” Enstrom director of sales and marketing Tracy Biegler said that civil certification of the 480B is currently under way in China. Founded in 1959, Enstrom offers the three-seat piston-powered F28F and 280FX and the turbine-powered 480B, available as a three-place trainer and patrol aircraft, a 2+2 four-seat trainer or as a three- to five-place executive transport. For law enforcement, Enstrom offers a 480B variant known as the Guardian and an F28F variant called the Sentinel. o
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Enstrom’s 480B, as seen on display at the company’s booth, can serve a wide variety of roles, from aerial sprayer to law enforcement to executive transport. The single-engine turbine helicopter is certified in 16 countries.
Senators move to restrict helicopter operations Two U.S. Senators have inserted language into the FAA Reauthorization bill that circumvents the normal channels governing airspace regulation for specific areas in their home states. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) added an amendment to the bill that allows the National Park Service to stop air tours over Crater Lake National Park without first preparing an air tour management plan, as required in every other national park. Wyden has long opposed air tours in the park. Meanwhile Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has taken his quest to rearrange helicopter flight corridors over Long Island to a new level. His amendment would compel the FAA to implement
the proposed “North Shore Route” over Long Island Sound and a minimum altitude of 2,500 feet for the route within 12 months. Schumer’s amendment gives the FAA the legal authority to implement the route, which had been roundly criticized by the helicopter industry. Last year, HAI president Matt Zuccaro called it “unprecedented, dangerous and unjustified” and noted that most of the noise complaints were coming from just a handful of individuals.–M.H.
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Timken transmission gets Apache pilots home by Kirby J. Harrison
Jim Hardy is one of those military pilots out of the John Wayne mold in the classic film, “The High and the Mighty”–quiet spoken, at home in the air and determined to bring his aircraft and his passengers home safely. His story unfolds one night in eastern Afghanistan in 2002 as a flight of Army Apache AH64As were providing security coverage. A rocket-propelled grenade attack left Apaches from the 3rd Battalion, 101st Airborne, badly damaged, in enemy country and 50 miles from the forward arming and refueling point. The ship flown by chief warrant officer Hardy and CW2 Stanley Pebsworth took small arms fire and shrapnel from a rocketpropelled grenade that damaged the weapons and night-sighting In worse shape was C_AIN_HAIsystems. 2011_HI.pdf 1 2/1/11 1:47the PM Apache flown by CW3 Keith Hurley and CW3 Stu Content, whose
aircraft was also hit by small arms fire and a rocket-propelled grenade. In addition to losing the weapons system, their transmission cooler housing had taken rounds and was hemorrhaging oil at a frightening rate, a main rotor blade tip was shredded and the fuel cell was leaking from the damage. The two-ship flight linked up and was returning to the forward arming and refueling point when things went from bad to worse. Hurley had doubts that the aircraft were capable of making the distance, and a suitable place was picked to land and assess the damage. On the ground, six spare quarts of oil were poured into Hurley’s transmission, little enough for a housing that typically carried 13 quarts and was by that time running on empty. “We had always heard that the Timken transmission would run for 30 minutes without oil, but nobody was particularly
inclined to test it,” said Hardy. As the senior pilot, Hardy switched helicopters with Hurley. There was never a thought, said Hardy, to leaving the helicopters and heading back on foot. “First of all, it was a long way to walk.” Hardy also remembered being on duty in 1993 when Somali
militia shot down two U.S. Army Black Hawks and to the cheers of onlookers dragged the bodies through the streets of Mogadishu. “I remembered how they ‘celebrated’ and it was a simple act of defiance when I decided these guys were not going to get me or my crews or my helicopters.”
Both crews were also aware that abandoning one of the helicopters would also mean a dangerous recovery attempt for someone else. As they took off, it was in the back of Hardy’s mind that autorotation, requiring operational flight controls and electrical power, was
Timken Aerospace Gears Up for Growth Timken Aerospace Aftermarket Solutions’ $400 million in annual revenues represents a relatively small portion of parent Timken Company’s $4 billion total, but the Mesa, Ariz.-based aftermarket specialist is aiming higher as it moves into the new decade. Among the more recent moves by the group is an expansion of its engine overhaul business, which now includes Rolls-Royce 250, Honeywell T53 and Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T Twin-Pac and PT6A turboshaft PMA (parts manufacturer approval) parts manufacturing, repair and overhaul. In recent months, the group also opened a new engine facility in Mesa that combined the assets of its Tucson works and a smaller repair shop already established in Mesa. The new shop is dedicated to engine and drive train overhaul. The group now claims some 2,000 different FAAapproved PMA replacement parts, from turbine blades to compressors. Timken also supplies most of the parts that drive overhaul costs, including wheels, combustion liners, nozzles, bearings and gears. It also offers in-house casting, vacuum molding and machining capabilities.
At its Heli-Expo 2011 exhibit (Booth No. 1306), Timken will be featuring newly developed helicopter parts with a primary focus on transmission and rotor head parts. A major part of the aftermarket group’s long-term s trategy is expansion by acquisition. Since 2005, it has snapped up a half-dozen companies with a considerable collective experience in aftermarket products. Among them are: CAM, a helicopter drive-train specialist; Bii, bearing repairs; Sermatech International, turbine compressor specialist; and Purdy, with expertise in gears, gearboxes and transmission capabilities. In 2008, Timken acquired Extex of Gilbert, Ariz., which brought under the Timken umbrella a number of RollsRoyce 250 and P&WC PT6T PMAs, along with foundry and component machining experience. Most recently the group has added the assets of A lcor Engine, also of Gilbert, Ariz. With more than 20 trained aviation technicians, Alcor produces direct replacement parts for aviation gas turbine engines and components. As a newly formed subsidiary, Alcor has been rebranded Timken Alcor Aerospace Technologies.–K.J.H.
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no longer an option. “If the accessory gear box goes, then the flight controls go and the electrical systems go,” he explained. At that point, the Apache would have taken on the flight characteristics of a dodo bird. As they pressed on, Hardy and Content hoped that Timken’s assurance of 30 minutes of operation with a dry transmission was accurate. Twenty-six minutes later, both helicopters landed safely at the ammunition and refueling point–the helicopters somewhat the worse for the wear, but with no injuries to the crews. “There are very few times when everything depends on a single piece of equipment functioning as advertised,” Hardy told AIN. “This was one of them.” “Hardy’s story, said Timken v-p of aerospace and defense Erik Paulhardt, “is an aweinspiring reminder that the technology Timken delivers often is involved in risky operations and sometimes heroic events, in civilian and military service alike.” At Heli-Expo 2011, CWO Jim Hardy is a guest at the Timken exhibit (Booth No. 1306). o
AgustaWestland’s AW139 will be soon be a common sight in the skies above Inchon, South Korea.
Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 Makes Its Debut in S-61 The Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite, long a staple in fixed-wing aircraft, has made its first rotorcraft appearance, in a Sikorsky S-61 retrofit program. The installation of the Rockwell Collins integrated display system by Toronto-based Vector Aerospace consists of two 10-inch by eight-inch primary flight display units, TWR-850 weather radar with turbulence detection, AHS-3000A attitude heading reference system, TDR94D mode-S transponder with ADS-B out capability and a dual display control panel. The Pro Line 21 installation in the S-61 is fully upgradeable for future airspace and technology requirements. A full line of rotorcraft avionics is on display at the Rockwell Collins booth (No. 4306). Pro Line 21 components include options such as the integrated flight information system with electronic charting, XM satellite weather and enhanced maps. –H.W.
AgustaWestland makes strides into Chile, South Korea, Canada AgustaWestland is expanding its global presence with deliveries in Chile, orders from the South Korean government and appointment of an independent sales representative in Canada. The Finmeccanica company recently delivered an AW119Ke single-engine helicopter to Chilean operator Firefly. The delivery marks the entrance of the AW119Ke into the Chilean helicopter market, where it will be used as a corporate transport.
BY QUALITY AND EXPERIENCE
AgustaWestland had previously sold and delivered four law enforcement AW109 Power light twins to the Carabineros de Chile. Along the Pacific Rim, the Republic of Korea has selected the AW139 for the Incheon fire department. In addition to firefighting chores, the helicopter will be used in emergency medical service, air rescue and transport missions. It will be equipped with belly-tank fire fighting equipment, a Bambi water bucket and a rescue hoist. The cabin will be
configured to accommodate 12 passengers. Delivery is expected in 2012. In the North American market, AgustaWestland has appointed charter operator London Air Services of Vancouver as its sales representative for Canada. The agreement represents one of the latest moves to further strengthen and expand AgustaWestland’s position in North America. London Air Charter operates three AW139s as part of its air charter fleet. –K.J.H.
Cobham will provide synthetic visionbased EFIS to retrofit the Eurocopter and Bell fleets of the Los Angeles Police and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. LAPD operates 14 Eurocopter AS350B2 and five Bell 206 helicopters, while LASD has 14 AS350s. The aircraft will receive Cobham’s NVG-compatible two-screen EFIS, which displays GPS, helicopter terrain
awareness/warning system and radio tuning information and accepts data from a flight management system. The suite will, beginning this year, integrate with the HeliSAS autopilot and stab augmentation system from the Mineral Wells, Texas, Cobham autopilot operation. LAPD operates the largest municipal airborne law enforcement fleet in the world, while the sheriff’s department
PHOTOS: ANTOINE DAUGNY
LA law to get Cobham EFIS
covers 3,100 square miles from the Pacific shoreline to the Mojave Desert. Cobham is at Booth No. 4028 this week to debut a two-place helicopter cockpit simulator featuring large-format 3-D synthetic vision symbology and automated flight control functions. Cobham’s former Wulfsberg operation in Prescott, Ariz., is also featuring a “significant enhancement” to the Flexcomm RT-5000 tactical transceiver. Covering all current and future P-25 public service frequencies, the new RT5000P has front panel channel selection, a new scan function and requires only a single antenna. Existing RT-5000 transceivers may be upgraded to RT-5000P functionality without wiring, antenna or part number changes. –H.W.
Avionics provider Cobham’s new integrated cockpit simulator features 3-D synthetic vision symbology, audio and radio systems, and the HeliSAS autopilot and stability augmentation system.
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20aaHAI Convention News • March 7, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
Emteq tapped by ONR for blade tip lighting The Pentagon’s Naval Research office has selected Emteq to create a rotorblade tip lighting system. The program’s goal is to develop and build a reliable, lightweight system that can be modulated to provide red, green and white navigation lights at the appropriate position on the azimuth: a hover mode that clearly marks the rotor disk’s circumference to ground crews and a low-observable night-visiongoggle-compatible mode that could be used in night formation flight. Over the next six months, Emteq will complete the program’s phase 1 feasibility study. Phase 2 of the program, scheduled for later this year, involves fabrication and testing, while phase 3 transitions to flightqualified technology. The technology is appealing, said Emteq government systems program manager Ryan Paffel, because it will enable flight crews and ground personnel to “visualize the complete span of the rotor blades in a variety of configurations” in low light and marginal weather and in crowded and chaotic environments such as those encountered during shipboard operations. The system is called the
modulating rotor tip light (MRTL) and it sequentially flashes the appropriate color LED tip light at the correct rotor positions of the rotating blade (red on the left, green on the right and white to the rear). The MRTL enhances rotor blade visibility three ways, Paffel said. “The tip light path appears as long stripes of light rather than individual beacons. The improved LED technology offers high intensity light output and a minimal weight and installation footprint, he said. “Finally, the lateral separation between red and green lights can be as large as the rotor diameter. In some cases that is five times larger than the width of the fuselage.” Paffel said the system will not induce flicker vertigo because the passage frequency of the rotor blade exceeds the critical flicker fusion rate. “Moving tip lights from successive blades appear to the human eye as continuous bright stripes of light on the rotor disk,” he said. The MRTL can also enhance mission safety by providing enhanced modes of tip path lighting such as white for civil operations or infrared for covert missions, making the tip path highly visible during taxi, takeoff and landing, as well as during sustained formation flight. While significant, Paffel said these benefits are secondary to the technology’s primary mission of developing position lights that provide increased operational safety. –M.H.
In the “near future,” FlightSafety (Booth No. 5106) will be adding Pratt & Whitney Canada turboshaft engine training to centers in Curitiba, Brazil; Johannesburg, South Africa; Melbourne, Australia; and Beijing, China. The company currently offers training for the PT6B, PT6C, PT6T and PW206/207 at centers in Dallas/Fort Worth, Wichita, West Palm Beach, Montreal, Toronto, Paris Le Bourget and Singapore. Courses for the new 1,000-shp PW210 series will be introduced in the fourth quarter this year. FlightSafety is here showing its Vital X simulator visual system, enhanced for more realism in helicopter training. “Visitors to FlightSafety’s exhibit at Heli-Expo will be able to view newly created high-resolution scenes developed specifically for EMS and offshore operators,” said George Ferito, director of rotorcraft business development. “We have also developed visual scenes
for news gathering, law enforcement and other mission-specific training that will be available at our learning centers.” The new low-altitude visuals include mountainous terrain, accident scenes, pinnacle landings, airports, hospital helipads and obstacles (such as power lines, trees and bridges). An oil rig visual is complete with lighting, articulation of the model and sea-state animations, all designed to enhance training realism. Vital X features continuous high-resolution imagery for what FSI describes as “exceptional realism, with tens of thousands of processed elements and millions of features integrated into animated scenes of the real world. The system supports hundreds of six-degrees-of-freedom fully articulated moving models and 3-D sea states and is capable of presenting environmental conditions experienced during all phases of flight, including physics-based atmospheric and weather effects and continuous time-of-day operation.” Since 1978, FSI has delivered more than 700 visual systems and close to 800 simulators. In the last five years alone it has developed sims for 60 different aircraft types. The company combines its Vital X PC-IG with its cross-cockpit Crewview displays for aircraft with side-by-side crew seating; for single-pilot fighter sims there is the Wasp (wide-angle single pilot) display. The Rigid Mirror Crewview
enhances visual clarity and brightness, says FSI, while eliminating image degradation and edge-band distortion. FlightSafety is also promoting its cockpit resource management (CRM) training for helicopter operations. Aimed at helicopter pilots, flight assistants, air ambulance crews, maintenance personnel and flight ops specialists, the four-hour course
covers human factors, teamwork, communication, situational awareness, aeronautical decision making, leadership and safety. FlightSafety has 15 full flight simulators for American Eurocopter, Bell and Sikorsky helicopters at learning centers in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas; Lafayette, La.; Tucson, Ariz.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Farnborough, England. –N.M.
Bell Expects More 429 Orders at Heli-Expo Through the beginning of March, Bell had delivered 21 of its new $5.51 million 429 light twins. Bell senior vice president Larry Roberts said the company anticipates that 81 of the helicopters will be delivered by the end of 2011 and he expects several new orders for the helicopter to be announced at Heli-Expo. Roberts said the company has made “very good progress” on developing a wheeled 429 variant and expects that work to be completed late this year or early next year. Bell’s campaign to shave weight from the 429 is continuing. To date those efforts have removed about 80 pounds from the helicopter. “We want more out of it,” Roberts said. Our goal is to get to 3,000 pounds of useful load. There are an awful lot of activities going on behind the scenes to get this done.” The 429 currently has a maximum useful load of 2,755 pounds (single-pilot IFR) and is certified to a 7,000-pound maximum gross weight (internal). Roberts said the helicopter has room for growth beyond that number. “The 7,000-pound limit is not a performance limit, it is a certification limit.” –M.H.
FSI to expand int’l P&WC turboshaft training network
www.ainonline.com • March 7, 2011 • HAI Convention Newsaa21
JetNet touts new data products Corporate aviation information provider JetNet (Booth No. 3621) is promoting its new CRM and iQ services. CRM (customer relationship management) is a Web-based contact management system for the company’s Evolution customers; iQ is a forecasting and “premium advisory service” for business aviation professionals. CRM gives users access to JetNet’s
database of aviation companies, contacts and aircraft, allowing users to merge their own records, notes, action items and other details, the better to manage their sales and prospecting efforts. CRM is maintained and hosted by Aero Web Tech, an independent database software firm, to separate and protect individual clients’ databases. JetNet iQ consists of three components:
iQ Reports, an analytical reference source offering quarterly state-of-theindustry analyses, voice-of-the-customer insights and demand forecasts; iQ Summits, for networking opportunities; and iQ Consulting, for customized research and analysis for individual p rojects. “These are unprecedented times for business aviation,” said JetNet president Vincent Esposito. “Professionals are looking for more, better ways to manage their businesses and business contacts and broaden their knowledge in a more competitive marketplace. Our new products, both of them created exclusively for the aviation market, are the
tools they need to do just that.” JetNet is also showing the latest release of its helicopter market summary reports here at Heli-Expo. The monthly module within JetNet Evolution provides details of statistical developments within the helicopter market. The reports date back to 2006 and show, model by model, the number of airframes for sale; high, low and average prices; airframe and engine times; average year; average days on market; and retail versus wholesale transaction counts. The total helicopter database contains more than 26,000 in-service airframes, of which nearly 1,900 (about 7 percent) are listed for sale. –N.M.
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22aaHAI Convention News • March 7, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
At its annual Whirly-Girls Awards Banquet on Saturday, the international women helicopter pilots organization presented 2011 scholarships totaling more than $50,000 to eight women. The scholarships were as follows: • American Eurocopter Flight Training– Michelle Bostick, of Lithia, Fla., for an AS350 turbine helicopter transition course. • Robinson Helicopter Safety Course– Tara Sturm, of Seattle, Wash., for a 3.5day R22/R44 safety course. • Whirly-Girls Helicopter Flight Training– Tracy Ellen Zedeck, of Kensington, Calif., for $6,000 for her helicopter add-on rating. • Whirly-Girls Memorial Flight Training– Deborah Moseley, of Homer, Alaska, for $6,000 toward an advanced helicopter rating. In memory of Whirly-Girls founder Jean Ross Howard Phelan and her husband Jim, and Doris Mullen. • Advanced Mountain Flight Training–Jennifer Bartley, of Salt Lake City,
Utah, for a three-day mountain-flying course at Western Helicopters. • FlightSafety International–Laura McIlrath, of N. Andover, Mass., for instrument proficiency, recurrent and inadvertent-IMC training using a Bell 206 Level 7 FTD. • Judy Short Memorial–Rochelle Lee Arias, of Oceanside, Calif., for a flight instructor rating and $5,000 toward an instrument or CFII. Scholarship sponsored by Nancy Graham. • Survival Systems–Buffy Stevenson, of Las Vegas, Nev., for a ditching course at Survival Systems, Groton, Conn. Formed in 1955, the Whirly-Girls has 1,683 members in 41 countries and is dedicated to advancing professionalism in helicopters while providing women helicopter pilots a forum for the exchange of information and opportunities. The scholarship program aims to help women helicopter pilots achieve their aviation goals. –N.M.
by James Wynbrandt Fuller, noting that some 15,000 members of AOPA are helicopter pilots, said, “The helicopter community should be proud that when we talk about the advantages and use of ADS-B out and in, we point to the Gulf [of Mexico] as an area that didn’t have it, and transformed it, and we can now operate in it with positive control.” Bunce warned that coming budget reductions would likely leave the FAA without sufficient funds to fulfill its mandate, but provide an opportunity to “change the paradigm. We have to streamline the FAA, take this moment in time to make the FAA serve the industry, and not do things like rulemaking by interpretation. It’s time for industry to say enough is enough,” Bunce continued, noting how FAA FSDOs operate as independent
The Helicopter Association International held its first General Aviation Association CEO Forum at Heli-Expo yesterday, bringing together leaders of four major general aviation (GA) organizations in addition to HAI. “We all share the same airspace and share the same problems,” HAI president Matthew Zuccaro said in introducing the panelists: Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association CEO Craig Fuller, General Aviation Manufacturers Association president and CEO Pete Bunce, Steve Brown, senior vice president of operations and administration at the National Business Aviation Association, and Randall Burdette, chairman of the National Association of State Aviation Officials. Each of the four spoke about current issues and initiatives affecting all GA interests.
issues and ensures fair and reasonable access for helicopter operations. A question-and-answer session following the comments raised issues ranging from proposed reexamination of the airspace around New York City to industry response to the potential impact of new
broadband wireless networks on GPS operability. Whatever the challenges ahead, as Zuccaro said in concluding the forum, “Our combined support really gives us much more collective power in influencing what goes on. This coalition, this alliance, is the only way to go.” o
Alphabet organizations unite in first HAI forum
fiefdoms, creating inconsistent standards. “We call that rulemaking by interpretation. When regulators can change rules on their own and call it policy, then it affects industry absolutely catastrophically.” NBAA’s Brown focused on the DOT’s recent rule proposal that would eliminate the aircraft registry program that has allowed aircraft to preserve their privacy and prevent travel information from being publically available. “For those few people who need privacy to preserve competitiveness or for security or who are involved in [business] negotiations, it’s an important capability to have,” Brown said, asking attendees to use the link on the NBAA’s Web site to register comments on the NPRM. “We could use help on this in the next 28 days.” Burdette noted the state aviation agencies that comprise NASAO’s membership have reported increased community zoning efforts that attempt to restrict helicopter operations. In response, NASAO is preparing a draft zoning ordinance that addresses safety
An “X-Rated” Helo? While Eurocopter’s full scale high-speed X3 technology demonstrator did not make the trip to Orlando, show attendees can still see the radical hybrid’s design up close. Powered by a conventional rotor and a pair of wing mounted props, the real “X-cube” is expected to reach 220 knots.
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BLR’s FastFins finally earn Bell’s confidence and blessings
through no fault of its own. Sometimes differential that contributes to the antithe market sees the modifiers as the inno- torque process. Far from knocking the OEM for being vators and the OEM as the roadblock to product improvement. Sometimes these block-headed, Marone attributes some battles rage with no resolution. This one of Bell’s initial reluctance to BLR’s failure to explain exactly how its system has run its course. works. “Once we got that focused and Eventually, to BLR’s delight, Bell by Nigel Moll could no longer ignore the favorable had 300 helicopters equipped, the voice of the market grew more persuasive,” “Bell Loves BLR” might sound successfully to operators of the Bell 204, reviews from operators, and now said Marone. like street graffiti, but it’s not far 205, UH-1, Huey II, 212 and 412. the OEM has embraced BLR’s The in-service certified fleet of from the point. Bell is not alone among OEMs in mods with as much vigor as it 800 Bell 412s, 700 Bell 212s, 450 When helicopter aerodynamics mod- regarding modifications to its machinery initially rejected them. Dave UH-1s (restricted category) and 300 ifier BLR Aerospace (Booth No. 1814) with deep distrust, and when you look at Marone, BLR’s vice president Bell 204/205s is a healthy marfirst approached Bell Helicopter some the modifiers from the OEMs’ perspec- of sales and marketing, is unfailket for BLR’s mods, and the four years ago for its blessing on tailboom tive, it’s easy to understand the roots of ingly complimentary of his dealcompany expects to conmods to improve the handling and per- this skepticism. The manufacturer has ings with Bell over the years, vert half that fleet. Bell has formance of its medium helicopters, the spent years and many millions of dollars from the president on down, now made the BLR FastOEM dismissed the engineering firm’s designing, testing, certifying and devel- but he singles out three peoFin (which comprises the advances. Undeterred by this rebuff and oping its aircraft, and if an ill-conceived ple as playing a particularly strakes and a redesigned continued firm resistance from Bell, BLR mod blots that aircraft’s copybook, significant role in effecting Dave Marone, vice president persisted and sold its FastFin system the OEM’s reputation stands to suffer the sea change at Bell. They of sales and marketing at BLR tailfin) standard factory equipment on the 412EP. are Barry Kohler, appointed president of Bell Canada about a year The first example so equipped was delivago; Larry Roberts, senior v-p of com- ered to Falcon Helicopters in Dubai for mercial products; and Ernie Senn, proj- offshore work last November. Bell now sees the BLR mods as an effective way to ect manager for medium helicopters. At the time of Marone’s first meet- extend the viability of the 412. Next on BLR’s list of targets are Bell’s ing with Kohler in June 2009, Kohler was v-p of commercial programs. Over light helicopters, the 206B and 206L, and the course of that four-hour meeting, some helicopters not built by Bell. Look Marone recalls, Kohler recognized the for some Eurocopter models to receive value of an up to 91-percent improve- the BLR treatment by late next year. o ment in useful load (that is the 1,250pound gain in IGE hover performance for a Bell 412 after modification with BLR’s FastFin system) and he seemed increasingly interested in improving the fleet. Strakes on the left-hand side of the tailboom at the seven and 11 o’clock positions improve stability and boost left-pedal authority by 8 to 12 percent powered up and Open for business by stalling airflow to produce a low-presThe leadership team at Dart HeliA glance in the cockpit of an AgustaWestland AW139 on display on the show floor reveals sure zone on the left side of the boom copter Services has changed. Mike to good effect its Honeywell Primus Epic avionics suite and flat-panel glass color displays. while maintaining laminar flow on O’Reilly, president of Eagle Copters, the right side, thus creating a pressure Calgary, Alberta, has succeeded Jeff Shapiro as president and CEO. O’Reilly will remain in his post at Eagle. ShapUnmatched Service and Support iro will continue at Dart in an advisory capacity while Steve Joseph continues STOCKING DISTRIBUTOR—HUGE INVENTORY—QUALITY CONTROL as COO. Additionally, Shapiro and Ron GladT: +1-830-769-9174 F: +1-830-769-2975 E: INFO@TAIGLOBAL.COM nick, founder of water survival equipment provider Apical, have sold their investment interest to Dart’s existing shareholders. O’Reilly commented, “Looking back at what these guys have accomplished is remarkable. Jeff and Ron have truly left a positive mark on this industry. Jeff led Dart Helicopter Services to become a global presence in the helicopter aftermarket industry in a very short time.” Exhibiting this week at Heli-Expo Booth No. 4628, Dart Helicopter Services also announced that it will provide 14 more rotary-wing cycle counters to the Los Angeles Sheriff Department Aero Bureau. The field-programmable counters, from AKV of Camarillo, Calif., will interface with Thales vehicle and engine management displays aboard the department’s Eurocopter AS350B2s. The counters record and display accurate assessment of dynamic component 1538 LILLIAN AVENUE, INDUSTRIAL PARK, JOURDANTON, TEXAS 78026 utilization rates in the Turbomeca Arriel 2B engines. –H.W. ANTOINE DAUGNY
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24aaHAI Convention News • March 7, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
AW sees growth in orders, revenues uContinued from page 1 in order backlog, now valued at $16.888 billion. That backlog, according to AgustaWestland, represents three years of production. As to the outlook, Orsi said parent company Finmeccanica is committed to the support of vertical flight as well as investment in new products and technologies. And he forecast a new growth cycle in the civil helicopter market from 2012, led by offshore and parapublic markets, with corporate/VIP sales improving less quickly as the economy recovers. He cited the new AW169 as an example of AgustaWestland’s vision for the future. While the official word is that the company expects a first flight in 2012 and entry into service in 2014, Orsi, smiling broadly, interjected his personal belief that entry into service will be in 2013. He said Heli-Expo 2011 marks the “full commercial launch” of the AW169 and that AgustaWestland will begin taking orders here, where a full-scale mockup is on display at Booth No. 3811. And he emphasized that these will be firm orders. “It will be a firm order, or no order.”
unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market, one of the fastest-growing military market segments. The initial aircraft, Orsi said, will be based on the Swidnik SW-4 light turbine single, with a first unmanned flight planned in 2012. The need for helicopters– civil or military–will only grow in coming years. With that as a consideration, Orsi announced that
AgustaWestland, at the request of European aviation authorities, has begun developing a vision of vertical lift aviation through 2050. The document is to be completed before this summer. Orsi emphasized the importance of looking forward in the long term and expressed the belief that vertical flight will only gain in importance as airports
become more congested and room for expansion dwindles. Not to make use of the advantages of vertical lift, he said, “is unthinkable.” Doing so might double the capacity of a regional airport, he declared, pointing out that by 2050, 50-passenger helicopters are a possibility. In the short term, Orsi said AgustaWestland is assisting in
development of two new citycenter heliports in Milan. Part of this is an effort to create a new public image that the helicopter is not only for emergencies, but a normal and necessary means of public transport. This attention to the future of vertical flight is not something we should do, he concluded, “but something we must do.” o
And while admitting that the relationship with BA609 tiltrotor partner Bell remains “tense,” an agreement is near that will allow AgustaWestland to move ahead more aggressively on its own. He added that AgustaWestland hopes to announce certification and delivery dates at next year’s Heli-Expo. Meanwhile, he said the program is moving, “but at a very slow pace.” With deliveries of 86 military helicopters in 2010, Orsi said the outlook remains positive in that market segment, with ongoing programs and the “aggressive pursuit” of new defense, federal government and foreign military sales. Asked if he thought the current turmoil affecting much of the Middle East might adversely affect helicopter sales, Orsi answered, “Whatever government comes to power will need helicopters.” He also expressed plans for AgustaWestland to move into the AINonline iPhone App NOW AVAILABLE
www.ainonline.com • March 7, 2011 • HAI Convention Newsaa25
More AW139s getting the upscale treatment by Mark Huber The AgustaWestland AW139 medium twin helicopter is increasingly being tapped for executive and VVIP missions, according to the Mecaer Aviation Group (MAG), a provider of AW139 interior completions. Costs for interior completions vary depending on the materials selected and the amount of engineering and certification required, but the average cost ranges from $400,000 to $500,000 for an executive completion and $1 million to $1.3 million for a VVIP finish. Completions take from eight to 20 weeks on average. MAG has completed more than 50 AW139 interiors to date. “Each completion is different and its cost is tightly connected with the selected layout, options, specific needs, quality of material, level of finishing required by the customer, or any other special request that requires additional certification work,” said MAG marketing director Niccolo Devoto. MAG offers executive and VIP customers up to 10 different standard interior layouts for the AW139 cabin, accommodating five to 10 passengers, as well as quick-change options that can add or subtract seats
of various widths given varying loads. MAG says the most requested configuration is eight seats: two VVIP forward-facing chairs and six corporate-class seats, four forward-facing and two aft-facing. Customers have a wide range of available cabinetry. “We try to accommodate as much as possible the customer’s request, provided it is compatible with certification requirements,” said Devoto. The oval credenza option features a pop-up, swiveling flat-screen monitor. MAG uses LED lighting with dimmable controls. Entertainment and More
MAG also has developed a new IFE and cabin management system, the In-Flight Entertainment Enhanced Lounge (I-FEEL). Running on a Windows PC platform, I-FEEL can control audio, video, communications, passenger settings and cabin function. The system features a hard drive for audio and video storage and moving maps. Passenger touchscreens can be loaded with customizable icons. I-FEEL is integrated with GSM, satcom and pilot call telephones and is linked to the environmental control system as
well as controls for cabin lighting, speakers, cockpit partition window and cabin window shades. The system can also be used for multi-mission integration with law enforcement, surveillance, and search and rescue packages that include integrated avionics, forward looking infrared, video cameras, search radar and datalink systems. Cabin noise can be minimized with another MAG-developed system. The Silens system minimizes cabin noise and vibration levels with a self-supporting separation barrier between the passenger cabin and the fuselage. During flight tests at 140 knots, the system reduced cabin noise from 76 to 71 dB SIL4 and it allows normal conversations without use of headsets. The Silens uses a high-stiffness, low-weight composite shell mounted to the structure with vibration and noise insulators. The shell features several different computer-designed and -tested soundproofing materials that use special geometry and installation techniques. Director of completions Davide Marucco said Silens can be retrofitted to all AW139s, either with hinged or sliding passenger doors, and it can easily be removed for maintenance access and does not increase aircraft weight. MAG does completions at its Vergiate, Italy, plant and a 13,000-sq-ft facility in Philadelphia next to AgustaWestland’s assembly plant. o
Paradigm Wins HeliJet and HeliFlite Contracts Paradigm International’s Paradigm Aerospace helicopter support services subsidiary (Booth No. 1021) has delivered a Bell 407, below, with extensive upgrades to client HeliJet Solutions. The job by the Mt. Pleasant, Pa.-based aviation services provider included avionics, interior and exterior upgrades, as well as a distinctive new exterior paint scheme. Paradigm is also working on a Bell 430 refurbishment, right, for New York City-based charter operator HeliFlite. The project is expected to be completed by mid-April in order to take advantage of the n spring surge in charter demand.
26aaHAI Convention News • March 7, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
Jet-Care sees boost in engine-health business by Charles Alcock The past 12 months have seen According to sales and marJet-Care (Booth No. 4442) grow- keting manager Alan Baker, the ing its presence in the helicop- endorsement of helicopter manter engine support sector. The ufacturers such as Sikorsky and company, which specializes in Eurocopter has been a key to oil analysis and health monitor- growing acceptance among opering for engines and equipment ators of the value, in terms of such as gearboxes, has won new both safe and cost efficient flying, business in the North Ameri- of having oil and engine debris can market while also making analyzed. In some cases, the proinroads into the growing South cesses are part of service bulletins, American sector. such as that covering A new client for oil EC135 gearboxes. analysis in 2010 was Jet-Care is the only Keystone Helicopter. laboratory in North The Coatesville, Pa.America approved based MRO provider by Eurocopter. It is part of the Sikorsky also has the only labgroup. Another recent oratory exclusively endorsement came selected by Sikorsky when the U.S. Coast for the service bulleGuard committed to Debris is a key indicator tin covering the S-76 a fifth consecutive of engine health. main gearbox. contract renewal. The Growing demand contract covers oil has prompted Jetanalysis and engine Care to increase the debris checks for the size of its facility in Turbomeca Arriels Cedar Knolls, N.J., that power its fleet of from 9,500 to 16,000 Eurocopter HH65s. sq ft. In Europe, the Turbomeca’s U.S. company supports division signed a conclients through Spectract for Jet-Care to tro, with laboratories provide both oil and at Odiham in the UK engine debris analysis. and Basel in SwitOil analysis is another The French turboshaft service Jet-Care provides. zerland. In addition manufacturer first apto checking oil and proved the company to support debris from engines, the group its engines in 1996, having previ- can also analyze the condition ously approved Jet-Care’s Euro- and contents of oil filters, fuel pean sister company Spectro in and hydraulic fluids. the late 1970s. Spectro has been To help operators interpret in business for 35 years, and Jet- and manage the data generCare for the past 15 years. ated by its testing, Jet-Care proThrough its European labora- vides its Echo (engine condition tories, Jet-Care has recently won health online) software. The procontracts from France’s Helidax, gram is helpful for large fleet which operates 36 Eurocopter operators, enabling them to stay EC120s in support of the French on top of engine performance army helicopter school. ZF Gear- trends and plan maintenance as boxes has also signed a contract efficiently as possible. o for oil and debris monitoring; it supplies gearboxes to Eurocopter. AT THE BOOTHS Another new client is Defense Support Services (DS2), which Need to get rid of an old startcontracted for oil and debris analer-generator that’s just sitysis as part of its agreement to ting around? Go see StarterGenerator.com at Booth No. support helicopters being flown 228. StarterGenerator.com will for the U.S. government on cuspay for used units but also takes toms and border patrols. them in trade on freshly overIn Brazil, where a surge in hauled and new units made by offshore oil and gas activity is Aircraft Parts Corp. (Unison), accelerating demand for helicopGoodrich (Lucas), AlliedSigter operations, Eurocopter subnal Bendix, Honeywell, Smiths, GE and Thales AES (Auxilec). sidiary Helibras has appointed Based in The Woodlands, Texas, Jet-Care its exclusive laboratory StarterGenerator.com also sells for oil analysis. Eurocopter’s units outright and offers flat-rate operations in Chile and Mexico exchanges with no bill-backs. v are also contracted to Jet-Care.
Flight training company CAE (Booth No. 1253) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) signed an agreement in midFebruary for CAE to provide ab initio commercial helicopter pilot training for AAI. The agreement represents Montrealbased CAE’s first ab initio program for rotary-wing pilots. “The helicopter ab initio program will blend CAE’s global best practices training methodology, simulationbased training and flight training to meet and exceed Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DCGA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines,” said Jeff Roberts, CAE’s group president, civil simulation products, training and services. The training program is expected to graduate approximately 100 pilots annually. Training will be conducted at the CAE Global Academy Gondia, a two-year-old facility created as a joint venture between AAI and CAE. “The civil and military sectors in India will require close to 2,500 helicopter pilots over the next 10 years,” said V.P. Agrawai, AAI chairman. “Current development of new helicopter pilots is insufficient to meet this requirement, so CAE Global Academy Gondia is stepping up to fill this important need to support continued aviation growth in India.” Said Roberts, “The world-class training at the CAE Global Academy will prepare and position students to land their first jobs as helicopter pilots.” The Gondia campus features sate-of-the-art classrooms, training devices and a fleet of about a dozen helicopters. Student enrollment will commence in late 2011 and employ the CAE Aircrew Selection System, a multidisciplinary process designed to evaluate a candidate’s “thinking and doing” capabilities in a contextual aviation environment and under stress. Graduates will be prepared for type-rating training on a specific helicopter type. –J.W.
Bells introduces new 407 models uContinued from page 1 Garmin GDL 59H datalink and flight parameter recorder, Garmin GSR 56H Iridium voice/ data transceiver; Garmin GTS 800 traffic advisory system ELT and radar altimeter. “It is the most advanced flight deck bar none in any Part 27 helicopter out there today,” said Garmin vice president Gary Kelley. It will be the first certification of the G1000H in a helicopter. “It is highly flexible and scalable. This system can reset the AHRS in flight in dynamic mode. It can be turning or climbing and the AHRS can be reset.” Kelley called the G1000H’s digital audio system “a real workload reducer” that includes automatic speed recognition and 3D audio. He said the system was more rugged than the G1000 developed for fixed-wing aircraft to withstand the rigors of helicopter operation. A key feature enabled by the G1000H system will be the ability to monitor system parameters. “Our customers will be able to select and program certain vehicle parameters, initially as part of a FOQA [flight
Eurocopter unwraps its newest EC145 uContinued from page 1 2Es for a boost in power that is especially apparent with one engine inoperative. The new helicopter also gets a new digital avionics suite and four-axis autopilot. The most visible distinguishing characteristic of the T2 is its fenestron shrouded tail rotor, replacing the exposed tail rotor used thus far. The fenestron in the T2 has new composite blades, duplex tail-rotor actuators and dual hydraulic circuits, along with a newly designed gearbox intended to incur lower maintenance costs. Also new is the all-composite tailboom to which the fenestron is attached. The new helicopter’s empty weight is up by 143 pounds, to 4,299 pounds, and its mtow is now 8,047 pounds. Cruise speed is up 5 percent, to 137 knots, v-p Manfred Merk told AIN. The customers that have already ordered T2s are Spain’s Inaer (10 aircraft in EMS configuration) and three U.S. operators–Metro Aviation, Shreveport, La. (five aircraft configured for EMS); Leading Edge (one for executive transportation); and Lewis Energy (one for oil and gas operations). The T2 at Eurocopter’s display here features an EMS
operational quality assurance] program,” Roberts explained. The data is downloaded to a micro-SD card, from which it can easily be moved to a laptop computer. The FOQA program can include the monitoring of exceedances per the flight manual, and operators will be able to choose what they want to download such as altitude, direction, speed and navigation parameters. Roberts said the system also is designed for future growth including the monitoring of dynamic components such as the main gearbox, drive shaft, bearings and engine. “We still don’t have the capability to install thresholds to monitor current systems but we do have the capability to do that in the future,” he said. The GX’s big screens can also display law enforcement functions such as forward-looking infrared (FLIR) display and camera images. An onboard camera focused aft can be activated by a switch on the collective to provide pilots with an image to clear the tail rotor. “The system is so flexible that you can display everything you need for the pilot [to fly] on the right screen and display anything else on the left screen,” Roberts said. He said
interior completed by customer Metro Aviation. Eurocopter Group total revenues were $6.7 billion last year, versus $6.2 billion in 2009, and the company claims a 49-percent share of the worldwide market. American Eurocopter took in $821 million last year, up from $784 million in 2009, staking its claim to a 64-percent share of the U.S. market. Worldwide, Eurocopter saw 46 percent of its deliveries go to military customers, with the remaining 54 percent going to civil and parapublic operators. Exports accounted for 67 percent of deliveries. Of that $6.7 billion in group revenue, 53 percent came from helicopter production, 36 percent from support and service work and 11 percent other. Eurocopter’s order intake last year was for 346 helicopters worth $6 billion, down from $7.8 billion in 2009, $6.4 billion in 2008 and $8.6 billion in 2007. Last year the U.S. ranked number three in bookings per region, with signatures for 111 aircraft worth $607 million. Asia topped the rankings, with orders for 71 aircraft worth $1.32 billion, reflecting that region’s appetite for large multiengine machines. Latin America was second, with orders for 86 aircraft worth $694 million, and Europe
the screens also improve interior visibility. Roberts said the GX went from conception to certification in just 19 months. Bell (Booth No. 237) anticipates that the 407’s G1000H system will be certified and available to customers in the third quarter of this year. The price of the 407GX will be $2.795 million, an increase of $150,000 over the current 407. A 407GX is at the static display, and the G1000H can also be seen in a simulator here at the show and in a demonstration helicopter. The commercial armed 407AH comes equipped with a “baseline” law enforcement package that can
ranked fourth with orders for 62 aircraft worth $526 million. American Eurocopter president Marc Paganini said, “We’re going to work hard to get the U.S. market back to number one this year,” but he conceded to AIN afterward that it all hinges on the economy here. New Market Options
Paganini is also confident in growing demand for replacement helicopters, noting that the average age of helicopters operating in the U.S. is between 17 and 20 years. Bertling singled out American Eurocopter as being the role model for providing product support, a segment that accounted for $310 million of AEC’s revenues last year. On the X4, a rotorcraft under development to replace the Dauphin and EC135, Bertling offered this teaser: “The first time you sit in this aircraft you will be missing something–the cockpit.” He said the helicopter’s specifications will be frozen “later this year.” On a hybrid electric helicopter, Bertling was also coy: “We are actively working on a hybrid electric, but that is all I want to say at present.” On diesel power, he said: “The EC120 will be the first application, and it will give that helicopter a second life.” o
be customized for multiple weapon configurations and is designed to perform missions including search and rescue, enforcement and pursuit. Roberts said the helicopter “will meet the needs of a variety of parapublic agencies at a cost that is far less than that of similarly equipped military aircraft, but with increased lethality.” The initial weapons system on the helicopter includes a Dillon 7.62mm M134T minigun and the M260 2.75-inch seven-shot rocket-launching system. Customization is available through Bell’s Piney Flats, Tenn. facility. Available options include chaff/flare controller for countermeasures, sliding rear doors, cargo
CAE to Train Copter Pilots in India
The initial weapons system on the $5 million 407AH includes a Dillon 7.62mm M134T minigun and the M260 seven-shot rocket-launching system.
hook and crew seat armor. The AH comes standard with the Garmin G500H glass cockpit system, the AAI bulged skylights kit, AAI inletbarrier filter with access door, AAI wire-strike protection system and Meeker quick release pins for the crew doors. Roberts said the AH was designed to be rapidly reconfigurable and that customers could take the guns off or put them back on. “This is a non-integrated system,” he stressed. “It does not fire directed munitions. By doing it this way it is really a commercially armed aircraft and we can offer it outside the scope of the military process. All the necessary licenses have been applied for or acquired.” Roberts said a base AH would be available for “under $5 million” and that the helicopter was directed “primarily at the international market.” He said Bell developed it at the request of customers. “For a very long time the market has been asking Bell, because of its history with the OH-58 and the 407, to produce a commercial helicopter that is qualified with weapons.” The Bell 407 was certified in 1996 and is powered by a single Rolls-Royce 250-C47 turboshaft engine. Last year Bell delivered the 1,000th 407. o
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SaluteAwards U.S. Coast Guard dominates the slate by Mark Huber Crews and mechanics serving with the U.S. Coast Guard have been awarded four of the HAI’s eight “Salute To Excellence” awards to be presented tonight at Heli-Expo 2011, including the awards for Humanitarian Service, Helicopter Maintenance, Pilot of the Year and Law Enforcement. The heroic missions flown by the Coast Guard being honored include the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform explosion, an emergency night landing on a cutter in Alaska and maritime drug interdiction. Sikorsky Humanitarian Service Award: The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter 6605, Air Station New Orleans, La.– Lt. Cdr. Thomas G. Hickey, aircraft commander; Lt. Cdr. Craig Murray, copilot; flight mechanic/ hoist operator and avionics electrical technician 2nd Class Scott Lloyd and aviation survival technician chief petty officer Kurt Peterson (rescue swimmer). Lt. Cdr. Hickey’s Eurocopter MH-65C was the first helicopter to arrive at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig after its explosion April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. The crew got the alarm at 10:10 p.m., were airborne 18 minutes later and arrived first on scene 130 miles away at 11 p.m. Climbing through 500 feet, still 115 miles away, they could see the fire with their NVGs. Hickey recalled the inherent danger. “We knew there were fuel bowsers on the Horizon, but we didn’t know if they had exploded or were going to explode.” The crew turned on the searchlights and dropped to 35 feet over the water to stay below the heat plume. They got within 100 feet of the Horizon and did one slow close loop around the rig looking for survivors, but found nothing. Then Peterson was lowered onto the supply vessel Bankston to triage the 115 survivors, and the most seriously injured were hoisted to safety. The last patient was hoisted off at 3 a.m., but the searching continued. Hickey and his crew landed back in New Orleans after flying for just over seven hours, refueling several times at a nearby platform. Rolls-Royce Excellence in Helicopter Maintenance Award: Aviation maintenance technician 2nd Class Nicholas H. Baisden, U.S. Coast Guard, Air Station New Orleans. This award recognizes an individual who has distinguished himself or herself by longstanding excellence in the performance of helicopter
maintenance or a single, significant and distinct contribution to helicopter maintenance. Baisden receives the award for his exceptional leadership in guiding 72 mechanics assigned temporarily to Air Station New Orleans to support the Coast Guard’s aerial response to the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. As the lead federal agency in charge, the Coast Guard poured considerable air assets into the five-month long Deepwater Horizon response. Pilot of the Year Award: Lt. Audie Andry, U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, Alaska. This award honors “an outstanding single feat performed by a helicopter pilot during the year or extraordinary professionalism over a period of time.” Air Station Kodiak’s territory spans more than 3.9 million square miles and it is expected to cover it with four Sikorsky HH60J Jayhawks, four smaller MH65C Eurocopter Dolphins and five Lockheed-Martin HC-130 fixed-wing transports. Some of the air assets are forward-deployed in conjunction with the fishing seasons and their locations. Depending on the severity of the search and rescue mission, Jayhawks will launch with as little as one-quarter mile forward visibility and ceilings below 100 feet. Carrying up to 6,000 pounds of fuel, the Jayhawks can fly out 300 miles, remain on station for 20 minutes and return at economy cruise power. Conditions are often less than optimal: high seas and very high winds. Andry receives this year’s award for demonstrating exceptional airmanship and decisive action in landing his Jayhawk (with five other crewmembers aboard) safely aboard the Coast Guard cutter Healy after the helicopter suffered a maintransmission input failure while in a 40-foot hover 100 feet from the ship at night.
MD Helicopters Law Enforcement Award: The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter 6597, Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) Aviation Detachment 10-01–Lt. Cdr. Robert G. Workman, Capt. Joseph T. Baker, Lt. j.g. Matthew J. Van Ginkel, avionics electrical technician 3rd Class Kimberly N. Dechmerowski, aviation maintenance technician 1st Class Thomas J. Masell, avionics electrical technician 1st Class Joseph D. Paulson, aviation maintenance technician 2nd Class Brian M. Dugal and aviation maintenance technician 3rd Class Jacob S. Dickson. This award recognizes those who have contributed to the promotion and advancement of helicopters in support of law enforcement activities. Deployed to the Coast Guard Cutter Sherman as part of Joint Interagency Task Force South in the waters off the southeastern U.S., this crew interdicted six vessels engaged in illegal drug smuggling and accomplished
“the unprecedented feat of stopping four vessels in one mission,” according to the nominator. HITRON squadrons forward deploy armed helicopters to high-threat drug trafficking areas. They intercept suspect vessels and, if needed, use appropriate interdiction force. They also direct Coast Guard cutters and other craft to the target areas. AgustaWestland Safety Award: Keith Johnson. This award acknowledges outstanding contributions in the promotion of safety and safety awareness throughout the international helicopter community. Throughout his career and since his retirement from the Los Angeles Police Department, Johnson has volunteered hundreds of hours to support helicopter safety initiatives through the Airborne Law Enforcement Association, the HAI Safety Committee and the International Helicopter Safety Team, where he chairs the Safety Management System working group.
W. A. (Dub) Blessing Certified Flight Instructor of the Year Award: Lawrence “Larry” Graves, chief pilot for AgustaWestland in Philadelphia. This award recognizes superlative contributions by a helicopter flight instructor in upholding high standards of excellence. Graves is honored for providing, in the words of one nominator, “the highest standard of professional instruction to international and U.S. helicopter pilots” for more than 30 years. Bell Helicopter Lifetime Achievement Award: Michael C. “Mike” Hurst. This award salutes excellence in management and leadership and is presented to an individual who is recognized for long and significant service to the international helicopter community. Hurst has been working in the helicopter industry for 40 years and is currently chief pilot for PHI. o
EurocopterAward Swiss-Nepalese team honored for high-flying rescue mission This year’s Eurocopter Golden Hour Award goes to a rescue crew formed by captain Daniel Aufdenblatten and rescue specialist Richard Lehner of Air Zermatt, Switzerland, and captain Sabin Basnyat, chief pilot of Fishtail Air, Nepal. On April 29, 2010, the team rescued a party of three Spanish mountain climbers stuck on a steep slope of Mount Annapurna, the world’s second highest mountain, at an altitude of 22,800 feet. Captain Basnyat was charged with organizing the rescue. His company, founded in 1997 and today operating four helicopters in Nepal, has a training agreement with Air Zermatt. That Swiss company was set up 1968 and is today probably one of the operators with the widest experience in mountain air rescue. Captain Basnyat was well aware that a long-line rescue requiring a helicopter to hover at more than 22,000 feet with possibly gusty winds and turbulence near the mountain slope required exceptional skill and experience.
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He preferred to call in captain Aufdenblatten for the mission. At Air Zermatt, Aufdenblatten flies the same hoist-equipped Eurocopter AS350B3 operated by the Nepalese company. Reacting quickly, Aufdenblatten and rescue specialist Lehner traveled to Nepal and were able to successfully carry out the rescue mission within 36
hours, using a Fishtail AS350. Lehner set down near the mountain climbers, who were suffering from snow blindness and freezing wounds, and prepared them to be hoisted one by one aboard the helicopter. They were then flown to a base camp at 13,000 feet to receive first aid. The Eurocopter Golden Hour Award recognizes the efforts of those who, through a particular activity or contributions over time advance the use of helicopters in the vital mission of air medical transport.–T.S.
Captain Daniel Aufdenblatten (right) and rescue specialist Richard Lehner from Air Zermatt celebrate at the Annapurna base camp after completion of their award-winning rescue mission with a Fishtail Air AS350.
Sikorsky electric Firefly readies for first flight
aircraft is much quieter, which deprives the pilot of the normal noise cues. “We have included an interactive health monitoring display in the cockpit,” Hartman said. In addition, design engineers have also introduced loadlimiting control laws because an electric motor has its full torque available from zero rpm.
by Thierry Dubois One day Sikorsky (Booth No. 2737) may exhibit at a Heli-Expo with an electrically powered helicopter. The U.S. manufacturer is getting closer to the first flight of the Firefly, a modified S-300C light single whose piston engine has been replaced with an electric motor and batteries. The proof-of-concept rotorcraft is expected to have limited endurance but is seen as a stepping stone toward a commercially viable electric helicopter. The company had hoped to fly the Firefly by the end of 2010, but did not meet that target. “While there are no technical issues, there are a lot of moving pieces, as with any experimental aircraft program,” program manager Jonathan Hartman told AIN. Therefore, he said, the first flight will take place “as soon as we are ready.” A long-time supplier for ground applications, US Hybrid,
is providing the motor. The power–190 shp–is the same as in the original S-300C. Gaia of Germany is supplying the lithium-ion batteries. “One challenge is adapting these cutting-edge technologies to an aviation application,” Hartman said. Sikorsky’s Firefly team wants to make sure both the motor and the batteries are properly tested for aircraft application. “If an aircraft loses a charge, it is much more serious than a ground vehicle losing a charge,” he pointed out. The permanent magnet motor is one of the first that US Hybrid is designing with air cooling. “We did not want the weight and complexity of a liquid-cooling system,” Hartman explained. Batteries have a forced air cooling system, while the motor is cooled by ram air. A small cooling fan for the electronic components is embedded in the motor.
More Efficient, Less Complex
Sikorsky’s proof-of-concept Firefly wears 1,150 pounds of batteries on its fuselage sides to solve the major problem of energy storage on an electric helicopter.
Gaia has performed some custom chemistry on the batteries for the power profile needed by Sikorsky. “These batteries do not have the highest power density available on the market but are suitable for the Firefly,” Hartman said. Delivering only 15 minutes of endurance, the batteries have an installed weight of 1,150 pounds. The aircraft is thus several hundred pounds heavier than the original S-300C. The
empty weight is close to the 2,050-pounds mtow. Nevertheless, Sikorsky expects the Firefly will have the same flight characteristics (including speed, with maximum cruise remaining at 86 knots) as the S-300C. “We want it to look, feel and fly like an S-300C, except there is an electric motor attached,” Hartman said. He said there is no change from the motor mount forward. Another major challenge has been human factors. The
Asked about the benefits, Hartman said an electric helicopter design is inherently more efficient–300 percent better in the case of the Firefly/S-300C comparison. If designed from a clean sheet of paper, an electric helicopter is less complex. It also has fewer parts. This favorably impacts direct operating costs (DOC). Also, electricity is much cheaper than fuel, so the bottom line is about 30 percent lower DOC. Moreover, the reduced vibration allows a lighter structure. The main challenge is the capacity of batteries to store electrical power, but this is progressing quickly. Seeing an electric helicopter on commercial offer is a matter of years, not decades, Hartman predicted. o
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U.S. Army vet Dorcey Wingo preflighting a Huey in Vietnam circa 1970, and today.
The most gorgeous sight ever…
… is not the woman to whom I am married
Anyone who knows me well can verify that I married a great-looking lady; the fairest in all the land, in my eyes. But as pretty as she is, Lourdes is not the loveliest thing I have ever seen. That special feast-for-eyeballs came about during my very last Huey flight in the U.S. Army. Lessons learned in Army Aviation should include this warning: If you are the unit’s “short timer” pilot, don’t be surprised near the end of the day when the head honcho hands you the logbook to a tired old helicopter and he’s got a peculiar look on his face. Like me, you may soon be off on a cross-country flight in a bird that is too problematical to perform routine missions. It sounds reassuring to hear the Operations Chief say, “...You can probably make it all the way to Stockton [Army Depot–The Repo Depo] before something really bad happens.” One peek in the troubled logbook tells the story: more than half of the gripes are signed-off as “Circle Red-X” conditions. That means the repairs needed on the bird exceed the maintenance capabilities of the home unit and the helicopter must be ferried to the Repo Depo in central California for field maintenance (at least the avionics work!). Walking out to the Holloman (N.M.) Air Force Base ramp early the next morning, I took in the somber-looking, olive-drab Army UH-1H sitting near
Dorcey Wingo has vivid memories of his dicey last crosscountry in a “Circle Red-X” U.S. Army Huey 40 years ago.
the taxiway. The young Army rotorcraft mechanic accompanying me on the cross-country (XC) flight to Stockton was adding engine oil to the reservoir and buttoning up the air-intake screens; almost ready to depart. This was my first “solo” XC in what was normally a dual-piloted Army “slick.” It was thus a rare treat for “Lucky,” my crew chief who normally flies in the back latched onto an armed M-60 machine gun in wartime or keeping an eye out for passengers who don’t listen to his safety briefings. Lucky came from parts unknown, but
leg, through some of the worst smog I have ever navigated. (This flight occurred in the spring of 1971: LA smog at its worst!) Dialing in the Ontario Tower, we were relieved to hear a friendly voice. The Fed steered us his way during a lull in airliner traffic. We followed his vectors and soon observed the tire-scarred numbers “26” pass under our chin bubbles. We hovertaxied over to the jet-A service helipad, located near the base of the (old) FAA tower. The smog burned our eyes! We managed to get some encouraging information from the weather people as
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Veteran helo jock recounts harrowing hop in a Huey
he was clearly happy to be riding in the left front seat for a change. Now he’d be getting some stick time from a veteran CW2 and enjoying the up-front-Cadillac-widescreen version of the legendary Huey. We traveled light and planned to make the 1,500-mile flight in a couple of days, the old bird willing. Back in two days–with a little travel pay–that’s the Army way. Holloman Tower bid us adieu in the long shadows of dawn. We lit off westbound with clearance to cross the Restricted Area, low level. The battered old bird rumbled along into a mild headwind, indicating 100 knots–and not the smoothest flying Iroquois I’ve ever strapped on. Cruising west at 1,000 feet abeam White Sands National Monument, we were rocked moderately crossing over the dramatic “pipes” of the Organ Mountains. Passing by Las Cruces Municipal Airport, we clattered our way over the high mesa to Deming, our first fuel point. Lucky was showing promise as a stick, I recall, but there was nothing else memorable on that desert XC flight, all the way across Arizona and on to Palm Springs. And then...it got memorable. Our long, slow approach down into the L.A. Basin toward Ontario Airport– following the railroad on our sectional map–was complicated by an increasingly thick haze of smog. It was actually purple on the horizon ahead of us and the ambient odor was acrid. Tall smokestacks belched more of the same from a stark, gray steel mill. Acres of wrecked automobiles in massive boneyards, miles of congested rail yards passed by our plastic windows. An apprehensive
by Dorcey Wingo
our Huey was refueled and we grabbed a light snack. Afterward, Lucky had ample opportunity to add more oil to our leaky Lycoming. Our destination (Stockton) was reported to be VFR with a broken ceiling, winds light and variable. Preflight looks good, other than an oily engine deck. Now to carve our way out of this purple haze and head for Yosemite National Park! Got an approval from the Tower to climb on course through the crud to VFR-on-top, which we did regularly in the military (single engine) with never a glitch. Breaking out around 6,000 feet, the dazzling white cloud tops were wonderful to behold, and the carbon-andsulfur stench was gone. Requesting cruise speed from my left-seater, I studied the map against the terrain below. Lucky’s magnetic heading appeared to parallel the pencil line on our colorful map. Looking things over, we had plenty of fuel, lots of breaks in the clouds. On course, and steady as she goes. I made our position reports with Flight Watch on time, and then, as we climbed ever so gradually to clear the fluffy cloud tops ahead, we passed the midway point of our fuel load and something electrical in the old ship simply died. Something that would disable our radios, nav instruments and our transponder, with nary a voltmeter glitch or master caution light. There was no electrical odor. We both looked for solutions but quickly discovered that the problem was not circuit-breaker-related and fortunately did not affect her dependable turbine engine. About the time we whirled past cloudobscured Yosemite, I began to get really nervous. Breaks in the clouds were getting fewer and farther between. Navigating became a case of over-the-top, time, distance and heading. Higher we climbed, closing the air vents as cold air whistled in. Lucky didn’t begin to tell me what to do; this was my problem, and he was along for the ride. When I calculated that we were nearing the Stockton vicinity, I feared messing with airline traffic. And if we flew too far west, we’d be over the Pacific. Our fuel dropped to a measly 200 pounds, assuming that the gauge was correct. With no breaks in the clouds, fear was welling up in my gut as I made large circles and dialed the emergency code into
the transponder, praying it would alert the regional radar facility. But the radios were dead. They appeared to be on, but there was no audible “squelch” and no reply light on the transponder. Ten thousand feet and running out of ideas. At 100 pounds indicated, I realized I must begin an instrument descent and rely on pure luck to get us through the thick mass before our 10 minutes of fuel is burned up. Dreading this last-ditch maneuver more than anything, I began to slow the big helicopter down and lowered the power. The raw fear that had been boiling within me suddenly began a oneway rumbling advance in my gut and my priorities were quickly reversed! I sat frozen in the right seat, glancing over at Lucky to see if he was “as afraid” as I was. He was transfixed, staring at the fuel gauge: this was a first for him, too. So that old expression of being “so scared he crapped his pants!” wasn’t just an expression, it dawned on me! About the time I bottomed the collective pitch to descend blindly into the deep sea of clouds, I saw the most gorgeous thing on planet Earth: a coral-blue opening appeared immediately off to starboard, a 30-foot wide “sucker hole,” sent by Heavenly Express! An incredibly beautiful green pasture beckoned, 9,000 feet directly below us, if I could just dive right in there and stay visually oriented inside the now greenish-blue vertical tunnel, all the way down. Dialing back the turbine-engine-trim for a rapid descent to the right, that irresistible impulse in my bowels quickly subsided and the “yee-haws” from Lucky told me he was feeling much better about our prospects. Spiraling all the way down with our tail section in the white stuff, the sucker hole stayed open, and we broke out at about 500 feet above the ground, plenty of time to beep-up the engine speed and take a deep breath! The lush green meadow became our LZ, conveniently bordered on the east by a full-service gas station where we used the pay phone to call the Repo Depo. We could actually see the facility from the meadow! The Depot pilots were old hands at this sort of thing and told us, “Leave ‘er there, boys. We’ll come get ‘er.” Ha! They didn’t have to twist our arms. And I honestly don’t remember my mechanic’s name these many years; but after that flight, he was “Lucky” to me! o Former U.S. Army helicopter pilot Dorcey Wingo is author of Wind Loggers and The Rise and Fall of Captain Methane: Autobiography of a Maverick.