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November 1, 2015
An industry proposal for the U.S. FAA to streamline certification of single-engine instrument flight rule helicopters is stuck in a trade association review process. Four U.S. aviation associations spent much of the last year drafting the proposal. The groups—the General Aircraft Manufacturers Assn., AHS International, the Aircraft Electronics Assn. and Helicopter Assn. International—published the...
November 1, 2015
The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team wants to examine how heliports, weather reporting and low-level IFR infrastructure could be improved to better reduce rotorcraft accidents. It is working with FAA officials to organize a one-and-a-half-day meeting in Washington in mid-to-late February 2016 for high-level discussions of those issues and how to prioritize and pursue improvements. Like counterparts in Europe...
November 1, 2015
A highly respected international safety organization is expanding its focus on rotorcraft operations and reaching out to operators and associations to discuss areas of common interest and concern. The Flight Safety Foundation is refining a proven risk-standard set to make it particularly useful to companies that work in the offshore environment and the aviation operators that support them. It also is...
November 1, 2015
With the uncertainty of stopgap funding that could expire by year’s end and draconian budget cuts on the horizon, the U.S. Army is operating on the “ragged edge” of its capability, the service’s outgoing civilian chief said Oct. 12. In the six years John McHugh has served as Army secretary–the second longest tenure in the service’s history–he has not received a...
November 1, 2015
Airbus Helicopters offered an all-new design for Japan’s new UH-X utility military helicopter and has not given up on taking over development of that 150-aircraft program from the selected contractors. Airbus aims to convince Japan that its bid with Kawasaki to replace Bell/Fuji UH-1Js is still the best one, despite a contract award to competitors. Photo courtesy of Los688, Wikimedia Commons Japan...
November 1, 2015
  Carol Busch, as an associate appraiser with HeliValue$, has been elected secretary of the Wisconsin chapter of the American Society of Appraisers. Busch has been with HeliValue$ for 28 years. Branding Iron Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations promoted Sheila Reed to director of trade shows and events. Reed previously interned and also was a marketing coordinator at the company. Alain Gourven...
November 1, 2015
    Aero Dynamix receives STC for the S-76D Aero Dynamix now has STC approval (SR09650RC) for the Sikorsky S-76D. The NVG STC encompasses internal NVIS avionics modifications, edge-lit panels, overlays and all other aircraft illuminated components. These upgrades are designed to achieve a balanced cockpit that is optimized for both NVIS and daylight readability performance. Aero Dynamix is the...
October 19, 2015
A U.S. plan to require registration of “hobby” drones offers the federal government better options for educating drone operators about their responsibilities in the air and enforcing their compliance with flight and airspace rules. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today said he had set up an industry/government task force to advise him by Nov. 20 on how to set up the registry...
October 1, 2015
FARs not the Problem I have been a designated engineering representative (DER) for U.S. Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 27 and 29 (mechanical systems and powerplant) since 1980. In my experiences, I have seen many of the problems you described in your August editorial (“Getting the Rules Right,” R&WI, August 2015, page 4). For instance, you write of modified aircraft kept out of...
October 1, 2015
  A transposed rendering of helmets, from left to right: Gentex Corp.'s ALPHA Eagle, Evolution Helmets' EVO 252 and Gentex's HGU-56. Photos courtesy of Gentex Corp. and Helicopter Helmet, LLC In April 2015, personnel from the FAA’s Rotorcraft Directorate and its Civil Aerospace Medical Institute discussed the results of their analysis into the effects of post-crash fires during 125 fatal...
October 1, 2015
A Bell206 configured for air-medical transport. Photo courtesy of Metro Aviation Thirteen years. That is how long U.S. aeromedical industry advocates say it has been since air ambulance operators have been working under the current regime for cost reimbursement. In 2002, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services set the schedule of fees it would pay for ambulance transportation by ground or air...
October 1, 2015
A U.S. Coast Guard aircrew member adjusts his night vision goggles. Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard Most military, emergency medical service, search and rescue, law enforcement and firefighting aviation crewmembers today would never consider flying without night vision goggles (NVGs). As with any technological advancement, however, we must be on guard for unintended consequences of NVG use. One such...
October 1, 2015
  CHC Group has sent out the call for industry leaders interested in presenting at its prestigious Safety & Quality Summit next April in Vancouver, British Columbia. The annual event has become world renowned as a venue to forward-thinking safety professionals to share their victories and challenges in enhancing helicopter and industrial safety. Last year’s event—hosted by CHC...
October 1, 2015
Necessary items to include in a survival kit vary from person to person, but keep in mind the basics, especially warmth. Photos by Mike Hangge. Imagine flying north up the coastline of Washington State with nothing but a carpet of green hills off your right wing and a sea of blue off the left when suddenly the aircraft stops. Scrambling to make a mayday call, you pull the nose for your first water landing...
October 1, 2015
  I once had the honor of talking to a former World War II fighter pilot assigned to the famous 332nd Fighter Group, better known as the Tuskegee Airmen, the only unit that never lost an escorted aircraft to enemy attack. The gentleman regaled me with the story of one of his most memorable missions. He said he and his group were homebound with a flight of bombers under escort when a speck was spotted...
October 1, 2015
  Vibration analysis on rotorcraft blades isn’t easy. Helicopter engineers go through great lengths to ensure each blade is nearly identical in shape, weight distribution and stiffness. Although they seem to whiz around rigidly, blades actually are quite flexible. It’s important that none of their frequencies are in resonance with airframe components. This is a difficult task since each...
October 1, 2015
  A moderately wise helicopter pilot once proclaimed that it is better to dress to avoid an accident than to survive one. This postulation brings to mind a rough approximation of a quandary I originally appreciated in the 1970s as Ralph Nader declared Chevrolet’s Corvair unsafe at any speed. He suggested that cars from that time forward be made crashworthy, rather than have designers plan...
September 23, 2015
  In the late 1990s, I had an unusual opportunity. I was invited—as the safety reporter for a major aerospace trade magazine—to shadow the FAA administrator. For five days, from shortly after the administrator, Jane Garvey, left her Washington, D.C., apartment for the early-morning, four-block trip to 800 Independence Avenue until the day’s end, I was at her side. I sat in on...
September 1, 2015
The worst of Katrina’s effects hit on the hurricane’s east side, along the Mississippi and Alabama coasts. Much of the damage in New Orleans came from surging waters pushed by Katrina and floods from failed levees. Photo courtesy of U.S. Defense Dept. You can’t say no one saw it one coming. Even as the tropical depression passed over the southern Bahamas Islands on Aug. 23, 2005, more...
September 1, 2015
The number of rotor blades, rotor rpm and rotor diameter have little effect on formation of the vortex ring state, but aircraft with higher disk loading and increased blade twist are more susceptible to it. Photos courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps, Airbus Helicopters (below, top) and Robinson Helicopter (below, bottom). On Aug. 23, 2013, a Eurocopter AS332 with 18 persons on board was on the final stage of...
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