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April 1, 2016
  Imagine you are on a return flight to a southern U.S. airport in the summer when you find yourself in unforecasted thunderstorms. Lightning strikes directly in front of you. You fly into a wall of rain so hard that the sound inside the helicopter is deafening. Visibility drops to zero. You slow the aircraft, and feel its left rear pull down. The tail boom is shaking it like a rag doll. As your...
April 1, 2016
  Helideck may be a simple term for a place to land and park a helicopter when operating offshore, but it’s actually not so simple. It is and has been a very complicated and multi-faceted problem that has been with the industry since the first flight to a rig just a few miles offshore some 70 years ago. The earliest problem was space for rotor clearance on an open deck. Not too big a problem...
April 1, 2016
  You might be familiar with “the tail wagging the dog” situations. But the new century has seemed to usher in an emergency medical service (EMS) helicopter era in which an amazing array of miscellaneous business and ancillary elements is assigned strikingly counterproductive priority over legitimately safe flight operations. My own history with EMS helicopters includes many years of...
April 1, 2016
Growth of the civil helicopter fleet in Greater China is slowing as its main economy lags, the oil market slumps and airspace challenges drag down operations. Another drag on growth is the expected depreciation in value of China’s currency, the renminbi. That sums up the latest assessment of the market by Asian Sky Group Ltd. in its 2015 Fleet Report on civil helicopters in the Asia Pacific area...
April 1, 2016
  Blue Sky Network SkyRouter 3 Blue Sky Network has released a new version of its web portal—SkyRouter. SkyRouter 3 is a fleet management software that supports the monitoring of globally dispersed and critical assets. The latest version provides customization of maps, alerts, sounds, filters and reports to streamlined Geofencing functions. Now running under Google maps, operators have access to...
March 25, 2016
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. has made improvements to its Dhruv after a spate of crashes involving the units sold to Ecuador, The Financial Express reported today, citing the government.   The government acknowledged “the problems that have dogged the aircraft maker and strained...
March 1, 2016
  One might argue that Heli-Expo marks the beginning of the business year for the rotorcraft industry. Other events come earlier in the New Year, certainly. But HAI’s annual gathering is arguably the largest all-helicopter trade show in the world. It does tend to focus the mind of rotorcraft executives on what their key initiatives will be in 10 months to come after the leisurely weeks of the...
March 1, 2016
After 10 Years, Have We Failed? Regarding your February cover story on the International Helicopter Safety Team and its goal of an 80% cut in helicopter accidents, I’d say corrective action depends on the cause. Pilot error, give pilots more training and more flight time especially. Mechanical malfunction, either improve maintenance procedures, maintainers or maintenance training, or get better/newer...
March 1, 2016
An aircraft arriving for unscheduled repairs could throw an MRO off balance if it arrives to a hangar full of scheduled work. RSG Aviation, Inc. of Forth Worth, Texas, tries to save room for such scenarios. Photo courtesy of Keith Moreland / RSG Aviation, Inc. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark. The thrust of that proverb is simply that you should plan far in advance of potential trouble...
March 1, 2016
Helicopter OEMs will need to implement various safety technologies by 2020. Photos courtesy of the U.S. Air Force, Heli Tirol and Erickson Inc. Over the last year, the FAA has actively engaged with the industry to address avionics issues associated with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and other avionics concerns as part of its NextGen airspace modernization program. But, is the agency...
March 1, 2016
(Above) Research at NASA Langley Research Center has involved dummies and a test helicopter to test crash forces. Occupant protection measures include rotorcraft seat/harness systems able to withstand downward acceleration forces of as much as 30 g. Photos courtesy of NASA Langley Research Center and Fischer Seats Post-crash fires have been a major focus recently of U.S. safety and regulatory officials...
March 1, 2016
  It’s snowing where I am tonight. This reminds me of a snowstorm many years ago on Jan. 13, 1982. I wasn’t a pilot yet. In fact, I was so new, if there were a coffee run that had to be made for the sergeants back at the station, it was I who got stuck with it. But that evening, I was on the road policing in a bone-chilling kind of cold that finds its way through your uniform like a knife...
March 1, 2016
  You are out on a mission flying below 1,000 ft one night when suddenly your eyes begin to hurt. You lose your eyesight for a few moments. You are dazed and not too sure what is happening. You have just been hit by a laser. This has been happening all across the helicopter industry. In 2015, there were 7,703 reported laser incidents (more than 20 incidents per day). Saturday nights between 8 p.m. and...
March 1, 2016
FEC Heliports introduces HEMS-Star® helipad lighting system   NEWLY LAUNCHED FEC HEMS-Star® Helipad Light is an advanced, portable, rechargeable, battery-powered, microprocessor-controlled helipad light designed for rapid deployment in temporary and emergency situations to provide safe and effective marking at designated or ad-hoc helicopter landing areas. HEMS-Stars are capable of showing, at...
March 1, 2016
  Last year, my wife and I were among the first responders to a helicopter crash. Although we couldn’t do much to help at the scene, our conversation afterward prompted me to help in another way. I would like to speak plainly about a topic many of us prefer to avoid – death. It’s no secret death will eventually come for us all. If you know a way around that, please call and...
March 1, 2016
Photo courtesy of Metro Aviation If you travel by air enough, you have probably had the pleasure of experiencing a maintenance delay with an airline. Even though the largest global carriers have factory-supported service centers and back-up aircraft at their disposal, a break-down or unscheduled maintenance need can wreak havoc in operational schedules and inconvenience hundreds or even thousands of...
March 1, 2016
  By Pat Host The U.S. Army would take an important step forward with its Future Vertical Lift (FVL) initiative if its fiscal year 2017 budget request were enacted into law. American Helicopter Society International’s executive director, Mike Hirschberg, said the $10 million request by the Army, if granted, would mark the start of the process of defining FVL requirements and be the first funding...
March 1, 2016
A U.S. bill to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system, passed Feb. 11 by a House of Representatives committee, has received alternating support and criticism from aviation associations as it makes its way through the legislative process. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania), who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced the bill, H.R. 4441, on Feb. 3. Called...
March 1, 2016
Jeff Pino, former president of Sikorsky Aircraft and vice chairman of XTI Aircraft, died Feb. 5. Photo courtesy of XTI Aircraft Company A legend in aviation, Jeff Pino, was killed Feb. 5 when his P-51D crashed in Maricopa, Arizona. Pino had a long and distinguished aerospace career that began in the early 1980s when, as a young captain, he began U.S. Army flight training. As few years earlier, he was a...
March 1, 2016
Bell Helicopter is targeting the 505 JetRanger X for certification later this year. Photos courtesy of Textron Inc. Bell Helicopter is stepping up marketing of its newest civil aircraft as testing progresses on the super-medium twin 525 Relentless and the light single 505 JetRanger X. Both helicopters are to be featured at Bell’s exhibit at Heli-Expo early this month in Louisville, Kentucky. The...
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