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Monday, March 4, 2013

Rolls-Royce To Showcase Engines, Apps at Heli-Expo

By Ernie Stephens, Editor-at-Large

Engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce promises engine displays, support applications and interactive learning tools for Heli-Expo attendees who visit Booth N4717. The company also promises news of its latest developments, and programs to power a very old helicopter model. “One of the things we’re rolling out at the booth is the industry’s first support app,” said Greg Fedele, senior vice president of helicopters. “It’s for our FIRST Network.”

One of Rolls-Royce’s popular engine maintenance programs, FIRST Network consists of 24 company-owned and authorized service centers available to service the 4,500 operators of its M250 engine series.

“If you need support or service for an M250 [through FIRST Network], you can have an app on several different platforms, such as your iPhone, iPad and Android," explained Fedele. “You can get information about our network, where to send an engine, who to talk to, and what services are available. All FIRST Network data will be at your fingertips.”

Fedeles added that if an operator’s handheld device is Wi-Fi capable, and they have an engine that needs service, the app will electronically determine their location, select the authorized service center closest to that location, and provide all needed support information. And best of all, said Fedele, the service is free. (It does not, however, replace the need to maintain technical manuals for their engines.)

Anybody who wants to come by the Rolls-Royce Heli-Expo booth can bring their smart phone or tablet, scan the QR code, and it will take them to a website to download the app.

Rolls-Royce will also be announcing a new set of support options for the RR300, the powerplant used in the single-engine Robinson R66 turbine. Fedele said the company is “rolling out an enhanced suite of support specifically for the RR300.”

The only service plan originally available for the RR300 was a time-and-material system. But Rolls-Royce is now adding two additional plans. The first is the company’s Total Care program, which is a power-by-the-hour (PBH) plan for scheduled maintenance. The second, which is also based on the Total Care plan, goes further. It includes unscheduled maintenance items.

“The other thing we’re offering is the ability to pre-pay those two Total Care packages at a discount,” explained Fedele. So now, you can lock in your costs, and finance that service at the time you buy the aircraft.” Rolls-Royce is also planning to bring the pre-pay option to its M250 customers sometime in the future.

But there is more news from Rolls-Royce on the RR300, which has only been installed in the Robinson R66—approximately 500 units to date. Last fall, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with Scott’s Bell 47, which owns the rights to build the Bell 47 as its own SB-47. It creates a deal to “look into,” as Fedele described it, offering the 300-shp RR300 turbine as an option for the SB-47. And even though Fedele refused to get into specifics, he said that another airframer is “interested” in putting the engine in a production aircraft.
Rolls-Royce also plans to use its appearance at Heli-Expo to tell attendees about a new variant of a popular powerplant.

“We will be launching a new series of engines called the M250-C47E—the Evolution Engine,” Fedele reported. “We take our C47B and/or our C47 architectures and incorporate our new VIP—our high/hot kit—and our dual-channel FADEC kit, into the C47E. That engine has an increased power rating of 700 shp.” The additional power will deliver lower direct operating costs.

The C47B will be on display at the Rolls-Royce booth, along with an interactive learning system that uses a touchscreen television to show the intricacies of the engine, as well as component-level detail of the differences between it and earlier models of the M250-C47.
Rolls-Royce will also use its appearance at Heli-Expo to announced that it sold approximately 500 engines in 2012, and delivered its 31,000th turbine engine in February of 2012. The recipient of the 31,000th engine was Enstrom Helicopter of Menominee, Mich. “The type certificate for the M250 was 50 years old on December 19th of 2012,” said Fedele. “That’s 31,000 engines delivered over the past 50 years.”
Related: Engine News

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