As we round the corner past the U.S. Labor Day weekend, thoughts of cold-weather operation begin to make their unwelcome presence felt, especially among operators of unhangared aircraft. Cranking up a mechanically complex aircraft on a subzero morning can put lifetime-limiting stresses on drivetrains. This is especially true when it comes to rotorcraft, with their high number of crucial moving parts.
“What’s the difference between fractional helicopter operations and fractional business jet operations?” asked one fractional sales professional rhetorically. “Well, it’s like comparing a rare tropical orchid with dandelions. The orchid can grow and prosper in only a special and rather rare environment, while the dandelion sprouts up just about anywhere there’s sunlight and water.
Sikorsky S-76, Grand Rapids, Mich., May 29, 2008–The Aero Med Spectrum Health S-76 was taking off from the helipad on the roof of the Spectrum Health Hospital when the tail rotor struck a radio tower; the helicopter crashed
on the roof and was destroyed by fire. No one was injured.
British International has ambitions to introduce scheduled services in the UK within the next 10 years using the proposed Bell/Agusta BA619 tiltrotor airliner. The company’s managing director, David Hayler, told AIN “The future regional airliner is the tiltrotor,” and his 10-year vision sees use of a 19-seat stretched development of the BA609, soon to begin flight trials.
Okay trivia buffs, where’s the highest control tower in the world? Before you say Quito, La Paz or Kathmandu, an extra qualifier–the highest above the landing surface. The answer is Vancouver, British Columbia. But not the tower at Vancouver International Airport, whose cab is a puny 142 ft above the airport surface.
Pledging to build already successful long-time central Atlantic coast helicopter support and repair operation Keystone Helicopter into a $350 million business, Keystone Ranger Holdings’ CEO Steve Townes addressed Keystone staffers, founders and well-wishers at a recent “closing dinner” held at the American Helicopter Museum near Keystone’s headquarters in West Chester, Pa., near Philadelphia.
Taking the pulse of the offshore oil industry is like grabbing a handful of the viscous mud drillers use for lubrication in the drilling process. What seems like a hard-and-fast situation one minute can dribble through one’s fingers the next. Agility is the secret to success.
The Brazilian city of São Paulo lies south of the equator, straddling the Tropic of Capricorn, and is about as far east as the southern tip of Greenland. It is the homely sister to its more famous neighbor, Rio de Janeiro, which lies about 330 nm to the east and is considered by many to be the most beautiful city in the world. According to a popular Brazilian saying, Rio is for leisure while São Paulo is for work.
Investigators are continuing to look into the July 16 North Sea crash of a Sikorsky S-76A+ operated by Bristow Helicopters. The accident claimed the lives of all 11 on board the rotorcraft, which was preparing to land at Shell UK’s Santa Fe Monarch drilling rig in the Leman Field, 45 mi north of Lowestoft, England. As it approached the rig at 7:45 p.m.
In the wake of an emergency AD demanding main-rotor blade inspections on the entire Sikorsky S-76 fleet (see page 6), Sikorsky issued a statement in which it concurred with the findings of the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB)–that the fatal July 16 crash of a Bristow S-76A+ into the North Sea, resulting in the deaths of nine passengers and two pilots, was caused by a lightning strike suffered by one of the helicopter’s main rotor