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( THINK SERVICE )

Because you need your helicopters to be available around the clock, we have the largest network of helicopter training, logistics and maintenance centers across the globe. Eurocopter — Ready to serve you 24/7.

logistics and maintenance centers across the globe. Eurocopter — Ready to serve you 24/7. Thinking without
logistics and maintenance centers across the globe. Eurocopter — Ready to serve you 24/7. Thinking without
logistics and maintenance centers across the globe. Eurocopter — Ready to serve you 24/7. Thinking without

Thinking without limits

logistics and maintenance centers across the globe. Eurocopter — Ready to serve you 24/7. Thinking without
logistics and maintenance centers across the globe. Eurocopter — Ready to serve you 24/7. Thinking without
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Ned dawsoN captured this unique angle of Fairfax County’s 429 over arlington, Va as it
Ned dawsoN
captured this unique
angle of Fairfax
County’s 429 over
arlington, Va as it
headed off on a call.

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regularS

regularS coluMnS froM The ediTor 2 new orderS & deliVerieS 5 new ProducTS & SerViceS 8

coluMnS

froM The ediTor

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new orderS & deliVerieS

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new ProducTS & SerViceS

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FeAtURes

The ViTal link

The Texas Medical Center hospital is home to one of America’s busiest and

highly respected air medical programs in the United States and celebrates 35

years of operation. Memorial Hermann Life Flight was the first air ambulance

program to operate in Texas and the second in the United States and is

still the only hospital based air ambulance program in Southeast Texas

transporting in excess of 3,000 patients annually.

The iTalian job - eMS oPS The iTalian way

The use of helicopters to provide emergency medical services is nothing new,

but at Airgreen they do things a little differently. Rather than being a case

of Italian flair, however, their operations are dictated by politics, funding and

geography.

all on The line

When life is on the line it is often up to experienced helicopter teams such as

those of Sonoma County Sheriff’s Helicopter Unit, ‘Henry One’, to reach and

assist those in peril, but can we safeguard the saviors?

bigger & beTTer – The bell 429 enTerS law enforceMenT SerViceS

Fairfax County Police Department recently became the world’s first law-

enforcement operator to put the new Bell 429 into active service, replacing

their two aged but trustworthy 407s to supply both law enforcement and EMS

functions.

airborne aT SunriSe

When a US utility company embarked on a major powerline construction

project requiring helicopter support, no one involved realized the scale of

the challenges they would face or the depth and complexity of the aviation

resource they would need to assemble.

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Every second counts

Every second counts EMS professionals strive to provide the best care to the patient. AgustaWestland provides
Every second counts EMS professionals strive to provide the best care to the patient. AgustaWestland provides
Every second counts EMS professionals strive to provide the best care to the patient. AgustaWestland provides
Every second counts EMS professionals strive to provide the best care to the patient. AgustaWestland provides
Every second counts EMS professionals strive to provide the best care to the patient. AgustaWestland provides
Every second counts EMS professionals strive to provide the best care to the patient. AgustaWestland provides

EMS professionals strive to provide the best care to the patient. AgustaWestland provides unique, integrated and affordable products to the global healthcare delivery system.

Together, bringing care to the patient with the best aero-medical solution.

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delivery system. Together, bringing care to the patient with the best aero-medical solution. 2 agustawestland.com

agustawestland.com

delivery system. Together, bringing care to the patient with the best aero-medical solution. 2 agustawestland.com

the teAm

PUBLISHER/EdItoR

neville dawson

ASSt PUBLISHER

craig lord

dEPUty EdItoR

alan norris

SUB EdItoR

leigh neil

EURoPEAn EdItoR alexander Mladenov

fLIgHt dynAmIcS EdItoR nick lappos

contRIBUtIng EdItoRS glen white Sarah bowen Valerie cohen

contRIBUtIng PHotogRAPHERS Philip knaus damiano gualdoni Sheldon cohen Timothy Pruitt

PRoofREAdER

barbara Mcintosh

Head Office address

Kia Kaha Media Group

PO Box 37 978, Parnell,

auckland 1001, New Zealand

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+64 9 281 2020

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+64 9 528 3172

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News desK

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email info@heliopsmag.com News desK news@heliopsmag.com www.heliopsforum.com www.kiakahamedia.com FRom the pUblisheR

www.heliopsforum.com

www.kiakahamedia.com

FRom the pUblisheR

By Ned dawson

www.kiakahamedia.com FRom the pUblisheR By Ned dawson W ell another year has gone by since our

W ell another year has gone by since our last Heli Expo and here we are packing to head off to Dallas, Texas. Heli Expo is

one of those must attend events, along with Helitech

in the UK, where you get to catch up with friends,

colleagues, advertisers, contributors and many others

in the global helicopter industry. It’s one of those

events that I love to attend, as wandering around

the exhibit halls allows you to appreciate just what

a special industry we are all involved in. From the

diminutive R22 at one end to the massive Erickson S64 Aircrane at the other, it shows just how diverse this industry really is and the variety of uses helicopters are relied upon for. Some say the industry hasn’t grown much over the past year but I have to disagree. In the last couple of months alone I travelled to the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the United States and everywhere I went operators were upbeat about the coming twelve months. I stopped in at Fairfax County Police in Virginia where

they had just placed into service the first of two brand new Bell 429s. I must say, that

is an impressive piece of equipment and gives them a whole range of capabilities that

they just didn’t have with their previous 407s. But they weren’t the only ones with new 429s added to their fleet, I also got to spend a few days with Mercy Flight in Buffalo, NY where they have added a 429 to their fleet, and like Fairfax Police, they think it’s a great addition. While in the States, I stopped in and visited the Sunrise Powerlink project in San Diego. Now I don’t think I have visited any operation around the world that has this many helicopters working at any one time – at the peak there were 35 of them, and not just little machines either, we are talking a mixture of two Aircranes, five K-Max’s, and the remaining made up of AS350s and MD500s. 117 miles of power line over some pretty rugged area from San Diego to the Imperial Valley, is the perfect opportunity to showcase the unique capabilities of the helicopter, from moving the “ologists” as they are called (up to 200 of them every day), to building the various towers and stringing sockline. Thanks to the awesome people at SDG&E I got to spend a couple of days shooting photos from an AS350B3 as we flew from one end of the project to the other. It’s a fantastic example of how one of the biggest projects undertaken by a Southern California utility company just could not have been undertaken without the involvement of helicopters. Makes a change to see a positive spin put on helicopter operations rather than the complaining about noise etc that we

see in many larger cities around the world.

Air Green is one of the larger family owned operations in Italy and has an impressive fleet of machines including a number of AW139s, Bell 412s, AS350B3s, Lamas and more. I recently spent a day in Torino with their day crew, and that included going on both a training flight at the base of the Italian Alps plus a couple of real missions. We don’t hear a lot about EMS operations in Europe as more of the focus seems to be on the United States, but believe me they run a pretty slick operation. Their dedication to saving people is second to none. Ivo and Mauro Airaudi run an operation that should be held up as an example of how to run an EMS operation. If you ever make it to Italy then a quick detour past Torino to view it is worth adding to your agenda, I know I did and was very pleased with what I found - and besides the pasta in Italy is to die for. To round off this issue we take a look at another law enforcement operator, this time in Sonoma, California where they are running some pretty unique longline operations, with humans at the bottom. I shan’t bore you with my commentary on them, other than to say, check out this cool story by Valerie Cohen and images from her husband Sheldon, quite the dynamic duo. Hermann Lifeflight in Texas is one of the States premier EMS operators and Alan Norris took some time to visit them and see what makes them such a vital link in the States health network. With a fleet of modern EC145s at their disposal it’s easy to see why they are one of the most respected programs in the state. To everyone attending Heli Expo please stop by the HeliOps booth and say hi – remember that networking is the main benefit of attending this awesome show, so I look forward to seeing you all there.

Ned

ned@kiakahamedia.com

is the main benefit of attending this awesome show, so I look forward to seeing you

3

That’s why technicians at our authorized Customer Service Facilities have been trained at Bell Helicopter’s

That’s why technicians at our authorized Customer Service Facilities have been trained at Bell Helicopter’s industry-leading training academy. As factory-trained maintenance technicians, they are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of service using Bell Helicopter’s rigorous standards of quality. With more than 100 Customer Service Facilities across 35 countries, you’ll get the best support in the industry.

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Air Asia Company Ltd. Alpine Aerotech Ltd. Avialta Helicopter Maintenance Ltd. Eagle Copters Maintenance Ltd. Northwest Helicopters, LLC

Eagle Copters Maintenance Ltd. Northwest Helicopters, LLC © 2012 Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. 4 Rotorcraft Support,
Eagle Copters Maintenance Ltd. Northwest Helicopters, LLC © 2012 Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. 4 Rotorcraft Support,

© 2012 Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.

4

Rotorcraft Support, Inc. Servicio Tecnico Aereo De Mexico (STAM) Summit Helicopters, Inc. Uni ight, LLC

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new oRdeRs & deliveRies

Kagoshima iNterNatioNal aViatioN taKes deliVery oF gr aN dNew

Kagoshima iNterNatioNal aViatioN taKes deliVery oF gr aN dNew Kagoshima International Aviation of Japan has taken

Kagoshima International Aviation of Japan has taken delivery of an AgustaWestland GrandNew. This aircraft will be used to perform emergency medical service missions in the Kagoshima Prefecture, southern Japan. A ceremony was held in Kagoshima on 26th December 2011, in presence of the Governor of Kagoshima Prefecture and the Mayor of Kagoshima City, to celebrate the entry into service of the aircraft. This purchase is part of the Doctor Heli system programme, which is intended to provide modern airborne EMS coverage to all prefectures in Japan. This handover marks the entrance of the first EMS-configured GrandNew in the Japanese market. Kagoshima International Aviation’s GrandNew features a comprehensive EMS configuration with a cabin layout able to accommodate two litters plus medical attendants. Additionally, an AW109 Power in the same EMS cabin configuration will serve as a back up for the GrandNew’s operation. It is the first type certified light twin (CS/JAR/FAR 27) to enter service with a new EFIS featuring Synthetic Vision and the first helicopter in this class that fully complies with the latest advanced global positioning system-based navigation requirements for all weather operations.

Utair reCeiVes First eNhaNCedas350 B3e UTair Aviation has received its initial three Eurocopter AS350 B3e

Utair reCeiVes First eNhaNCedas350 B3e

UTair Aviation has received its initial three Eurocopter AS350 B3e enhanced models as this leading Russian and CIS operator builds up the largest fleet of Ecureuil family rotary-wing aircraft in the region. These AS350 B3s are among 20 aircraft ordered by UTair, marking the biggest contract for light helicopters ever placed in Russia and CIS. Certification of the AS350 B3e variant was issued by the area’s Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) civil aviation authority in December 2011. “We are happy to have the new AS350 B3es in our fleet,” commented UTair Aviation CEO Andrey Martirosov. “These helicopters have improved flight safety and high reliability. They are powerful and more efficient, which enables us to offer a competitive product in the services market to our customers in the oil and gas industry.” The AS350 B3e is an enhanced version of Eurocopter’s single-engine AS350 B3. UTair Aviation will use the new type for oil and gas pipeline patrols, surveillance missions, VIP transportation and cargo airlift in Russia, including Western and Central Siberia. The milestone 20-aircraft Ecureuil family order placed by UTair in 2010 was composed of 13 AS350 B3es, an AS350 B3, and six of the twin-engine AS355 NP versions.

KeNya PoliCe air wiNg BeComes First aFriCaN CUstomer For

as350B3e

The Kenya Police Air-Wing is expanding its airborne law enforcement and crime prevention unit with the delivery of an AS350 B3e. Kenya’s selection of the AS350 B3e follows an open and competitive tender won earlier this year by Eurocopter Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd. The B3e will be dedicated to police law enforcement and crime prevention missions including anti- poaching, anti-terrorism operations. It will also be deployed in search & rescue, casualty evacuation, personnel transport and various other civic protection roles. Range and payload was a primary consideration in selecting the AS350 B3e as the Air-Wing required a machine capable of patrolling both the dense built up area around the major cities, Nairobi and Mombasa, but also to cover smaller towns and communities spread over large areas.

around the major cities, Nairobi and Mombasa, but also to cover smaller towns and communities spread
around the major cities, Nairobi and Mombasa, but also to cover smaller towns and communities spread

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new oRdeRs & deliveRies

Bell 429 seleCted By tUrKish NatioNal PoliCe

Bell Helicopter has been selected by the Turkish National Police from a field of several companies to enter final negotiations for an award for 15 Bell 429s with an option for five additional aircraft. “This selection represents the culmination of the efforts of a dedicated team at Bell Helicopter in collaboration with our independent representative, Saran Group, Inc,” said Larry Roberts, senior vice president for Bell Helicopter’s Commercial Business. “This is a significant win in the European market for Bell. It reflects our commitment and investment in providing the right products for our customers as well as support, training and aftermarket in the region. The Bell 429 is well-suited to provide a rock-solid, twin-engine law enforcement platform being able to carry the necessary sensors and equipment to provide our aerial first responders the finest operational capability in the business,” Roberts said.

QUito aerial PoliCe serViCe reCeiVes seCoNd as350 B2 Eurocopter’s Mexican subsidiary, Eurocopter de México S.A.

QUito aerial PoliCe serViCe reCeiVes seCoNd as350 B2

Eurocopter’s Mexican subsidiary, Eurocopter de México S.A. (EMSA), has delivered a single-engine AS350 B2 to the Quito Aerial Police Service, of the Ecuadorian National Police Force, for use on public security missions. The new aircraft was presented during a ceremony at the customer’s facilities in Quito, which was attended by senior officials from Ecuador’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, the National Police Force and the National Council for the Control of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (CONSEP), along with EMSA representatives. The Aerial Police Service now has two AS350 B2s following this latest delivery under the contract signed by EMSA with the General Headquarters of the Ecuadorian National Police Force in December 2009. The new addition will provide support in the fight against organized crime and public security missions. The Aerial Police Service of the Ecuadorian National Police Force has been carrying out missions to safeguard public security in Ecuador for 14 years now, operating from five strategically located bases.

years now, operating from five strategically located bases. ProdUCtioN oF s-92 For irish Coast gUard searCh
ProdUCtioN oF s-92 For irish Coast gUard searCh aNd resCUe oPeratioNs ComPleted Sikorsky has completed

ProdUCtioN oF s-92 For irish Coast gUard searCh aNd resCUe oPeratioNs ComPleted

Sikorsky has completed production of an S-92 for operation by CHC Helicopter on behalf of the Irish Coast Guard. Equipped for dedicated search and rescue (SAR) operations, the aircraft will provide coverage for deep Atlantic Ocean missions, service Ireland’s offshore islands, and provide rescue cover from Cork to Galway on the country’s west coast. Based at Shannon, the new aircraft will replace the current Coast Guard SAR helicopter, a Sikorsky S-61. Sikorsky and CHC formalized the purchase in the presence of Chris Reynolds, Irish Coast Guard Director, during a hand-over ceremony at Sikorsky’s S-92 commercial assembly facility in Coatesville, Pa. Mr. Reynolds said that the delivery of the new aircraft to service some of the roughest and treacherous ocean waters in the world represents a stepped improvement in Ireland’s ability to care for and service its seagoing, coastal and island communities.

Bell heliCoPter deliVers its 4,000th CommerCial ProdUCt From CaNadiaN FaCility Bell Helicopter has delivered the

Bell heliCoPter deliVers its 4,000th CommerCial ProdUCt From CaNadiaN FaCility

Bell Helicopter has delivered the 4,000th commercial product since it began production at its Mirabel, Canada, facility 25 years ago. During a small ceremony at the facility in Mirabel, long-time customer, Air Medical Group Holdings (AMGH), took delivery of the 4,000 aircraft, a Bell 206L4. “This is a significant milestone for Bell Helicopter,” said John Garrison, president & CEO for Bell Helicopter. “Today we celebrate the historic delivery of a highly successful product, the Bell 206, as well as our outstanding partnership with AMGH.” Michael Preissler, Chief Financial Officer of AMGH accepted the award and the keys to the new Bell 206L4. “AMGH serves 25 U.S. states and is the second largest air emergency medical services provider in the world. Our company has had tremendous growth over the years, and we know much of our success is due to our great partnership with Bell Helicopter,” Preissler said.

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new pRodUcts & seRvices

stC aNd dealer agreemeNt ComPleted For Fast traC iNstallatioNs

aNd dealer agreemeNt ComPleted For Fast traC iNstallatioNs Geneva Aviation has secured STC approval from the

Geneva Aviation has secured STC approval from the FAA for FAST Trac, which collects performance data from analog aircraft systems and legacy operations equipment. The FAST Trac kit, which includes both the Master Control Box (MCB) and the Remote Tap Units (RTU), is certified for installation in Eurocopter AS350 Ecureuil, AS355 Ecureuil 2 and Bell 206/407 aircraft. The system connects with Iridium 9505/A or 9555 satellite communication systems to provide near real time performance information from installed legacy (analog) equipment and after-market monitoring products. Additional FAA certifications for other aircraft will reportedly be available in the future. “DART and Geneva Aviation have established a relationship with Absolute Fire to provide state of the art performance monitoring and data display using near real time satellite communication capability,” said Steve Joseph, DART Helicopter Services VP of US Operations. “Operators with legacy fleets can now collect and see in near real time, information that was previously only available where FADEC’s or other digital data systems were installed. This will help them both in reducing costs and in meeting increasingly higher standards for FOQA and MOQA capabilities for their clients.”

New geNeratioN aw189 ComPletes its maideN Flight

The first prototype of the AW189 twin engine 8-tonne class aircraft has successfully completed its maiden flight. The aircraft was launched at the Paris Air Show earlier this year and this first prototype made its maiden flight ahead of schedule. AgustaWestland aims to achieve civil certification for the AW189 in 2013 and to start deliveries in early 2014. The AW189 was flown by AgustaWestland Chief Test Pilot Giuseppe Lo Coco at the company’s Cascina Costa plant in Italy. It performed as expected during the flight, which included an assessment of the machines general handling and basic systems. The first prototype will be used for avionic system testing and certification of offshore equipment options, while the second prototype, set to fly in 2012, will be dedicated to a load survey programme. Bruno Spagnolini, Chief Executive Officer, AgustaWestland, said “Performing the first flight of the new AW189 just a few months after its launch highlights our strong commitment to providing the market with the most advanced helicopters in the shortest possible timescales. We are delighted with the initial response from the market with a number of leading operators having already committed to buy the AW189 for long range offshore missions.” He went on to say “We are confident as we progress towards certification and production that many more operators will select the AW189 for Search and Rescue, offshore transport and parapublic missions due to its long-range capabilities, attractive operating costs and modern safety features.”

attractive operating costs and modern safety features.” Set to enter service in early 2014, the twin

Set to enter service in early 2014, the twin engine AW189 is optimised for long range offshore transport and SAR missions. The cabin seats 16 passengers in the standard configuration with the option of a high density 18 seat layout or an ultra long range 12 seat configuration. In the SAR role the 11.2 m3 cabin can accommodate a mission console, stretchers and seating for the crew and survivors. A single or dual rescue hoist is positioned above the large sliding cabin door on the starboard side and a range of equipment including FLIR, searchlight and radar can be fitted. The new generation AW189 will reportedly meet the very latest international regulatory safety requirements (EASA / FAA Part 29, JAR OPS 3 / EU-OPS). A range of simulator and training devices will progressively be made available to serve the worldwide AW189 customer base.

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range of simulator and training devices will progressively be made available to serve the worldwide AW189
New delUxe sKid tUBes For as350/355 DART Helicopter Services has announced Transport Canada, FAA, EASA

New delUxe sKid tUBes For

as350/355

DART Helicopter Services has announced Transport Canada, FAA, EASA and Brazilian approval of DARTs Deluxe Skidtube for the

AS350/AS355.

The Deluxe Skidtube feature DAS’s patented Round-I-Beam skidtube, Run-on Landing Wearplates, Tow Ring, Cable Guard, Toe Step and Wedge Kit. Run-on Landing Wearplates are specially designed for the harsh use of training and run-on landings. They feature a thru-bolt installation, an overlay of highly wear resistant tungsten carbide, a corrosion resistant stainless steel construction and a corrosion resistant compound between the skidtube and wearplate. The Cable Guard and Wedge Kit are both fabricated from durable UHMW polymer. “Being able to offer our customers skidtubes with our most popular kits pre-installed will not only add to the convenience of purchasing a DAS skidtube, it will also reduce maintenance costs,” said Bill Beckett, DART VP Canadian Operations.

new pRodUcts & seRvices

Bell 429 reCeiVes PerFormaNCe Boost Bell Helicopter has received Transport Canada approval for a 500

Bell 429 reCeiVes PerFormaNCe Boost

Bell Helicopter has received Transport Canada approval for a 500 lbs. weight increase, to increase the maximum gross weight to 7,500 lbs, for the Bell 429. “This enhancement was the result of continued requests from our customers to yield additional performance from the Bell 429. Our customers told us they loved all the features and performance the Bell 429 brings to bear but they wanted more

range to take better advantage of the helicopter’s IFR/WAAS capabilities allowing for

a greater safety margin by ensuring the capacity for necessary fuel reserves for the

growing number of operations in the IFR environment,” said Larry Roberts, senior vice president for Bell Helicopter’s Commercial Business. “Outside of the previous certification limit at 7,000 lbs, all the test data indicated that the Bell 429 would suffer no technical constraints by increasing the gross weight to 7,500 lbs. We reached out to the Bell 429’s certification authority, Transport Canada, and have been working with them for several months to validate what our data showed. After careful testing, review and evaluation Transport Canada issued the exemption approval for the gross weight increase,” Roberts said. The additional gross weight now permits operators to equip the Bell 429 with additional options including Helicopter Terrain Awareness Warning System (HTAWS),

a radar altimeter, cockpit voice/flight data recorder and strobe lights. The increased gross weight directly translates to greater range and loiter times. With Transport Canada’s approval now in hand, Bell Helicopter will formally petition the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for concurrence with Transport Canada on a 500 lbs. exemption to Part 27 with respect to the 7,000 lbs. maximum gross weight limit. “We have deep respect and a very good relationship with both the FAA and EASA. We believe they will support Transport Canada’s decision; after all, the exemption would allow for product improvements that increase operational capability for owners and operators making it a win/win for everyone,” Roberts said. The weight deviation improvement will have the capability to be retrofitted to the existing fleet through the installation of a kit that will be available through Bell Helicopter. Additionally, Bell Helicopter say they will issue the necessary changes to the flight manual to correspond with the additional weight capacity. All of this information will reportedly be made available through Bell Helicopter and its customer support network throughout the world.

rUN oN laNdiNg wearPlates For 206s aNd 407s.

Transport Canada, FAA and EASA have approved DARTs (DAS) stainless steel Run-on Landing Wearplates for the Bell 206L/L1/ L3/L4 and 407 Standard Skidtubes and Float Skidtubes. DARTs traditional wearplates and wearpads are designed for durability under normal wear conditions. However, training and run-on landings present unique requirements for durability far in excess of normal operations. DAS Run-on Landing Wearplates are specifically designed for the harsh use of training and run-on landings. “DAS recognizes that standard wearplates may not provide sufficient protection for some types of operations. DAS run-on landing wearplates can be retrofitted to existing skidtubes or ordered on new skidtubes. Also, the thru bolt design means that changing wearplates is easier,” said Bill Beckett, DART VP Canadian Operations.

Also, the thru bolt design means that changing wearplates is easier,” said Bill Beckett, DART VP

9

new pRodUcts & seRvices

eC175 oFFers 30 PerCeNt iNCreased PerFormaNCe

eC175 oFFers 30 PerCeNt iNCreased PerFormaNCe The next-generation Eurocopter EC175 will reportedly incorporate

The next-generation Eurocopter EC175 will reportedly incorporate significantly increased range and payload capacity when it enters service at the end of this year, and will be the first seven metric ton-category helicopter delivered with such capabilities. In releasing EC175 enhanced performance specifications, Eurocopter announced a baseline payload/radius-of-action capacity with 16 passengers at 135 nautical miles when configured for offshore oil and gas missions, out-performing any medium-lift rotary on the market in terms of competitiveness. This represents a 30 percent performance increase compared with the initial performance baseline. For longer-range missions, EC175 can transport 12 passengers to a radius of action of 190 nautical miles. In addition, Eurocopter has launched the development of a 18 passengers configuration option, aiming at carrying those 18 passengers to a radius-of-action of 100 nautical miles. The EC175 program is said to be progressing well, with first deliveries targeted in late 2012 following certification in the offshore mission configuration with the enhanced performance. Ongoing testing continues to validate the EC175’s rugged design, including cold and hot weather trials, bird strike tests, and gearbox operation for 30 minutes after loss of oil. Two EC175 prototypes have logged more than 270 flight hours to date and industrial activity is continuing with the first two serial aircraft being assembled at the Eurocopter’s Marignane facility in France.

New tUrBiNe eNgiNe testiNg FaCility Columbia Helicopters is pleased to announce the official opening of

New tUrBiNe eNgiNe testiNg FaCility

Columbia Helicopters is pleased to announce the official opening of their new turbine engine testing facility. The $4 million project will allow the company to work on a wider variety of turbine helicopter engines, and will result in the addition of several new customers. The new facility, commonly called an engine test cell, is specifically designed to support the T55-714 turbine engine. This engine is commonly used in military CH-47 Chinook helicopters around the world, and the test cell is designed to accept other engines coming on line in the future. “The building of this test cell allows CHI to provide complete nose-to-tail maintenance on military Chinook helicopters,” said Scott Ellis, CHI’s Director of Business Development and a 20-year Chinook service veteran. “As a civilian operator of the Chinook, we can provide our customers with our years of experience on those helicopters. Now, that experience and maintenance capability includes the newest engine model installed in the aircraft.”

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the newest engine model installed in the aircraft.” 10 New teChNology eNhaNCes air to groUN d

New teChNology eNhaNCes air to groUN d Video aN d data tr aNsmissioN

Broadcast Microwave Services, Inc. (BMS) and AeroComputers Inc. recently completed an engineering effort to integrate special mission products which serve the law enforcement, public safety and government surveillance markets. BMS, a leading manufacturer of wireless microwave communications systems for use with airborne law enforcement and public safety applications, features its Geo-Point™ software capability used in BMS handheld receivers. AeroComputers, the leading manufacturer of onboard aircraft computer systems for airborne law enforcement, features its UC-5100 mission management system and other onboard equipment for live display of location data and mapping. Geo-Point works with the UC-5100 mission management system by continually transmitting aircraft and camera position coordinates to ground-based receivers. The Carry-Viewer™ Plus receiver can decode the coordinates and point to the position of the aircraft as well as the center of the EO/IR camera’s image. This integration reduces aircrew workload and leverages technology to automatically provide guidance to personnel on the ground. “The ability for ground crews to have a live, individual display directing them right to the camera target location saves a lot of time and radio traffic otherwise required to explain to each Deputy where the target is from their specific position”, said Deputy Chad Davis of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department (AZ). “ The system has proven to save time and reduce confusion for both the aircrew and ground teams.

Department (AZ). “ The system has proven to save time and reduce confusion for both the
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new pRodUcts & seRvices

BridgiNg the FUel gaP iN PNg

BridgiNg the FUel gaP iN PNg SEI Industries began operating 24 hours a day to supply

SEI Industries began operating 24 hours a day to supply essential equipment required after the recent Papua New Guinea mudslides. The mudslide cut off a vital road into an ExxonMobil liquefied natural gas project – stranding more than 4500 workers. With only 10 days of fuel remaining but an estimated 35 days required to re-build the road, an urgent call was placed to SEI Industries to supply a BC-invented product that allows helicopters to transport fuel into remote locations. The Fuel-Easy is a lightweight, flyable fuel container made from a special industrial fabric and designed to be slung from below a helicopter. The fuel will be used to maintain basic needs and living accommodations for the workers. After receiving the call, SEI made the decision to ramp up its manufacturing schedule to accommodate the urgent request by employing staff around the clock. Local news media have stated that this was one of the worst landslides in Papua New Guinea, with witnesses reporting that the slide was about a kilometre long and a few hundred metres wide.

New ComPosite Blades For Bell 47 Scott’s – Bell 47, Inc. (SB47) have contracted with

New ComPosite Blades For Bell 47

Scott’s – Bell 47, Inc. (SB47) have contracted with IAC Ltd. to develop new composite main rotor blades for the model 47 fleet. The new main rotor blade will consist of a custom selected airfoil for improved performance and will be developed using the latest composite materials design & manufacturing technologies. SB47 anticipates this new airfoil will provide increases in hover performance and a reduction in fuel burn. The development plan also includes fatigue & damage tolerance testing planned to demonstrate a service life increase over the current 5,000 flight hours for the Bell designed metal blades. SB47 also confirmed that the composite blade will be designed to retain the Model 47s best-in-class Autorotation capability. It is intended that these new blades be interchangeable in pairs with the current metal blades in-service.“We think this is a very exciting development for the model 47 operators.” stated Scott Churchill, President/Owner of Scott’s – Bell 47, Inc. “We have been getting asked for some time if we were considering a composite main rotor blade, and after working with a number of potential suppliers it was clear that this is the right choice rather than continuing to manufacture the existing metal blades.”

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it was clear that this is the right choice rather than continuing to manufacture the existing
flighT dynaMicS By Nick lapps Knowing your Rotor Heads A s we walk around our

flighT dynaMicS

By Nick lapps

Knowing your Rotor Heads

A s we walk around our helicopter, we begin to realize that many of the features of the design are different from other helos. Everything has a purpose and every

designer tries to make the best machine for the job at hand. So why the differences? We must always keep in mind that there are few absolutely correct or incorrect decisions; all design decisions are based upon mission and economics, and there are many ways to strike a balance. I like to think of a “balanced” helicopter design as analogous to a soccer ball, where the ball’s many flat facets are joined to create a nearly perfect sphere. If we think of each of the polygons as representing a different design attribute, like “engine power” or “number of blades” or “rotor head design”, we realize that a balance of all these individual features is required to create a perfect whole. If we decide to alter any one of the attributes by pulling it out from the center of the ball, it is obvious that some other attribute or attributes must sink in towards the center of the ball in order for the design to remain balanced. It is the constant battle to achieve such balance that results in helicopter designers having trouble sleeping.

THE ROTOR HEAD

There are three basic rotor concepts: teetering (sometimes called semi-rigid), offset hinge rotors (articulated, and bearingless) and rigid rotors. The teetering rotor is one where a hinge right at the mast allows the blades to teeter like a child’s seesaw. The Robinson has a fundamentally teetering rotor, as do many of the older Bell products. The teetering rotor has the great attribute of being simple and inexpensive, with few machined parts. It is also easy to maintain and light in weight and for these reasons it is favored for use in light trainers and homebuilts. The weakness of the teetering rotor is that it provides very little control power under certain situations, which means that the flight envelope of the helicopter is restricted. It leads to such problems as mast bumping and dynamic rollover – situations that are almost exclusively teetering-rotor issues. In spite of these difficulties, when flown carefully, a teetering-rotor helicopter is a fine machine. Its low cost and easy maintenance makes it a very good initial trainer. The articulated, offset-hinge rotor is one where the blades are mounted away from the mast with flap and lead- lag bearings. These bearings can be grease-lubricated metal bearings, rubber/metal elastomeric bearings or flexible components of the rotor head. Hinge offset is a measure of the distance of that bearing from the mast, expressed as a percent of the total blade span, and so we might describe a helicopter as having a given percent of offset, usually between two and seven percent. Hinge offset measures the power of the cyclic controls – how quickly the helo follows up on our stick movements. (The teetering rotor, with its hinge at the mast, has a zero percent hinge offset and therefore has relatively low

control power.) This hinge offset control power is derived from the way the blades flap, and put their centrifugal force at play on the rotor head. As the controls make the blade flap, it no longer aligns along the arm of the rotor head, and so it pulls strongly on the arm to rotate the helicopter. This produces a bending force on the rotor that is very powerful, and makes the rotor feel “snappy”. The higher the offset, the “snappier” the

helo. Since this control is dependant only on centrifugal force,

it is not dependant on how much lift the blade is producing

and is available at low collective pitch and also low load factor. The extra control under conditions of low blade lift reduces the possibility of dynamic rollover and eliminates mast bumping entirely. However, the usual training guides make no such distinction, since they were written back when most helos had

teetering rotors, and they therefore speak of these ills as if they were universal to all helicopters. This control power puts the mast and transmission mounts under higher stress, so they must be beefier and thus will weigh more. A glance at the thick mast of a Black Hawk and the skinny mast of a Huey gives the power of hinge offset real meaning. Articulated rotors are particularly good in many applications, although they are more complex than teetering heads, with typically two or three times the number of parts. Modern articulated rotors with elastomeric bearings are usually maintenance-free. Bearingless main rotors are articulated, were the “bearings” are flexible parts of the rotor head, so that they have an equivalent offset somewhere between three and seven percent. Since bearingless main rotors have very few parts, they require little maintenance. However, well-designed articulated rotors with elastomeric bearings are similarly maintenance free. The truly rigid rotor is a class of rotor head that is perhaps obsolete. It is one in which the blade is rigidly mounted to the head end with no bearing to allow blade flapping or lead lag motions. The typical Bolkow rotor head is an example of a rigid rotor. Rigid rotors have exceptional control power since the equivalent hinge offset can be as much as 12 to 15 percent. As

a class, rigid rotors provided exceptional, crisp cyclic control

and great agility to the pilot. However, because the blades are rigidly attached (using a stiff rotor head and metal bearings) and the blade cannot flap to relieve the helo of transient lift increases in turbulence, occupants experience a somewhat rougher and less stable ride under turbulent air conditions. As a result, designers have shied away from rigid rotors and moved toward bearingless rotors with a hinge offset that can be adjusted high enough to allow excellent control feel but low enough to allow blade flapping to isolate occupants from the effects of turbulence. Comanche and EC-145 are examples of this interesting blend of handling and comfort. Having examined the rotor head, the next subject will be those things that keep us in the air – the rotor blades. n

Having examined the rotor head, the next subject will be those things that keep us in

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The Texas Medical Center hospital is home to one of America’s busiest and highly respected
The Texas Medical Center hospital is home to one of America’s busiest and highly respected
The Texas Medical Center hospital is home to one of America’s busiest and highly respected

The Texas Medical Center hospital is home to one of America’s busiest and highly respected air medical programs in the United States and celebrates 35 years of operation. Memorial Hermann Life Flight was the first air ambulance program to operate in Texas and the second in the United States and is still the only hospital based air ambulance program in Southeast Texas transporting in excess of 3,000 patients annually.

story & photos by AlAn norris

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It is now estimated to cost more than $3 million annually to support the program, none of which comes from federal, state or local tax subsidies. Instead the program is entirely funded by the Memorial Hermann foundation and its benevolent partners plus the financial support of the community through fundraising.

I n 1976, the idea of providing emergency air transportation was still in its formative years and most hospitals had never

considered the option of building a helipad on site. But Dr. James “Red” Duke, who still is medical director, and “Whitey” Martin, the then deputy chief of the Houston Fire Department, had a vision to provide a hospital based, non- profit organization responding to emergency calls regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. This led to the founding of Memorial Hermann Life Flight which still functions on these same founding principles. Originally known as Hermann Life Flight the “Memorial Hermann” name was added in the late 1990’s following the merger of the Hermann Healthcare System and the Memorial Healthcare System, and is still the United States largest not-for-profit health care system.

It is now estimated to cost more than $3 million annually to support the program, none of which comes from federal, state or local tax subsidies. Instead the program is entirely funded by the Memorial Hermann foundation and its benevolent partners plus the financial support of the community through fundraising. Operations began on 1st August 1976 with a single French built SA 319B Alouette III leased and operated by Rocky Mountain Helicopters. The Alouette III only had room for a pilot, a single patient, a registered nurse who was the principal crew member, and a surgical resident to assist the nurse with medical procedures and patient care. Despite the success of the service, during the initial first four weeks over 40 patients had been flown to the trauma center, this new flight program initially did not have many supporters,

over 40 patients had been flown to the trauma center, this new flight program initially did

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18 as critics saw the helicopter as an expensive tool. However, a fire at the

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18 as critics saw the helicopter as an expensive tool. However, a fire at the Texaco

as critics saw the helicopter as an expensive tool. However, a fire at the Texaco refinery in Port Arthur in 1977 put Life Flight in the spotlight as the helicopter transported many of the critically injured to hospital, and attracted a lot of media attention, all helping to promote the idea of EMS helicopter transport in Houston. The Alouette III proved to be a very capable helicopter for the role and in the following two consecutive years another two were added to the fleet. At the time the three aircraft operated from Hermann Hospital covering an operational area of 120 mile radius from the hospital. The Alouette III served the program well but they were eventually replaced in 1983 by a

newer aircraft, the AS355 Ecureuil 2 “TwinStar.” The TwinStar was a big step up from the Alouette III with improvements in range, power, speed and more importantly a larger cabin area plus improved flight safety that comes with twin engine aircraft operations. As developments in helicopter based EMS medical equipment improved Memorial Hermann Life Flight soon realized that the existing aircraft were not large enough to accommodate the newly emerging medical apparatus. So in 1988 they acquired a Bo105CBS4 and three BK117B1 helicopters. These new aircraft offered improved operating environments for the crews, the BK117B1, with

its lack of structural beams to obstruct the cabin space, introduced a new style of

its lack of structural beams to obstruct the cabin space, introduced a new style of layout allowing for the complete use of the rear cabin area. Both aircraft had a double patient load capacity and the Bo105CBS4 had a high skid configuration which improved safety around the tail rotor. Both helicopters also had rear opening “clamshell” doors a major improvement over loading and unloading patients on stretchers from the side of the Twin Star. Life Flight was now able to fly new specialized transports, including neonatal transport, intra-aortic balloon pump patients, and double patient loads from the same scene. Houston is the largest city in the state of

Texas, and the fourth largest city in the United States, and as the population continued to expand the city’s only air ambulance service felt it was unable to fully service Houston and the out lying areas of Harris County, Sugar Land and Baytown stretching across a150 mile radius of Houston. Life Flight was now operating with four helicopters, one of which was always in maintenance rotation, leaving only three available at any given time for emergency flights. Despite answering over 3000 tasking requests every year Memorial Hermann Life Flight still found itself unable to respond to over a 100 requests per year. So in 2006 the Campaign for Life Flight was initiated by

itself unable to respond to over a 100 requests per year. So in 2006 the Campaign

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Memorial Hermann Life Flight is a 24 hour, 365 days a year service and since the initial flight in 1976 has flown more than 130,000 missions. Its main base, the John S. Dunn Helipad, is located on the 12th floor of the Memorial Hermann Hospital, a level-one trauma unit, part of the Texas Medical Center

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the Memorial Hermann Foundation to raise $40 million to replace and expand the fleet through the purchase of six Eurocopter EC145 helicopters. It was just one year later at the Air Medical Transport Conference, in the Tampa Convention Center, American Eurocopter officially handed over the first new EC145 to Memorial Hermann Life Flight Director, Will David, and Director of Aviation Operations, Eric von Wenckstern. Through the success of the campaign by 2009 the remaining five aircraft had been delivered with four replacing the existing fleet. The fifth helicopter was fitted out with specialist medical equipment dedicated to pediatric cases, this was in response to the 25% of emergencies that represented emergencies

dealing with children. They also opened a new east side heliport with the sixth EC145 stationed there to provide an enhanced response time to the large Port of Houston and surrounding communities in the east of Houston. This also covers the Ship Channel where many of the energy companies are based and who generously contributed to the fundraising campaign. Memorial Hermann Life Flight is a 24 hour, 365 days a year service and since the initial flight in 1976 has flown more than 130,000 missions. Its main base, the John S. Dunn Helipad, is located on the 12th floor of the Memorial Hermann Hospital, a level-one trauma unit, part of the Texas Medical Center. This is also the location of the communications center,

a level-one trauma unit, part of the Texas Medical Center. This is also the location of

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We Fly

We Fly We Maintain TTTTThehehehehe PPPPPooooowwwwwerfulerfulerfulerfulerful
We Fly We Maintain TTTTThehehehehe PPPPPooooowwwwwerfulerfulerfulerfulerful

We Maintain

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TTTTThehehehehe PPPPPooooowwwwwerfulerfulerfulerfulerful DifDifDifDifDifffffferererererenceenceenceenceence

Columbia Helicopters is the only commercial operator of the Model 234 Chinook and Vertol 107-II, the civilian models of the CH-47 Chinook and H-46 Sea Knight. The company’s aircraft operate globally in extreme weather conditions, and are supported by one of the most exceptional maintenance facilities anywhere in the industry. Columbia’s fully functional maintenance facility is a one-stop shop, able to meet all depot level maintenance requirements for internal and external customers.

able to meet all depot level maintenance requirements for internal and external customers. www.colheli.com 503-678-1222
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dispatching the closest helicopter from the out lying five bases depending upon the where the

dispatching the closest helicopter from the out lying five bases depending upon the where the incident is located. The communications staff handles flight dispatching, with the helipad handling up to four helicopters at any one time, as well as coordinating critical care ground transports and coordinating patient transfers between facilities. When the pilot receives a call from the dispatcher he is only given the location of the emergency and no specific patient information. This is a conscious action as it means the pilot does not make the decision to fly based on an emotional response to the emergency but bases his flight on the weather and operational conditions, not on the type of patient or their condition. In collaboration with the other Texas Medical Center (TMC) facilities they will also accept and transport patients to whichever TMC hospital is most appropriate, at no charge to that facility. In an emergency they will also fly organ transplant missions and Memorial Hermann Hospital is the largest organ donor hospital in the country. Today Life Flight employs 18 pilots, 18 critical care flight nurses, 16 flight paramedics,

and seven mechanics across five bases. The North of Houston is covered from David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport, the South from Pearland Regional Airport which is also home to the maintenance base and the East out of Baytown Airport. In the West of Houston two bases have one helicopter based alternately during the month between Memorial Hermann Sugarland Hospital and Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital. Pilots fly shifts based over a two week period working seven days out of fourteen days and crews change at 6am and 6pm each day. Shifts are divided up with three days on and two days off for two weeks then two weeks working two days on and three days off. They also work every other weekend and four weeks of days and four weeks of nights. All flight nurses and paramedics are employed by the Hermann medical system unlike some other helicopter medical systems that employ crews on a freelance basis. Before being tasked on the helicopter EMS flight nurses will be expected to have had a minimum of three to five years experience in an emergency hospital or an intensive care unit.

be expected to have had a minimum of three to five years experience in an emergency

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24 Paramedics are expected to have had a similar number of years in a high

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24 Paramedics are expected to have had a similar number of years in a high volume

Paramedics are expected to have had a similar number of years in a high volume service like a fire department working in a pre hospital environment.

K At rin A

In August 2005 the Atlantic Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the upper Texas Coast, Memorial Hermann Life Flight was quick to respond and was the first of the Texas aeromedical transport services to establish a mobile command in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. One of the hospitals severely damaged by the floods was Ochsner Foundation Hospital, which sits just south of the Mississippi River. The hospitals own EMS helicopters had been commandeered for mass evacuation duties a few days earlier and Ochsner’s medical staff had called the Memorial Hermann hospital system for help as soon as they realized the magnitude of their situation. Life Flights initial mission was to ferry critical patients from the hospital to Baton Rouge Regional Airport where they would then be put on a private EMS jet aircraft to be flown to various destinations in Texas. Memorial Hermann Life Flight sent two

aircraft a day and flew out over a 100 patients operating from the roof of the damaged car park. The Superdome in New Orleans was used as a “shelter of last resort” for those unable to evacuate from Katrina and Life Flight were the first HEMS service to land at the Superdome to evacuate patients. During the aftermath of Katrina, Life Flight also transported and assisted with evacuations from numerous hospitals in New Orleans.

Airc A r ft

The new EC145 helicopters were all initially delivered to Metro Aviation, based in Shreveport, Louisiana, for completion of the EMS medical fit. This included the Metro designed liquid oxygen system (LOX), capable of 7.5 litres of LOX per cylinder, which is designed for external installation with an option of either a single or double cylinder on the EC145. Other equipment included the Ferno litter system with two patient capacity, LED cabin lighting, temperature controlled drawers to store medications and a custom air medical interior specified by Memorial Herman Life Flight. Each helicopter is fitted with a

26 wireless vital monitoring system that sends information on the patient to the emergency room

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26 wireless vital monitoring system that sends information on the patient to the emergency room during

wireless vital monitoring system that sends information on the patient to the emergency room during flight enabling the waiting medical staff to prepare any specialist equipment or medications in advance of the helicopter arriving at the hospital. The large sliding side doors, rear

clamshell loading doors and high set main and tail rotors make for safe working environment when loading of patients. The new helicopters are larger, quieter and better equipped than the previous fleet and the 133 knot cruise speed of the EC145

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The local Fire and EMS departments all speak on a different frequency and so the onboard multi band radio has over 40 frequencies to allow the pilot to tune into and contact all the ground organizations.

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has allowed for an increase in missions flown as response times have been reduced by as much as 33 percent. The average mission time now is 42 minutes from the time a Life Flight base receives a call to the time they land on the hospital helipad, well within the recognized “Golden Hour”. From a pilot perspective the aircraft are fitted with OuterLink satellite tracking, Avidyne TAS610, Bendix King RDR2000 weather radar, duel transponders and a five inch high contrast color display Garmin GNS 530W GPS integrated avionics. A Jeppesen database, that can be updated with a data card, contains all airports, VORs, NDBs, Intersections, FSS, Approach, DPs/STARs and SUA information and the GNS 530W makes practical use of this information with features like intelligent frequency nomination. Originally Life Flight pilots were not able to make full use of the Wide Area Augmentation System (WASS) capability of the GNS 530W but in early 2011 the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) for single pilot operation on the EC145 were upgraded by Eurocopter and now allow operators to utilize previously unavailable landing sites during inclement weather on IFR flights. Hospitals, metropolitan heliports and remotely located heliports are now more accessible in IFR conditions.

A Terrain Avoidance and Warning Systems (TAWS) is also fitted with the system giving an audible warning of obstacles from a data base which is updated every 28 days, but does not provide real time radar warnings of obstacles or wire hazards. Normal operational flights are flown at 800feet AGL, which is also their IFR weather minimum. If during a flight the weather ceiling drops below this then protocol sys they must land and request a land ambulance to continue the journey to the hospital. The local Fire and EMS departments all speak on a different frequency and so the onboard multi band radio has over 40 frequencies to allow the pilot to tune into and contact all the ground organizations. Memorial Hermann Life Flight flies over 50 patient missions a day and has become an essential service for Houston and the surrounding communities. It has come a long way from the early pioneering years and the red EC145 helicopters are now a reassuring sight at any emergency scene. Accredited by the Commission of Medical Transport Systems, this critical air ambulance service has always been on the cutting edge of patient care and safety. It is now a permanent fixture in Houston and is committed to continue its excellence in aviation safety and clinical care for decades to come. n

in Houston and is committed to continue its excellence in aviation safety and clinical care for
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EMS ops the Italian way The use of helicopters to provide emergency medical services is
EMS ops the Italian way The use of helicopters to provide emergency medical services is
EMS ops the Italian way The use of helicopters to provide emergency medical services is

EMS ops the Italian way

The use of helicopters to provide

emergency medical services is nothing new, but at Airgreen they do things

a little differently. Rather than being

a case of Italian flair, however, their

operations are dictated by politics, funding and geography.

photos by Ned dawsoN

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I taly’s Torino province encompasses large and bustling metropolitan areas, busy roads and autostradas, as

I taly’s Torino province encompasses large and bustling metropolitan areas, busy roads and autostradas, as well as valleys

into rugged, high mountainous areas. Airgreen supplies Italian HEMS services with four helicopters - a Bell 412 and three Agusta 139s - at four separate bases, including Turin, which HeliOps visited to find out how their operation differs from many other HEMS providers around the world. The company has been operating from its Torino base since 2003, when it took over predecessor Free Air. From their new, purpose- built hangar, their bright and distinctive Agusta 139 flies HEMS missions within a range of around 100kms from Torino, the central region, to where coverage from the other surrounding regions overlaps. This is a good geographic configuration for provision of HEMS service

as, if one machine is engaged on a call, an adjoining area can extend their normal range and provide coverage in the event of an additional callout. Airgreen does not provide 24hr coverage, but each base works a 12hr shift with the duty times staggered slightly to provide maximum coverage during summer, when the daylight hours are longer than Torino’s normal 0730 – 1930 summer duty period. Marco Barberis, one of Airgreen’s pilots, explained that the maximum permitted duty-time is 12 hours for flight crew so the 12 hour shift works well for staffing efficiency. Airgreen’s 139 is not NVG- equipped and does not operate at night. Local government in individual areas has a say in what HEMS coverage they want provided and, as is so often the case, budgetary considerations have a major effect on these decisions.

On a typical 12-hour shift the base is likely to respond to three or four
On a typical 12-hour shift the base is likely to
respond to three or four callouts but in the summer
period a busy day can see them dealing with up to
eight callouts on their shift.
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Despite being restricted to daylight-only operations, Airgreen’s Torino-based 139 is a busy machine, particularly during

Despite being restricted to daylight-only operations, Airgreen’s Torino-based 139 is a busy machine, particularly during summer when the surrounding hills and mountains are over- run with adventurous hikers, climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts, many of whom are more generously endowed with enthusiasm than with ability or common sense. On a typical 12-hour shift the base is likely to respond to three or four callouts but in the summer period a busy day can see them dealing with up to eight callouts on their shift. When interviewed in September, Barberis commented that the Torino 139 had already amassed around 550 hours operational flying in the year to date. The standard Airgreen mission-crew consists of five personnel, more than most similar type operators. Apart from the pilot, a highly qualified doctor and nurse are both carried and

a mountain-rescue specialist is also included. In the winter when avalanche risk is high and the mountains are full of skiers, it is common for an avalanche dog and handler to be included in the crew. Even more unusually, it is standard for a mechanic to be carried on all rescue flights. In addition to their fulfilling winch-operator duties it means that minor problems and malfunctions in the field can be dealt with immediately, enabling the machine to remain in service and possibly complete an otherwise abortive mission. When Airgreen engineer and hoist operator Alberto Boglietti explains it, it seems strange that more HEMS providers don’t follow the same principle. “How can they fix the helicopter if they are not on it?” he asks before adding “It’s a machine, it breaks. That’s why I’m there.” Boglietti has 10 years engineering experience and started with the Lama before transitioning to the B3 and

there.” Boglietti has 10 years engineering experience and started with the Lama before transitioning to the

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now the A139. Happy with his duties, he has no desire to obtain his pilots

now the A139. Happy with his duties, he has no desire to obtain his pilots license. Approximately half of the summer calls are in the mountains, while after the winter season commences in December that ratio climbs to almost 70 percent. Outside the mountainous areas the callouts experienced by the Torino base are similar to all HEMS operations.

Road crashes are a big part of the statistics with high traffic intensity in built-up areas. Trauma or cardiac events are the two most common callout, while other accidents, medical emergencies or fires are typical of callouts experienced by HEMS operators worldwide. Perhaps surprisingly, burns callouts are not common and Mastroianni reports that three

by HEMS operators worldwide. Perhaps surprisingly, burns callouts are not common and Mastroianni reports that three
by HEMS operators worldwide. Perhaps surprisingly, burns callouts are not common and Mastroianni reports that three
by HEMS operators worldwide. Perhaps surprisingly, burns callouts are not common and Mastroianni reports that three
by HEMS operators worldwide. Perhaps surprisingly, burns callouts are not common and Mastroianni reports that three
by HEMS operators worldwide. Perhaps surprisingly, burns callouts are not common and Mastroianni reports that three

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or four events a year would be typical. The Italian emergency system uses a co-ordination

or four events a year would be typical. The Italian emergency system uses a co-ordination and management facility known as the 118 operational center. The center receives all emergency calls and prioritizes them, before allocating appropriate assets. They may elect to dispatch a helicopter based

on such criteria as distance or time from road- ambulance support, the need for immediate transport to a specialized care facility – maybe cardiac, pediatric or burns unit – or difficulty in access to a mountainous area. The 118 center team also includes a mountain rescue specialist so asset and access decisions can be more

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accurately assessed. Road ambulances are often the first asset on-scene at a potential callout and

accurately assessed. Road ambulances are often the first asset on-scene at a potential callout and if there is a doctor on board he will decide whether the helicopter is required. If there is serious injury and the ambulance does not have a doctor on board the helicopter will automatically be dispatched.

Most incidents attended are winch operations and the 139 is equipped with a Breeze-Eastern 600lb rescue hoist. Obviously, in the mountains this is expected – few mountain accidents seem to occur near open, flat ground - but even road accidents usually see the doctor winched to the scene immediately; high traffic

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density, the prevalence of wire hazards and an unwillingness to close roads for a helicopter

density, the prevalence of wire hazards and an unwillingness to close roads for a helicopter to land making it the most reliable standard procedure. The further away from major metropolitan areas an incident is, the more likely the machine can land at the scene but this will not be considered unless Police have closed the road or stopped traffic. Occasionally a landing will be carried out in an adjacent field or paddock, with fences and wires cut as required to permit access to the scene. Alessandro Mastroianni is a medical doctor who has specialized in anesthesiology and resuscitation and started HEMS crew work in 1992 on the A109. He explained that to be part of the HEMS crew a doctor must have at least five years experience and have specialized

in anesthesiology and trauma/ICU work. They must then complete a specific Italian qualification for duty as part of a HEMS crew. Nurses require 118 centre experience and at least 3 years experience in road-ambulance work before they can qualify for crew duties, then they must complete a 3-day examination regime. Ongoing training and examinations are an additional requirement to maintain their HEMS crew qualification. There are several nurses on the team and they rotate so that their duties often include a few days on the helicopter and the rest of their work is at the 118 center. Marco Bruzzone is an alpine rescue specialist from SASP (Soccorso Alpino Spelologico Piemontese). He has seven years experience on HEMS work, at several different

The Italian emergency system uses a co-ordination and management facility known as the 118 operational center. The center receives all emergency calls and prioritizes them, before allocating appropriate assets.

46 bases, and explained that once the rescue specialist level is reached, further internal course

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46 bases, and explained that once the rescue specialist level is reached, further internal course work

bases, and explained that once the rescue specialist level is reached, further internal course work and examinations are required to qualify for a position on HEMS duty. The principle duty of the MR specialist is to secure the safety of the landing area for the winching down of the doctor and nurse. In a winching scenario the doctor always descends before the nurse and then makes a decision as to whether the nurse will be required, although on infrequent occasions the MR specialist will ascertain that the callout does not involve medical issues and the crew can just ‘scoop and run’ with no need to winch down medical personnel. 8,000hr pilot Barberis says that, to be considered for Airgreen, pilots must have 2000- 3000 hours experience in other appropriate work such as firefighting. He has been at Torino

for three years but has worked previously for predecessor company Ilario and on firefighting duties. He works 7 days on – 7 days off and enjoys the work he does. He still loves flying but does not enjoy the inevitable beauracracy or the heavy fog that frequently occurs during

winter. Control tower staff will make the decision whether the helicopter can depart from a controlled field and sometimes there can be days of fog that reduce visibility below the minima of 1,500m visibility and 500’ ceiling. Barberis reports that he has experienced up to

a week of being grounded due to fog! In those circumstances another base or operator can

be called out but quite often the fog will be widespread and such efforts can be fruitless.

If the callout is initiated by an ambulance,

the on-scene weather will be assessed and a decision made as to the feasibility of attending.

If travelling long distances Barberis likes to fly at 8-10,000ft and says the machine boasts
If travelling long distances Barberis likes to fly at 8-10,000ft and says the machine boasts

If travelling long distances Barberis likes to fly at 8-10,000ft and says the machine boasts a maximum operational altitude of around 17,000ft. The weather conditions, however, can make this somewhat challenging and he reports an instance of arriving at a mountain callout in sleet and snow with the machine heavily iced up. “I landed and we found the blades, the glass, even the winch were all iced over. Not a good situation!” The 139 range has an option for full ice protection but the Torino-based machine does not have ice protection so the mountain weather can be extremely treacherous. The highest altitude rescue mission Barberis can recall is one last November, at around 13,000ft, and he told HeliOps that for such higher altitude missions he will often download at a nearby temporary ‘fieldbase’ to give the machine greater hovering and maneuvering ability. He

also recalled an incident where, attempting to land at 10,000ft in hot and windy conditions, he lost so much pedal authority that it took ten attempts before he was finally successful and he attributes that success to a lull in the wind and the amount of fuel he’d burnt off. Barberis considers the 139 to be a great machine for the work but would like Agusta to produce a less technologically complex utility version. He does find it a stable and forgiving aircraft which fulfils it role well. Its slab sides do not present a problem unless landing in confines areas between large structures but, as he says, “I found that with the 109 and the Bell 412 anyway.” The 139 is equipped with a down-view camera but Barberis prefers the traditional mirrors when winching or landing. He stresses that they always ‘tour’ the landing zone and the

the traditional mirrors when winching or landing. He stresses that they always ‘tour’ the landing zone

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winch operator will visually check out the sliding door; this makes the lack of a

winch operator will visually check out the sliding door; this makes the lack of a bubble-window irrelevant. Wires are prolific throughout Italy and Barberis finds that people use cables to transport goods up and down in the mountain

valleys; it’s not uncommon to find ten or twenty cables in a single valley. Being a single-helicopter base, Torino has its 139 effectively equipped as a mobile trauma room, intended to sustain life for the relatively

trauma room, intended to sustain life for the relatively License conversions and aTP Los Angeles Helicopters
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short journey to full care at a hospital. A small amount of medical oxygen is

short journey to full care at a hospital. A small amount of medical oxygen is carried, while two large bags carry full intravenous equipment for the nurse and everything need for the doctor to carry out intubation and deal with broken bones etc. Sufficient supplies are on board for two or three missions, meaning that re-stocking is not necessary if the crew needs to attend call after call. If they are extremely busy and supplies run low they can request additional stores from the hospital when they land to deliver a patient. At the end of each shift all supplies will be checked and re-stocked if necessary, the floor hosed out

if required and the machine left fully prepared for the next crew. All maintenance less than the 100hr checks is carried out on site, while the machine has major work, 100hr checks and above done at Airgreen’s main base. Working over cities, mountains and valleys; carrying rescue specialists, mechanics and avalanche dogs as crew-members; these are just a few things that define the unique operation that is Airgreen’s HEMS. What they have in common with HEMS operators around the world is their commitment, professionalism, training and dedication. n

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When life is on the line it is often up to experienced helicopter teams such
When life is on the line it is often up to experienced helicopter teams such
When life is on the line it is often up to experienced helicopter teams such

When life is on the line it is often up to experienced helicopter teams such as those of Sonoma County Sheriff’s Helicopter Unit, ‘Henry One’, to reach and assist those in peril, but can we safeguard the saviors?

story by Valerie Cohen photos by sheldon Cohen

to reach and assist those in peril, but can we safeguard the saviors? story by Valerie

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Henry One is the only law enforcement helicopter north of the Golden Gate Bridge to
Henry One is the only law enforcement
helicopter north of the Golden Gate Bridge to
the Oregon border. It’s a vital tool not only to our
agencies in our jurisdiction but to our neighboring
cities and counties.

W hat had started off as an exciting kayaking trip on the Russian River in Sonoma County with

her husband, son and friend soon turned into

a life threatening experience for Vicki Richtman when her kayak was caught in a whirlpool and capsized. After being taken under water, Richtman surfaced only to be forced by the

river’s current into an island of trees and debris and although she struggled to free herself she found the current too strong and her clothes were snagged by branches. By the time rescuers were called, Richtman had been in 50-degree water for about 45 minutes and was using all her strength to hold on to a branch. Richtman remembers hearing her friend’s voice from the shore fading in and out and then hearing a helicopter over head, “I am thinking this was probably my last thirty seconds. I don’t think I had another thirty seconds in me. If he (Sgt. Dave Thompson) hadn’t been there, I would have lost consciousness. I would not have been able to hold that branch anymore and I would have been in the water.” Richtman recalls. Within minutes of receiving the call, ‘Henry One’ was on site and plucked Richtman from the frigid waters by performing a long line rescue. “I saw Sgt. Thompson come down. I remember thinking it was odd for him to be there. I could hear him talking to me, giving instructions, but I couldn’t respond to him in anyway. Sgt. Thompson eventually reached up, grabbed my head, pulled it gently down and put the strap over me as I was nonresponsive, later he had told me my eyes were glazed over. If they had sent down a basket or a strap and expected me to climb in

it or place the strap on myself I couldn’t have

done it. I am really grateful to them, they saved my life.” Richtman said.

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Helicopter Unit receives over 1000 mission requests each year.

They perform multiple missions and provide service to Sonoma County and the region. Sgt. Ed Hoener, head of the Aviation Unit, explains, “Henry One is the only law enforcement helicopter north of the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. It’s a vital tool not only to the agencies in our jurisdiction but to our neighboring cities and counties. We provide coverage and services to a region. The machine is not just a law enforcement helicopter; it is a multi-mission aircraft, everything from looking for homicide suspects, SWAT situations, search and rescue, medical transport, victim evacuation, and fire suppression, the number of missions that ‘Henry One’ flies is impressive.” ‘Henry One’ is a Bell 407 based at the Charles Schultz (Sonoma County Airport) in Santa Rosa, California. It was the first Bell 407 to be certified to fly Night Vision Goggles (NVG) and has been using NVG for over 11 years. This highly maneuverable helicopter is equipped with: L-3 Wescam, Nightsun Search Light System, Wire Strikes, Externally mounted oxygen tank for medical missions, PA speakers, Dual hook system for long line rescue operations, Skid Mounted spot light used during night time rescues, NVG, Moving Map, Rescue Equipment, and Medical Equipment. It has a flight crew that consists of three uniquely trained members; a Tactical Flight Officer (TFO) whom is also a sworn deputy sheriff with EMT training as well as a trained rescue technician, a flight paramedic whom is also a trained rescue technician, and a pilot. Total flight hours for a crew can approximate 16,000 hours. The crew must be able to perform multiple types of missions in difficult terrains and in challenging situations. Although this unit performs varied missions, it is best known for executing long line rescues with precision. TFO, Debbie Little describes, “We train for precision. We do practice runs where the pilot will fly a rescuer at the bottom of the line and place

“We train for precision. We do practice runs where the pilot will fly a rescuer at

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them on a rock that only has room for standing. Precision is important during rescues,

them on a rock that only has room for standing. Precision is important during rescues, especially during cliff rescues, as victims get exhausted more quickly from hanging on and they have no room to move. In many situations we do not have the option to miss a mark or bonce around,

it has to be precise.” The unique technique Sonoma County

Sheriff’s Helicopter Unit uses is referred to as a ‘vertical reference’ long line rescue. Pilot, Paul Bradley explains, “Vertical reference means the pilot uses vertical references in order to fly instead of using the horizon or gages simulating

a horizon. When flying by vertical reference the

pilot is seeing everything below as it happens. The pilot will hang their head outside of the aircraft and look straight down and use vertical references in order to fly the aircraft and place the bottom of the line where it needs to go with precision. Vertical references are a series of hand signals given by the rescuer at the bottom of the line guiding the pilot. When flying with the horizon the pilot depends on another person in the back of the aircraft who is looking down and guiding the pilot with verbal instructions to move left, move right and so on. Our technique is fast, a rescue can take 3 minutes or less to perform and there is always

Henry One has a flight crew that consists three uniquely trained members. A Tactical Flight
Henry One has a flight crew that consists three
uniquely trained members. A Tactical Flight
Officer (TFO) whom is also a sworn deputy sheriff
with EMT training as well as a trained rescue
technician, a flight paramedic whom is also a
trained rescue technician, and a pilot. Total flight
hours for a crew can estimate 16,000 hours.
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a rescuer at the bottom of the line, we will not send an empty line

a rescuer at the bottom of the line, we will not send an empty line to a victim.” The advantages of the vertical reference technique allow ‘Henry One’ to lift more weight and execute a rescue in far less time. Instead of using a cable they use a 100-foot rope that has a tensile strength of 12,000 lbs and, if needed, they will tie two of the 100-foot ropes

together to perform rescues in tall trees. “In some rescues we lift over 400 lbs just the other day we did a rescue that was probably close to 750 lbs between all the equipment and the three people at the end of the line. We did it all in one shot instead of doing multiple back and forth trips, which saved valuable time.” Bradley said. Sonoma County Sheriff’s Helicopter Unit

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It was the first 407 to be certified to fly Night Vision Goggles (NVG) and
It was the first 407 to be certified to fly Night
Vision Goggles (NVG) and has been using them
for over 11 years

started to perform long line rescues in the mid 1980’s but their history goes as far back as the 1960’s. Sgt Ed Wilkinson pioneered the program and performed many life-saving missions using his own helicopter to patrol until it was destroyed in an accident in 1964. Later he flew in a county-owned Bell 47, which was given the name of ‘Angel-1’. In 1977 ‘Angel-1’ crashed while searching for a lost child, killing Sgt. Wilkinson. Following his death, county residents signed a petition demanding the helicopter program continue and in October 1977 the Board of Supervisors showed their continued support for the program. It wasn’t until this past year that the

for the program. It wasn’t until this past year that the economic down turn threatened the
for the program. It wasn’t until this past year that the economic down turn threatened the
for the program. It wasn’t until this past year that the economic down turn threatened the

economic down turn threatened the program. The program went from performing rescues to needing rescue. The ‘Henry One’ unit soon realized they weren’t safe from the chopping block and knew they had to take action fast. They decided to educate the public and Board of Supervisors on the services they provide for their county and the region. “People see us fly along the coast all them time, they know who we are but don’t always know all we do,” TFO Little said, “We enjoy involving ourselves with the public, we perform demos throughout the year. It is meaningful for the public to meet us and see the helicopter up close and get a

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chance to learn what services we provide and often they are surprised that we do

chance to learn what services we provide and often they are surprised that we do so many types of missions.” Bradley and Little also put together a presentation that highlighted facts and details on the types of missions performed and the services they provided, this presentation was given to each member of the Board of Supervisors individually, “We thought giving

a one on one presentation would have more

impact and be more personable than giving it in

a group. I think this presentation was important

and was partially the reason we were saved this time around.” Pilot Bradley said.

History has a way of repeating itself and just like in 1977, the community came to rescue their heroes. It can be difficult for emergency and law enforcement personnel to refer to themselves as heroes, but to the public they serve and the people they save they are indeed just that. Richtman was one of the many people who showed up last year to express their appreciation for ‘Henry One’ and its staff in the attempt to convince Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors to save the program from being cut. The program survived last year, however ‘Henry One’s’ unit realizes the battle is not yet over. They know the program will most likely

It wasn’t until this past year that the dwindling economic down fall threatened the program. The program went from performing rescues to needing rescued. The “Henry One” unit realized they weren’t safe from the chopping block.

70 face difficulty again but they continue to be proactive in determining their fate. They

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70 face difficulty again but they continue to be proactive in determining their fate. They are

face difficulty again but they continue to be proactive in determining their fate. They are currently seeking support from the neighboring counties who use their services and are looking into multiple forms of fundraising, “The hopes of having a traditional budget has to be set aside for now. We are like many other agencies; we are just lucky to be holding on to what we

have. We are trying to be creative and look at alternate methods of providing funding to our unit in the forms of fundraising, for example, establishing an affiliated non-profit organization that allows people to donate and claim it as a tax deduction, however this is in it’s early stages and it is a long process. We are looking into all forms of fundraising and ways to keep

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cost down. We currently sell t-shirts, which by itself is not going to buy us

cost down. We currently sell t-shirts, which by itself is not going to buy us many flight hours, for a program like this the fundraising has to be substantial and successful. The Sheriffs Office has experienced years of support from the public and we feel supported by our Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff’s Office Command Staff. Everybody knows ‘Henry One’ is a vital tool and we are hopeful that our program will survive long enough for the economy to recover.” Sgt. Hoener said.

The unit recently had the opportunity to demo a Bell 429, which in Pilot Bradley words is “a Bell 407 on steroids.” “We recently demoed a Bell 429, it is a very impressive aircraft. A helicopter like that would fit our needs and provide us with multiple decades of service. The 429 has a lot of electronic features and technology upgrades that would allow us to perform probably 50% more missions than we do right now. Due to the limitations of our current helicopter, we are

us to perform probably 50% more missions than we do right now. Due to the limitations

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not able to perform missions in some weather conditions we experience up here on the

not able to perform missions in some weather conditions we experience up here on the northern coast of California, having this new aircraft would allow us to fly on those missions.” Sgt Hoener said. Pilot Bradley added, “The Bell 407 is an awesome aircraft, but the Bell 429 is a twin engine aircraft which would increase our capabilities and increase our safety margin with the type of missions we perform.” The ‘Henry One’ program is not the only air support unit to feel the burden from the economic down turn; unfortunately, many programs have been scaled back or cut all together. These vital programs are not safe and have to make changes in order to survive. Survival techniques like reaching out to the

community for support, building positive relationships and even educating those who

have a say in the fate of the program is required. Programs like ‘Henry One’ have no choice but to be seen and heard; laying low will not keep them off the radar. The quality of life in communities all around depends on these programs. It is like Richtman stated, “It’s not about me, I am

a mother and a trainer, my children and clients

depend on me for quality of life, I help people

get back their strength. If I had not been rescued that day I would have been lost and all those people who depend on me would have had

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Fairfax County Police Department recently became the world’s first law-enforcement operator to put the new
Fairfax County Police Department recently became the world’s first law-enforcement operator to put the new
Fairfax County Police Department recently became the world’s first law-enforcement operator to put the new

Fairfax County Police Department recently became the world’s first law-enforcement operator to put the new bell 429 into active service, replacing their two aged but trustworthy 407s to supply both law enforcement and EMs functions.

story & Photos by ned dawson

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80 W ith only a handful of Bell’s newest light twin offering in service globally,

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80 W ith only a handful of Bell’s newest light twin offering in service globally, Fairfax

W ith only a handful of Bell’s newest light twin offering in service globally, Fairfax County PD’s

decision to buy two 429s marks a major step forward in the market for the type. It also marks a major step forward for the department and represents somewhat of a ‘leap of faith’ by going to a much larger type with no proven track record in this type of service.

Fairfax County, Virginia is not particularly large – only about 400 square miles – but is densely populated by about 1.1 million residents and is a very affluent community. It sits alongside the Potomac River and is bordered by Washington DC. Since 1987 the county Police Department has operated a full-time law enforcement and EMS operation, in partnership with Fairfax hospital and initially operating a pair

of Bell 206s, before progressing to LongRangers and then 407s. The unit requires genuine multi-

of Bell 206s, before progressing to LongRangers and then 407s. The unit requires genuine multi- mission capability as it supports Fairfax’s patrol officers, special operations division and SWAT team, plus providing aero-medical support and EMS. It operates in Fairfax County and occasionally elsewhere through mutual aid requests with other jurisdictions, either for law enforcement or EMS operations. Around 90% of

its work is law enforcement with the remaining 10% being EMS and medevac. On occasions it has provided long-line over-water rescue services but these instances have been very rare, maybe once every five years. So why did they choose to replace the 407s? Unit Commander Lt. Andy Hill explained that the aircraft, while having performed an outstanding job for the unit, were getting old and had

Andy Hill explained that the aircraft, while having performed an outstanding job for the unit, were

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Fairfax County, Virginia is not particularly large – only about 400 square miles – but
Fairfax County, Virginia is not particularly large
– only about 400 square miles – but is densely
populated by about 1.1 million residents and is
a very affluent community.

reached their maximum potential. Departmental budgeting sets aside a certain amount of funding every year for vehicle (helicopter) replacement so funding wasn’t a major issue, particularly as the 407s had been in service for 15 years, despite a scheduled 8-yearly replacement cycle. Lt. Hill explained the delayed replacement, “Obviously it went past that 8-year replacement cycle. There were a lot of upgrades – good upgrades – that were done to the 407 that were able to keep them in service longer. It was at a point, though, where we were well outside the replacement cycle for both of those aircraft, almost double their intended service life.” The decision to upgrade to a light twin was not made lightly, as Hill elaborated, “We looked at a wide variety of aircraft. We felt that light twin-engine rotorcraft in general had gone through a significant evolution, so we as a division had been keeping an eye on this for several years. We had the finances ready in our replacement fund and with the fact that there was a significant evolution under the part 27

rules for light twin engine requirements, we felt those aircraft had gone through their ‘growing pains’ and that the time was right to go into that category. EMS rules and regulations in the state of Virginia are evolving as well, making it more difficult for us to be a combined law enforcement/EMS operator in the 407. Then there are the safety considerations of having a light twin that can sustain flight on one engine, offering fully redundant systems outside the transmission. It gives us the option of carrying multiple SWAT and tactical operators, being able to do an emergency water rescue without having to substantially reconfigure the aircraft or carry multiple patients in the national capital region. We’ve had catastrophic events like 9/11 and having the ability to airlift multiple patients in a mass casualty event is an important operational capability.” Being such an early adopter of the 429, the FCPD has purchased an A-model of a new type but Lt. Hill stresses the research and due diligence that the department carried

has purchased an A-model of a new type but Lt. Hill stresses the research and due

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out, outlining the process that was followed pilots but with pilots and paramedics from before

out,

outlining the process that was followed

pilots but with pilots and paramedics from

before the decision was finalized. “Yes, there

other jurisdictions to help us carry out an

are

challenges with being first, “ he admitted

educated and comprehensive assessment of

“but there are also rewards. We put out an open source RFP for the business. We had

all those aircraft.” The department’s mission profile predicated

MD

respond with their 902 and American

a wide variety of considerations. They looked

Eurocopter with the EC135. We initially had Augusta with the Grand New, which was in the

at customer support, crew comfort, visibility, the ability to offload and load patients, to carry

developmental stages at that time, but the fact

crewmembers in their three-person configuration

the

machine wasn’t certified or available for

and center of gravity limitations and challenges.

test

flying took it off our list early on.” He also

FCPD aircraft spend a lot of time in slow

commented that the EC145 was not included as

airspeed orbits, so the ability for pilots to control

the

amount of money available precluded it as a

an aircraft with ease in the orbit was important.

competitor. “We did real-time flight testing and performance measures, not only with our own

The aircraft’s actual power and its ability to perform under strenuous conditions, such as

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not only with our own The aircraft’s actual power and its ability to perform under strenuous

eurosafety

eurosafety The Industry’s Most Comprehensive Airframe Training www.eurosafety.us training@eurosafety.us 87

The Industry’s Most Comprehensive Airframe Training

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training@eurosafety.us

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maximum performance take offs and landings; all were carefully measured or assessed. While it was

maximum performance take offs and landings; all were carefully measured or assessed. While it was not a requirement within the RFP for the new helicopter to be Cat-A performance certified, it was listed as a preference. And how did the three aircraft compare? Hill is quite clear that the 429 came out well ahead of the other competitors but it is not without its flaws. While the rear passenger and load space is vast compared to the 407, the front seats are a little more confined, mainly due to the amount of extra equipment and larger panel. One of the unit’s tactical flying officers (TFO) commented on the difficulty encountered in accessing his seat, “ one of the things on

the 429 that I don’t like is that in order to get into the left front seat of that aircraft you have to hold onto that leather handhold strap and pretty much pull yourself up. When I’m climbing in, every ounce of my weight is on that leather strap!” 22yr unit veteran Paul Schaaf has been Chief Pilot for 16 years and he observed that the pilot’s visibility is not as good, particularly through the chin bubble, while the MD902 offered phenomenal low forward visibility. These are minor issues though, when viewed against the 429’s outstanding performance in the crucial areas that the unit was most interested in. Schaaf insists they went into the project totally open-minded, in fact he believes

OEI was a real trick, we had the aircraft loaded to maximum gross weight and had the manufacturers demonstrate a land-back and a fly-away. There was a really, really big performance difference between the three aircraft and the 429 stood head and shoulders above the others in that demonstration.”

90 if anything they were pre-disposed towards the 902 after a demonstration by MD in

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90 if anything they were pre-disposed towards the 902 after a demonstration by MD in 1999.

if anything they were pre-disposed towards the 902 after a demonstration by MD in 1999. He told HeliOps about the testing program, “We first evaluated the technical proposals from the 3 different manufactures. Then we developed a fight test regime. We had one of our pilots and a pilot for Maryland State Police come in to do the flight evaluation. Each of them went through a set of maneuvers and

we had them brief us independently, without talking to each other. It sounds cheesy, but they both came back grinning from ear to ear after flying the 429. They both had exactly the same things to say about it. It’s fast, it’s smooth and it’s powerful. OEI was a real trick, we had the aircraft loaded to maximum gross weight and had the manufacturers demonstrate a land-back and a fly-away. There

John Friedrichs Director, Quality Control

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92 was a really, really big performance difference between the three aircraft and the 429

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92 was a really, really big performance difference between the three aircraft and the 429 stood

was a really, really big performance difference between the three aircraft and the 429 stood head and shoulders above the others in that demonstration.” The 429 proved to be 20kts faster than the competitors and much smoother and more stable when the stability system was disengaged. He also praised its smoothness and stability in the 40kt left hand orbit, a

flight regime where the aircraft will spend approximately half their flying life. Not only is Schaaf enthusiastic about the new machine, he is highly complimentary of the manufacturer as a company to deal with. He pointed out that the FCPD already had a 25yr history with Bell and had found them to be outstanding in their level of customer support. He described their

local Bell rep’ as ‘fantastic’ and his comments were echoed by Lt. Hill who listed

local Bell rep’ as ‘fantastic’ and his comments were echoed by Lt. Hill who listed customer support as a key factor in the decision-making process. It is even more crucial, as the new aircraft have been purchased with an intended 20yr replacement cycle, up from the previous 8-yr schedule. As a rapid response pilot, Schaaf really likes the new machine’s ergonomics and

the fact that he can get it started and airborne very quickly. “I’m still new on it but I feel very comfortable with the systems. I think I’m going to be able to get under 2 minutes from the time I flip the battery switch on to when I’m pulling pitch.” It’s clear that he is enamored of the 429’s performance and flying qualities, “The power is really amazing. At maximum gross weight we’re

of the 429’s performance and flying qualities, “The power is really amazing. At maximum gross weight

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hovering at 68% torque. At maximum gross weight in the 407 we were hovering at

hovering at 68% torque. At maximum gross weight in the 407 we were hovering at 82% torque, it is such a luxury. The tail rotor has so much authority. It’s just robust!” When it came to price of the three, the 429 came in right in the middle. The EC135 was around a $500,000 cheaper per aircraft, while the MD902 was the same amount more expensive. Luckily then, having available pre- allocated funds meant that cost was not the over-riding factor in the decision. When the helicopter unit began operations their base was effectively in a rural area. As civilization has encroached on the area there has been an inevitable pressure building to reduce the noise and safety issues related to flying in close proximity to built-up areas. As

Schaaf said, “We moved into this facility in 1985 when it was all cow pasture round here; now its all apartment complexes, a big church & Cosco, you know the sort of thing. Now that we’ve got the added safety of twin engines and the vastly improved quietness, as far as I am concerned the 429 has preserved the life of our facility.” As with the introduction of any new type, there will be a period of training and familiarization before the full potential of the new asset can be realized, but already the crews are enjoying the advantages the 429 offers. Unusually for law enforcement ops, Fairfax machines fly with a pilot and two TFOs on all missions. This is due to the multi-mission capability requirement of EMS operations. As one of the TFOs explained, “The way that we

The power is really amazing. At maximum gross weight we’re hovering at 68% torque. At
The power is really amazing. At maximum
gross weight we’re hovering at 68% torque. At
maximum gross weight in the 407 we were
hovering at 82% torque, it is such a luxury. The tail
rotor has so much authority. It’s just robust!”
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function, we have the real luxury of having a 3-man crew and that’s necessitated by

function, we have the real luxury of having a 3-man crew and that’s necessitated by the fact we do medevacs, we have to have the 2 TFOs that are medics. But what that allows us to do is divide up the tasks that the TFOs are responsible for. The way we operate is that the person in the aft cabin is primarily the camera operator on a police mission and their sole function is to manipulate the camera and really search for the hotspot. And the TFO in the front is more of what we call a mission coordinator, assisting the pilot, making sure that we stay within the area of the incident, coordinating with ground troops, mission planning and stuff.” All the TFOs are fully trained paramedics and normal crewing levels are therefore sufficient for any EMS call as well. The paramedic training takes a full year away from police work so applicants have to be keen to become a TFO, although Fairfax PD pays for the training. In contrast to the 407s, the new machines are fitted with dual controls and all flying personnel will be trained to a basic level, giving a much- increased level of safety in the event of an unexpected incapacitation of the pilot. Bird- strikes, for example, are not an uncommon occurrence. The second (rear) TFO now has a

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comfortable, movable, rotatable Martin Baker seat in a very large space that enables him or

comfortable, movable, rotatable Martin Baker seat in a very large space that enables him or her to carry out their tasks much more easily. Paul, a TFO commented, “That seats awesome! Very smooth operation, spins 360 degrees without any restrictions, very comfortable to sit in, more so than the 407 or the stock seats in the 429.” The seat is one of the modifications installed by Paradigm Aerospace Corporation (PAC), contractors for the completion of the

aircraft and familiar to the unit after carrying out

a completion on the previous 407s. Mark Smith,

Operations Director told HeliOps, “Basically, this completion means we’re a bit more one on one with PAC. One of the challenges was because we are a multi mission aircraft – we are not just

a medevac aircraft – we do carry extra weight.

Medical interiors are very heavy and PAC was able to come up with the fantastic solutions we needed. For example, the oxygen containers are carbon fiber and all the lines have gone from

metal to plastic. That’s a first and it’s all FAA- approved. The interior is a collaborated design between Fairfax and PAC, while the floor-pan’s

a rubber composite unit that was templated and

custom-made by Lifeport.” There is an impressive list of technology in the 429s. They are equipped with a Wescam MX-10 camera, giving high definition daylight camera and cutting edge FLIR capability. So

clear is the imagery from the Wescam that the TFOs can now even read logos and nameplates on people’s clothing. Data – including real- time camera imagery – from the aircraft can also be downlinked to the ground, making it a valuable surveillance and command-control asset. Mapping is provided by Aero Computers and a late model Tracker is installed. Comm’s include a Technisonic TDFM-7000 with four specialized radio modules and a Technisonic TFM-550 UHF-VHF high/low band in the rear stack. The front boasts two aviation radios, plus Garmin 530 and 430 GPS units, TCAS and HTAWS are included and multiple large high-definition monitors display the mapping and camera outputs simultaneously. This is a major improvement on the 407s, which required the TFO to switch between display choices. The map display is programmed with the tax map database so it will identify an address and house owner when the camera is pointed at a given location which is a major assistance when directing ground based officers during onscene operations. The direction of the FLIR is also indicated by symbology on the mapping display. Maintenance is requiring a total revision in old methods and practices too. Typical within the industry nowadays, Bell is pushing for all information to be accessed online. This means paper maintenance manuals no longer exist, a

102 good thing for accuracy and efficiency because updates are virtually instant and automatic. A

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102 good thing for accuracy and efficiency because updates are virtually instant and automatic. A vast

good thing for accuracy and efficiency because updates are virtually instant and automatic.

A vast amount of equipment on the 429 is

computer monitored and mapped, with every aircraft being allocated its own iPad. Even the radios are mappable by plug-in control.

On the medical side of things, the 429 is capable of carrying two stretcher-borne patients at one time. Next to their Ferno stretcher a center cabinet in the cabin area contains IV solutions, controlled narcotics and cardiac drugs, along with needles and syringes for their administration. State regulations require the cabinet remains locked when not in use, otherwise the TFOs would carry those things

in a transportable bag, like most other HEMS

operators. The first-of-type carbon fiber oxygen system is connected to an Autovent 3000, which is due to be replaced by the more versatile Newport ventilator that also gives the ability to transport two ventilated patients. It will also allow more medical patient inter-facility transfers. There is a Zoll Propaq cardiac monitor that includes cardiac monitor, defibrillation, pacing capabilities, automatic blood pressure, pulse oximetry and CO2 capnography

monitoring. The fit-out effectively matches the equipment level of any advanced life-support medical unit on the ground. Many changes could occur in the way the unit operates and utilizes their new machines; both Hill and Schaaf for example mentioned its IFR capabilities as being of interest for the future. Lt Hill mentioned that there had been instances in the past of pilots inadvertently entering IMC, which will come as no surprise to anyone who has worked in HEMS or helicopter law enforcement. Tactical options also increase dramatically with the increase in performance, payload and space. One of the least obvious but most important advantages of the change to the 429 is that the Fairfax helicopter unit had effectively maximized all the capabilities of the old 407s. As time went by it was inevitable that the old airframes would have become less and less effective at their multiple roles. With the Bell 429 however, Fairfax have a platform that is at the very beginning of its model life and development. They are using little of the machine’s massive capabilities and have effectively future-proofed their helicopter assets for many years into the future. n

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A unique powerline construction project When a US utility company embarked on a major powerline
A unique powerline construction project When a US utility company embarked on a major powerline
A unique powerline construction project When a US utility company embarked on a major powerline

A unique powerline construction project

When a US utility company embarked on a major powerline construction project requiring helicopter support, no one involved realized the scale of the challenges they would face or the depth and complexity of the aviation resource they would need to assemble.

story by Leigh NeiL Photos by Ned dawsoN

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S maller than many competitors, san diego Gas & electricity (sdG&e) is building the sunrise

S maller than many competitors, san diego Gas & electricity (sdG&e) is building the sunrise Powerlink, an 500kV electric

transmission line that connects san diego to imperial county. the project will be only the second 500kV line in the area, and will enhance electric grid reliability and tap the vast renewable energy potential of the region. sdG&e has been mandated to obtain 33% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2020 so extra access to the east, where solar and wind power projects are more plentiful, was also a major factor in the decision to build this particular line. approximately 60 and 70 percent of the project’s 438 towers are expected to be constructed using helicopters, which is a monumental undertaking in every sense of the word. this translates into sdG&e using 15-25 helicopters on the project every day, for a variety of jobs, including transporting equipment and personnel to setting tower segments in remote sections of the project. the route for the new line runs from imperial Valley substation in the east, 117 miles westward across terrain including mountains, forests, towns and farmland to terminate at scripps ranch in sycamore canyon near san diego. the

route climbs from low desert country to a peak of 6,200ft in the mountains and covers a wide variety of land types, including 19 miles across the cleveland national Forest, private property and the town of alpine. a variety of land management agencies have been involved in the approval and permitting process for the line, including the california Public utilities commission, the u.s. Forest service, the u.s. bureau of Land Management, the Faa, u.s. customs & border control, california Fish & Game, the us Fish & wildlife service. the exhaustive and thorough environmental review for the project resulted in an impact study of 11,000 pages, the longest document of its kind in californian history for a project of this type. the us $1.883 billion project has been a long time in coming to fruition, first being proposed some eight years ago. Finally, with the first major

has been a long time in coming to fruition, first being proposed some eight years ago.

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approvals granted by california Public utilities commission in december 2008, the bLM in January 2009

approvals granted by california Public utilities commission in december 2008, the bLM in January 2009 and the u.s. Forest service in July 2010, the ‘sunrise’ project received a “green light” for construction. the company has had to buy a number of land parcels to permit access to certain portions of the route and has increased the number of towers built using helicopter in order to reduce the need for building access roads and thus preserve the environment. due to the terrain concerned, distance between pylons – typically 180’ high – on the route varies, usually between ¾ to ½ a mile, with one span being a mile

across, which is the longest in the company’s history. spans of wire are fitted with aerial warning marker- balls and agencies such as the Faa, border control and customs were consulted prior to construction. these agencies have been very helpful and pro-active in providing advice on the best way of ensuring the new line is as aircraft safe as possible once completed. aircraft safety of the line is important as it is near Miramar naval air station in the west, while in the east and near Mexico there is intensive air activity from customs and border patrol. at one point, the project passes through the town of alpine and for 6.2 miles

The company has had to buy a number of land parcels to permit access to certain portions of the route and has increased the number of towers built using helicopter in order to reduce the need for building access roads and thus preserve the environment.

Approximately 60 and 70 percent of the project’s 438 towers are expected to be constructed using helicopters, which is a monumental undertaking in every sense of the word.

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compartment www.robinsonheli.com • 310-539-0508 112 under the town the new line has been installed underground.

under the town the new line has been installed underground. so what makes the aviation aspects of this project unique? everyone knows that helicopters can eliminate bulldozer- type construction sites, enhance efficiency and lower project costs, but preservation of wildlife and native american heritage sites have had a huge impact. “we are working with environmental agencies and cultural resource monitors,” said Mike Manry, aviation manager for the project. “we have a varity of agency monitors out there on the project every single day in various locations and they make sure all the species and the habitat is being taken care of. we even have cultural resource monitors who have discovered several different sites where they came across native american artifacts.” Golden eagles and bighorn sheep live in areas along the pylon route so the environmental mitigation restrictions include requirements

and bighorn sheep live in areas along the pylon route so the environmental mitigation restrictions include
to entirely avoid nesting areas and lambing areas for these two species. 4000ft buffers were

to entirely avoid nesting areas and lambing areas for these two species. 4000ft buffers were established around known eagle nests and towers in four locations required completion and stringing before december 15 in order to avoid impacting on nesting birds. a one-week variance was eventually granted when delays loomed, but that timeframe was met and the area left for the eagles. the bighorn sheep posed similar problems for the construction

effort. Mike Manry recalled, “the lambing season began on January 1st, meaning we had to finish our work in there by december 31st, failure to complete on time could have meant at least a nine-month delay before they could return, guaranteeing that they would fail to meet their targeted in-service date in mid 2012. the construction team worked round the clock and finished all work in these areas by the required deadlines.

mid 2012. the construction team worked round the clock and finished all work in these areas

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counting resource monitors, riggers and construction personnel, and management staff; anywhere from 100 people and

counting resource monitors, riggers and construction personnel, and management staff; anywhere from 100 people and sometimes more needed to be transported by helicopter to their

respective work sites every day. after transporting personnel, construction was also carried out by helicopters, including long-line machines for stringing the overhead cables or

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Golden eagles and bighorn sheep live in areas along the pylon route so the environmental mitigation restrictions include requirements to entirely avoid nesting areas and lambing areas for these two species.

heavy-lift aircrane helicopters used to transport and place the massive tower sections in place. once the workload is considered, 25 aircraft doesn’t seem an excessive number for the scale of the task at hand. the helicopters used include typically two erickson aircranes – one of which was purchased by sGd&e for this project – several k-Maxes, a number of smaller long-line lifters and a plethora of type 3 light transport helicopters. the machines can be spread over the length of the line’s

route as work is being carried out at many sites simultaneously; plus, of course, there are their pilots, loads and passengers to consider! it has certainly been a steep learning curve for Manry and the project’s helicopter teams. considering that the project uses more helicopters than the us forest service contracts annually to cover the entire us, that’s no mean feat. the aviation operation is effectively split into three distinct sectors. Par is the construction contractor, managing their sub-contractors and

effectively split into three distinct sectors. Par is the construction contractor, managing their sub-contractors and 117

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eight companies flying lifting helos. on the day HeliOps spoke to Manry, Par was flying
eight companies flying lifting helos. on the day HeliOps spoke to Manry, Par was flying

eight companies flying lifting helos. on the day HeliOps spoke to Manry, Par was flying 17 machines. sdG&e’s project helicopter group manage five contractors including the heavy s-64’s and the type-3 machines. Flying commenced last January and by november 2011 sunrise had already hit the 4,000hr mark. although ground- breaking for sunrise was on december 9 2010, a substantial amount of flying had been carried out prior to that, on substation upgrades and survey work. From the outset the project has focused on avoiding risk and enhancing safety. all sunrise pilots are required to be highly skilled and experienced in the particular tasks they are engaged in. despite having vast experience in other helicopter aerial work fields, many pilots have been turned down due to the lack of that specific skill-set. that has created its own challenge as some tasks can only draw on a very limited pool of experienced aviators. Pulling sock-line, for example, is a skill in which there are a small handful that can really do the job. with aircraft, passengers, schedules and material needing to be readied or notified each night for the following day’s flying, imagine the difficulties that arise when, for example, a bighorn sheep monitor observes some sheep wandering into an operational area late one evening. suddenly the area becomes a no-fly zone and

observes some sheep wandering into an operational area late one evening. suddenly the area becomes a

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122 with no tolerance for breaches of the environmental protocols, it is imperative that every

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122 with no tolerance for breaches of the environmental protocols, it is imperative that every single

with no tolerance for breaches of the environmental protocols, it is imperative that every single pilot, worker and passenger affected be notified of a new schedule for the following day. everyone working on the project understands the challenges, however, and is available to be contacted at all hours. Manry puts the effort involved into perspective, “we get a construction schedule, some time between 5 and 9 pm, from

a construction-planning group that’s gathering information about what’s been accomplished today and also what’s possible for tomorrow and where people are going to go.

we have to make sure the site status

is appropriate and approved. so

those changes impact from an aviation standpoint; where you send people, when you get hold of them, where the assets go. we have some very dedicated people and we make

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Every helicopter is fitted with a Garmin 696 portable GPS and a mandatory part of every pilot’s duties is to download the current and updated co-ordinates every day. The GPS map is constantly updated with any restrictions due to wildlife issues and other no-fly areas so it is crucial that the information is used.

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phone calls at all hours of the evening or night.” one of the many fly/construction yards that have been set up to service the construction of the transmission line is rough acres, roughly half way along the sunrise route, where 5 acres have been dedicated and turned into a helibase of sorts. sdG&e put down rock to help manage dust and reduce the need for water trucks. additionally duramats have been utilized to create landing pads. this area provides helicopter owners with somewhere to go back to during the day or conduct light maintenance. there is a construction headquarters

facility in alpine, but the next most important facility is rough acres, which includes bungalows for people to stay, office facilities and a runway. in the 1960s the location was the san diego chargers’ training facility and it now incorporates parking for three type 1s, four mediums and eight type 3 light helicopters. the aircranes run three full time tankers while other operators provide their own fueling and repair equipment. it’s the technology that’s been put in place that is a major part of what’s special about this project. Manry explained in detail one of the more innovative and successful aspects of

of what’s special about this project. Manry explained in detail one of the more innovative and
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his co-ordination efforts. “sunrise base is located at the project’s headquarter facility in alpine. it’s

his co-ordination efforts. “sunrise base is located at the project’s headquarter facility in alpine. it’s a central location developed to monitor both ground personnel and air assets. it’s there to ensure the safety of all those working on the project right of way. the unique thing about sunrise base is the innovative integration of technologies that create a “system” that works. specifically, the use of GPs tracking

equipment integrated with a version of Google earth, two 50” tV monitors and a variety of home grown data bases enable monitoring for all locations and movement of project assets in near-real time. so people working in the field know that there is always someone there in case they need help. sometimes help means an air taxi or it could mean support for emergencies. that communication package has

Sun Bird has also given SDG&E a great chance to help the community. The Aircrane is available on call for duty as a fire- fighting asset for the area.

combined with the tracking system to serve us well for dealing with potential risks and

combined with the tracking system to serve us well for dealing with potential risks and keeping pilots safe.” every helicopter is fitted with

a Garmin 696 portable GPs and

a mandatory part of every pilot’s duties is to download the current and updated co-ordinates every day. the GPs map is constantly updated with any restrictions due to wildlife issues and other no-fly areas. apart from the eagles, sunrise has around 35 other species of birds that nest in areas along the route so it’s no small task keeping the maps accurate and

complete. the GPs allows pilots to send us their Garmin flightpath data every night. it is extremely useful to be able to go over the Garmin and the

tracplus data for a specific day and be able to tell approximately where every machine was at any given time, and at what altitude. thanks to the project, sdG&e is now the owner of its own aircrane, an

F model that was purchased outright

after extensive costing comparisons convinced the company that it was

a better option than leasing or hiring

heavy-lift services. and they mean very

Thanks to the project, SDG&E is now the owner of its own Aircrane, an F model that was purchased outright after extensive costing comparisons convinced the company that it was a better option than leasing or hiring heavy-lift services.

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132 heavy lift! the F model was chosen over the e due to its lifting
132 heavy lift! the F model was chosen over the e due to its lifting

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132 heavy lift! the F model was chosen over the e due to its lifting advantage

heavy lift! the F model was chosen over the e due to its lifting advantage of some 5,000lbs. she was unveiled to the public on august 19, 2010 and erickson provides a project manager, pilots and engineers for the sdG&e

aircrane, named the sun bird. the sun bird has already been lifting tower sections up to around 19,500lbs and has also helped local fire departments fight brush fires upon request. Ground services and support for the air crane is

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There is simply no room or allowance for breaches of the environmental protocols.
There is simply no
room or allowance
for breaches of the
environmental protocols.

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allowance for breaches of the environmental protocols. 134 provided by corporate Helicopters. sun bird has also

provided by corporate Helicopters. sun bird has also given sdG&e a great chance to help the community. the aircrane is available on call for duty as a fire-fighting asset for the area. as erickson doesn’t cover this locale it makes her the only aircrane readily available and the largest capacity helo in the region. she goes almost everywhere accompanied by a 2,000gal bambi bucket but has a full fire tank set-up that can be installed at short notice. Manry elaborated, “that can be done in an hour, but the fire agency really prefers the tank. even at times where we’re not lifting for several days and it looks like it could be warm weather we will tank it anyway. we want to be a good community partner.” in partnership with the city and county, sdG&e have established a $us300,000 operating budget for the firefighting season. sdG&e and the county can

share in the cost of the first four hours flying for fire call-out. now that the overall construction on the project is more than 70 percent complete and more than 235 towers have been set, Manry looks back at all the work and credits one thing above all other factors for the project’s success, “it’s the caliber of people working on this project. there have been days where we have worked around the clock, have even slept in the hanger and haven’t gone home for a few days. even with all the hard work, we never forgot to have a “can do” attitude and that is what has seen us through to this point. i’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and this will leave a positive legacy for a really long time. i’m really excited to be on this project, which will bring renewable energy and other benefits to the community for generations to come.” n

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