Event review: HAI HELI-EXPO 2023
The world’s largest helicopter trade show returns this year, AirMed&Rescue reports on some of the latest and most compelling advances and announcements
Bluedrop Training and Simulation display their portable Hoist Mission Training System (HMTS)
The HMTS is a virtual training system for mission specific external load hoisting operations. It allows advance proficiency and readiness in crew-centric mission-relevant contexts that cannot be trained outside of live training. The HMTS provides crews with the ability to practice mission critical skills in a safe and true-to-life environment. Trainees practice realistic rescue and hoisting operations in challenging scenarios complete with realistic cable behavior that responds to flight dynamics and operator inputs. Bluedrop’s HMTS system was demonstrably portable, allowing the fully immersive virtual environment to be set up and relocated with ease.
Columbia Helicopters and Coulson Aviation to partner in offering RADS-L Delivery System for Model 234 helicopter operators
Columbia Helicopters announced a new partnership with Coulson Aviation, a world leader in aerial firefighting technology, to offer Coulson's RADS-L Delivery System for operators of Columbia's Model 234 helicopters.
The RADS-L is a large-capacity, high-flow firefighting tank that can hold up to 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant. Originally designed for the C-130, this technology has been adapted to the Model 234. Through their collaboration, Columbia and Coulson are offering the RADS-L for Model 234 operators, providing them with a powerful new firefighting tool that can help them respond to wildfires and other emergencies more effectively.
Rob Roedts, Columbia’s Vice President of Aircraft Solutions said: “As the OEM of the Model 234, we are always looking for ways to offer more options and capabilities to our customers, and the RADS-L is an innovative and effective firefighting tool that could help save lives and protect property.”
Eagle Copters announces the completion and delivery of their 16th Eagle Single
The Eagle Single delivery ceremony took place on 8 March 2023 at HAI HELI-EXPO. Tristan Beddoe, VP of Sales and Marketing at Eagle Copters, spoke about what makes the Eagle Single a helicopter of choice around the world followed by the acceptance of the aircraft by Nic Sacco, CEO of Savage Aviation.
Savage Aviation is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, and offers exclusive and bespoke experiences including skydiving and unique flight opportunities in one-of-a-kind aircraft like their newly-acquired custom Eagle Single.
The Eagle Single uses the commercial category 212 airframe and is designed to be the helicopter of choice in the medium lift helicopter market. It is an all-commercial helicopter and not subject to the restricted category, which ensures lasting value, product support, part commonality, aftermarket accessories and unmatched performance. The Eagle Single is suited to a variety of mission types including (but not limited to) firefighting, utility work, forestry, and search and rescue. The Eagle Single is certified in Canada, USA, Australia, Chile, Peru, Indonesia, and Japan.
Entrol launches the H1000, its first AATD helicopter simulator based on the Bell 505
On display was the H1000 AATD simulator, featuring a glass cockpit based on the Bell 505, including its console, systems, procedures and flight controls. It is also equipped with an Entrol G1000 replica that is able to reproduce normal, abnormal and emergency operating procedures that can be accomplished at the appropriate AATD scope.
With different customization options, the H1000 features pilot’s flight controls, fiberglass resistant cockpit, a compact instructor station and Entrol 3TV immersive visual system.
The Bell 505 helicopter is known for its flexibility and versatility to perform in a wide variety of situations, such as initial helicopter training, external load missions, charter flights or tourism, which reflects how agile and adaptable the helicopter can be.
“With the release of this new device, we want to increase the offer of high-quality helicopter AATD simulators in the North American market. We believe the H1000 will be an indispensable training tool for helicopter academies in the near future,” states Nacho Navacerrada, sales director of Entrol.
With this new simulator, Entrol keeps growing its helicopter portfolio of 15 helicopters, including H145, AW139, K-Max and AW109.
European Rotors to expand from three days to four
The first two editions took place in Cologne, Germany, over three days, but this year’s is in Madrid, Spain, from 27−30 November. Dr Frank Liemandt, Show Director for European Rotors, held a press conference during HAI HELI-EXPO where he discussed the changes coming to the European show.
European Rotors is organized by the European Helicopter Association (EHA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The 2023 event is hosted by the Spanish Helicopter Association (ATAIRE) and produced by Helicopter Association International (HAI).
The extra day of the show, on 27 November, will focus on safety by organizing the EASA Rotorcraft and VTOL Symposium as a stand-alone event. It remains the flagship of the European Rotors conference program, presenting the latest rotorcraft and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) developments.
David Solar, Head of the General Aviation and VTOL Department for EASA, said: “EASA’s primary focus is safe flight throughout the European Union.
“This event allows us to work directly with the manufacturers, suppliers, operators and individuals in this industry. We use this show to collaborate with everyone on developing the latest and smartest safety programmes.”
GPMS and Columbia sign MOU for Foresight MX STC on Columbia Model 234 and CH-47
Columbia Helicopters and GPMS entered into a memorandum of understanding to develop a STC for the Columbia Model 234 Multi-Mission Chinook and the CH-47 helicopter to operate the GPMS Foresight MX predictive HUMS, including the shipset and related services.
GPMS’s Foresight MX allows helicopter operators to remotely monitor fleet health on one user-friendly dashboard. Foresight’s smart sensors uncover when critical components are starting to wear, and prognostic algorithms display when maintenance may be required. In addition to mechanical and engine health monitoring, GPMS’s advanced HUMS tracks flight data, exceedances, and guides rotor track and balance, giving maintainers the power to understand, predict, and perform.
“HUMS technology brings an important level of safety and cost-effectiveness to helicopter operations,” said Rob Roedts, Columbia’s Vice President of Aircraft Solutions.
Loft Dynamics showcases its simulator and avionics
The Loft Dynamics team developed the Airbus H125 glass cockpit based on the Garmin G500H TXi and the GTN650Xi avionics. The touch screens are fully functional and the devices portray their original functionality. In addition, there is a virtual tablet for reading checklists and using navigation charts. This enables training towards instrument rating, including performance-based navigation.
They also adding the functionality of the Airbus H125 dual hydraulic system to all existing and new H125 training devices. Further, Airbus Helicopters and Loft Dynamics are co-developing an Airbus H145 virtual reality training device. The helicopter is a twin-engine multi-purpose rotorcraft tailored for emergency medical services and law enforcement duties, along with aerial work, passenger transport, including private and business aviation, and offshore operations.
Loft Dynamics training devices accurately represent the flight behavior of aircraft. Furthermore, the cockpit controls are intuitively realistic, allowing new training methods such as basic maneuvers like hovering, attitude flying, entire traffic patterns and autorotations.
Pratt & Whitney Canada celebrates one billion flying hours and 60 years of PT6 innovation
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has achieved one billion flying hours since the formation of the company nearly 100 years ago, in 1928. P&WC engines power missions across a diverse portfolio – including business aviation, general aviation, regional aviation, helicopter aviation and auxiliary power units. Over this time, more than 110,000 engines have been produced, with over 66,000 currently in service powering our 16,000+ customers.
“Aviation has the power to change the world. Our engines power aircraft that benefit millions of people every day,” said Maria Della Posta, President, P&WC. “Every second, a P&WC-powered aircraft takes off or lands somewhere on the planet, whether they’re driving commerce, reuniting families, or powering humanitarian missions, emergency medical services, or search and rescue missions. Achieving one billion flying hours is made possible by the dedicated team at P&WC along with our customers, suppliers and the extended P&WC community. We look forward to celebrating this achievement with them this year,” she said.
The PT6 engine family – prevalent and versatile in aviation – is celebrating 60 years of excellence and innovation. It has been embraced by fixed-wing and helicopter airframers around the world. With more than 64,000 PT6 engines produced since its introduction in 1963, it powers over 155 different aviation applications. The PT6 is unmatched in engine performance, reliability and dispatch availability, having reached 500 million flying hours.
“Our PT6 engine remains at the forefront of the aviation landscape, bringing breakthrough achievements in performance, control systems and data intelligence,” added Della Posta. “Today's PT6 is up to four times more powerful, has a 50 percent better power-to-weight ratio and up to 20 per cent better specific fuel consumption compared to the original engine. Each new model is developed and designed with a specific mission, platform and customer in mind, while pursuing a reduced environmental footprint,” she concluded.
Spectrum Aeromed showcases its expanded Liquid Oxygen (LOX) options
Spectrum Aeromed’s LOX options certified in the Bell 429, AW 109/119 and King Air 350 air ambulances. In addition to its existing certifications, Spectrum Aeromed has certifications in process for the Bell 407 and Pilatus PC-12. The company anticipates further growth of its LOX certifications as client needs continue to rapidly evolve.
In the five years since its first LOX system installation on a King Air 350 aircraft, Spectrum Aeromed has worked tirelessly to develop its LOX options and expand this innovative technology into new aircraft models. Highly-efficient liquid oxygen technology allows for a larger volume of oxygen onboard with a smaller footprint, empowering EMS operators to safely fly longer and further with reduced downtime for oxygen refill. Spectrum Aeromed is dedicated to bringing this life-saving efficiency to a diverse portfolio of air ambulances.
Vita Inclinata demonstrates its hoist stabilization technology
Helicopter and crane load stabilization and precision hardware developer Vita Inclinata showcased its Vita Rescue System (VRS). This included demonstrations in which attendees were given the opportunity to operate the remote one touch system for stabilizing spin, swing and oscillation, as well as observing the Autonomous Stability capability of the VRS. The helicopter and hoist agnostic system easily and securely attaches to a large variety of baskets, and is waterproof for 30 minutes at a depth of 2 meters, making it ideal for maritime SAR operations.
Columbia Helicopters Model 234 multi-mission Chinook selected by the Korean Forest Service
Columbia Helicopters, the world’s leading heavy-lift helicopter OEM, MRO and operator, announced that it has been selected to provide the Korean Forest Service with a brand-new Columbia Model 234 Multi-Mission Chinook.
The aircraft will be used primarily for firefighting, both during the day and at night using NVGs. It will also provide external cargo lift, transportation services, and disaster response. In addition to the aircraft, the selection includes OEM aircrew and mechanic training, parts, special tools, and ground support equipment.
“We are pleased with the Columbia 234 Multi-Mission Chinook’s lifting and firefighting capabilities as well as how it can be rapidly reconfigured between missions,” says Ko Ki Yeon, General Manager, Korean Forest Service. “It is an added benefit that Columbia can supply this helicopter as a brand-new aircraft with ongoing support,” Ko concluded.
On display was the an example of the world’s largest standard transportation category multi-mission super heavy-lift helicopter, the Columbia Model 234 Multi-Mission Chinook, which features a 25,000lb (11,339kg) lifting capability, internal and external cargo lift options, and 19- to 44-seat passenger capacity.
Guardian Mobility & Flightcell partner to provide cost-effective Iridium Certus 100 satcom and cellular aviation solution
Guardian Mobility and Flightcell International, global leaders in aircraft communications, have developed a first-to-market aviation communications system that provides cellular and satellite mid-band data and voice services to light fixed-wing and rotorcraft operators.
Flightcell’s DZMx, an all-in-one cellular and satellite voice, data, and tracking system, will be complemented by the new Guardian Mobility G6 Iridium Certus 100 satellite terminal, adding 88kbps bi-directional satellite data connectivity. The new Guardian Mobility G6 is a one-box unit with Size Weight and Power (SWaP) advantage, proven to be a great solution for installation on smaller aircraft.
“This solution complements Flightcell’s cellular connectivity and will offer new features, capabilities, and cost-effective aviation satellite communications that have not been seen before in this market”, says Hamish Neill, Flightcell Vice President.
Integrating the Flightcell DZMx and Guardian Mobility G6 provides a reliable and global data service optimized for small, low-power equipment.
Flightcell’s and Guardian Mobility’s small form factor devices provide an easy and cost-effective installation option to meet any connectivity requirements.
“We have a unique solution for aviation fleet operators, especially specializing in aerial fire, law enforcement, EMS and military operations” says Stephane Momy, Guardian Mobility COO.
Metro achieves one million flight hours milestone
In January, a Metro Aviation helicopter belonging to Indiana University Health lifted off and marked the one-millionth flight hour for the air medical operator.
This achievement follows another significant milestone the company achieved last year: its 40th anniversary.
“This is a huge accomplishment for the entire Metro family,” said Metro Vice President, Todd Stanberry. “It’s the continued commitment of not just our pilots and technicians, but our customers, their communication centers, our records department, admin and management, and the thousands of people that have trusted us over the years.”
Metro is a family-owned air medical business that operates and maintains 170 aircraft for 43 programs across the US.
Stanberry added: “There are incredible stories behind every minute of these one million flight hours. Within them, we have flown 704,228 patients who wouldn’t have otherwise received the care they needed and deserved. But it doesn’t stop there. The number of lives positively impacted as a result of all the work that went into flying that many hours is untold.”