2012 I ISSUE 76

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.

Thinking without limits


Ned dawsoN captured this unique angle of Fairfax County’s 429 over arlington, Va as it headed off on a call.

2012 I ISSUE 76

F e At U R e s

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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 lawenforcement 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.



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




com .Every second counts EMS professionals strive to provide the best care to the patient. integrated and affordable products to the global healthcare delivery system. bringing care to the patient with the best aero-medical solution. 2 agustawestland. AgustaWestland provides unique. Together.

Lamas and more. quite the dynamic duo.heliopsforum. Parnell. I recently spent a day in Torino with their day crew. Some say the industry hasn’t grown much over the past year but I have to disagree. to building the various towers and stringing sockline. Their dedication to saving people is second to none. But they weren’t the only ones with new 429s added to their fleet. Air Green is one of the larger family owned operations in Italy and has an impressive fleet of machines including a number of AW139s.com Ned ned@kiakahamedia. Ivo and Mauro Airaudi run an operation that should be held up as an example of how to run an EMS operation. While in the States. I know I did and was very pleased with what I found and besides the pasta in Italy is to die for. advertisers. and not just little machines either. check out this cool story by Valerie Cohen and images from her husband Sheldon. Europe and the United States and everywhere I went operators were upbeat about the coming twelve months.com www. In the last couple of months alone I travelled to the Middle East. California where they are running some pretty unique longline operations. 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. If you ever make it to Italy then a quick detour past Torino to view it is worth adding to your agenda. as wandering around the exhibit halls allows you to appreciate just what a special industry we are all involved in. I shan’t bore you with my commentary on them. 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. Heli Expo is one of those must attend events. 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. 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. Asia. I stopped in and visited the Sunrise Powerlink project in San Diego. and like Fairfax Police. colleagues. contributors and many others in the global helicopter industry. and that included going on both a training flight at the base of the Italian Alps plus a couple of real missions. this time in Sonoma. 117 miles of power line over some pretty rugged area from San Diego to the Imperial Valley. auckland 1001. Bell 412s. We don’t hear a lot about EMS operations in Europe as more of the focus seems to be on the United States. 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. where you get to catch up with friends. I must say. but believe me they run a pretty slick operation.com News desK news@heliopsmag.kiakahamedia. I also got to spend a few days with Mercy Flight in Buffalo. so I look forward to seeing you all there. To round off this issue we take a look at another law enforcement operator. New Zealand T +64 9 281 2020 f +64 9 528 3172 iNTerNaTiONal NumBers united Kingdom: +442030262560 los angeles: +13239272354 New York: +17188798634 australia: +61283557056 email info@heliopsmag. other than to say. From the diminutive R22 at one end to the massive Erickson S64 Aircrane at the other. 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. W Head Office address Kia Kaha Media Group PO Box 37 978.com 3 . AS350B3s. Texas. is the perfect opportunity to showcase the unique capabilities of the helicopter.com www. and the remaining made up of AS350s and MD500s. 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. with humans at the bottom. from moving the “ologists” as they are called (up to 200 of them every day). five K-Max’s. it shows just how diverse this industry really is and the variety of uses helicopters are relied upon for. they think it’s a great addition.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 FRom the pUblisheR By Ned dawson ell another year has gone by since our last Heli Expo and here we are packing to head off to Dallas. NY where they have added a 429 to their fleet. It’s one of those events that I love to attend. we are talking a mixture of two Aircranes. along with Helitech in the UK. I stopped in at Fairfax County Police in Virginia where they had just placed into service the first of two brand new Bell 429s. 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.

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“These helicopters have improved flight safety and high reliability. The milestone 20-aircraft Ecureuil family order placed by UTair in 2010 was composed of 13 AS350 B3es. surveillance missions. Kagoshima International Aviation’s GrandNew features a comprehensive EMS configuration with a cabin layout able to accommodate two litters plus medical attendants. They are powerful and more efficient. These AS350 B3s are among 20 aircraft ordered by UTair. 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. VIP transportation and cargo airlift in Russia. an AS350 B3. 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. southern Japan. Certification of the AS350 B3e variant was issued by the area’s Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) civil aviation authority in December 2011. an AW109 Power in the same EMS cabin configuration will serve as a back up for the GrandNew’s operation. and six of the twin-engine AS355 NP versions.” The AS350 B3e is an enhanced version of Eurocopter’s single-engine AS350 B3. 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. The B3e will be dedicated to police law enforcement and crime prevention missions including antipoaching. UTair Aviation will use the new type for oil and gas pipeline patrols. but also to cover smaller towns and communities spread over large areas. which is intended to provide modern airborne EMS coverage to all prefectures in Japan. 5 . including Western and Central Siberia. This purchase is part of the Doctor Heli system programme. which enables us to offer a competitive product in the services market to our customers in the oil and gas industry. Kenya’s selection of the AS350 B3e follows an open and competitive tender won earlier this year by Eurocopter Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd. to celebrate the entry into service of the aircraft. marking the biggest contract for light helicopters ever placed in Russia and CIS. This aircraft will be used to perform emergency medical service missions in the Kagoshima Prefecture. “We are happy to have the new AS350 B3es in our fleet. anti-terrorism operations. casualty evacuation. It will also be deployed in search & rescue. A ceremony was held in Kagoshima on 26th December 2011. in presence of the Governor of Kagoshima Prefecture and the Mayor of Kagoshima City.new oRdeRs & deliveRies Kagoshima iNterNatioNal aViatioN taKes deliVery oF graNdNew Kagoshima International Aviation of Japan has taken delivery of an AgustaWestland GrandNew. This handover marks the entrance of the first EMS-configured GrandNew in the Japanese market. personnel transport and various other civic protection roles. Nairobi and Mombasa. 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.” commented UTair Aviation CEO Andrey Martirosov. Additionally.

“Today we celebrate the historic delivery of a highly successful product. president & CEO for Bell Helicopter.000th CommerCial ProdUCt From CaNadiaN FaCility Bell Helicopter has delivered the 4. operating from five strategically located bases. which was attended by senior officials from Ecuador’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. states and is the second largest air emergency medical services provider in the world.” Preissler said. facility 25 years ago. the new aircraft will replace the current Coast Guard SAR helicopter. took delivery of the 4. and provide rescue cover from Cork to Galway on the country’s west coast. (EMSA). along with EMSA representatives. training and aftermarket in the region. senior vice president for Bell Helicopter’s Commercial Business. During a small ceremony at the facility in Mirabel. during a hand-over ceremony at Sikorsky’s S-92 commercial assembly facility in Coatesville. service Ireland’s offshore islands. “This selection represents the culmination of the efforts of a dedicated team at Bell Helicopter in collaboration with our independent representative. The new addition will provide support in the fight against organized crime and public security missions. Inc. Sikorsky and CHC formalized the purchase in the presence of Chris Reynolds. 6 . Saran Group. Eurocopter de México S. 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. 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. a Bell 206L4. Canada. the aircraft will provide coverage for deep Atlantic Ocean missions. The new aircraft was presented during a ceremony at the customer’s facilities in Quito. of the Ecuadorian National Police Force.000th commercial product since it began production at its Mirabel.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. Our company has had tremendous growth over the years. 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.” Roberts said. It reflects our commitment and investment in providing the right products for our customers as well as support. The Bell 429 is well-suited to provide a rock-solid. has delivered a single-engine AS350 B2 to the Quito Aerial Police Service. Irish Coast Guard Director.000 aircraft. for use on public security missions. Pa.” said Larry Roberts.” said John Garrison. 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. QUito aerial PoliCe serViCe reCeiVes seCoNd as350 B2 Eurocopter’s Mexican subsidiary.S.” Michael Preissler. as well as our outstanding partnership with AMGH. a Sikorsky S-61. “AMGH serves 25 U. coastal and island communities. the Bell 206. the National Police Force and the National Council for the Control of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (CONSEP). 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. Based at Shannon. Air Medical Group Holdings (AMGH). Bell heliCoPter deliVers its 4. Chief Financial Officer of AMGH accepted the award and the keys to the new Bell 206L4. “This is a significant win in the European market for Bell. Equipped for dedicated search and rescue (SAR) operations. “This is a significant milestone for Bell Helicopter. and we know much of our success is due to our great partnership with Bell Helicopter. Mr.A. long-time customer.

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In the SAR role the 11.” 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. which included an assessment of the machines general handling and basic systems. offshore transport and parapublic missions due to its long-range capabilities. is certified for installation in Eurocopter AS350 Ecureuil. This will help them both in reducing costs and in meeting increasingly higher standards for FOQA and MOQA capabilities for their clients. Bruno Spagnolini. Additional FAA certifications for other aircraft will reportedly be available in the future. The AW189 was flown by AgustaWestland Chief Test Pilot Giuseppe Lo Coco at the company’s Cascina Costa plant in Italy. 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. “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. The aircraft was launched at the Paris Air Show earlier this year and this first prototype made its maiden flight ahead of schedule.” 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. AS355 Ecureuil 2 and Bell 206/407 aircraft. which collects performance data from analog aircraft systems and legacy operations equipment. information that was previously only available where FADEC’s or other digital data systems were installed.” Set to enter service in early 2014.” said Steve Joseph. 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. attractive operating costs and modern safety features. The FAST Trac kit. JAR OPS 3 / EU-OPS). AgustaWestland aims to achieve civil certification for the AW189 in 2013 and to start deliveries in early 2014. The first prototype will be used for avionic system testing and certification of offshore equipment options. the twin engine AW189 is optimised for long range offshore transport and SAR missions. stretchers and seating for the crew and survivors. searchlight and radar can be fitted. while the second prototype.2 m3 cabin can accommodate a mission console. 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. which includes both the Master Control Box (MCB) and the Remote Tap Units (RTU). The new generation AW189 will reportedly meet the very latest international regulatory safety requirements (EASA / FAA Part 29. It performed as expected during the flight. “Operators with legacy fleets can now collect and see in near real time. set to fly in 2012. AgustaWestland. DART Helicopter Services VP of US Operations. Chief Executive Officer. 8 . 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. will be dedicated to a load survey programme.new pRodUcts & seRvices stC aNd dealer agreemeNt ComPleted For Fast traC iNstallatioNs Geneva Aviation has secured STC approval from the FAA for FAST Trac. A range of simulator and training devices will progressively be made available to serve the worldwide AW189 customer base. 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.

after all. We believe they will support Transport Canada’s decision.500 lbs. After careful testing. senior vice president for Bell Helicopter’s Commercial Business. it will also reduce maintenance costs. DARTs traditional wearplates and wearpads are designed for durability under normal wear conditions. “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. the thru bolt design means that changing wearplates is easier.” said Bill Beckett. an overlay of highly wear resistant tungsten carbide. exemption to Part 27 with respect to the 7. all the test data indicated that the Bell 429 would suffer no technical constraints by increasing the gross weight to 7. 9 . for the Bell 429. “DAS recognizes that standard wearplates may not provide sufficient protection for some types of operations. With Transport Canada’s approval now in hand. rUN oN laNdiNg wearPlates For 206s aNd 407s. However. “This enhancement was the result of continued requests from our customers to yield additional performance from the Bell 429. cockpit voice/flight data recorder and strobe lights. Tow Ring. The Cable Guard and Wedge Kit are both fabricated from durable UHMW polymer. 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. DAS Run-on Landing Wearplates are specifically designed for the harsh use of training and run-on landings. The increased gross weight directly translates to greater range and loiter times. All of this information will reportedly be made available through Bell Helicopter and its customer support network throughout the world.500 lbs.000 lbs. 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.” Roberts said. Run-on Landing Wearplates are specially designed for the harsh use of training and run-on landings. DAS run-on landing wearplates can be retrofitted to existing skidtubes or ordered on new skidtubes. Cable Guard. training and run-on landings present unique requirements for durability far in excess of normal operations. We reached out to the Bell 429’s certification authority. a corrosion resistant stainless steel construction and a corrosion resistant compound between the skidtube and wearplate.” said Bill Beckett. and have been working with them for several months to validate what our data showed. 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. “We have deep respect and a very good relationship with both the FAA and EASA. review and evaluation Transport Canada issued the exemption approval for the gross weight increase. EASA and Brazilian approval of DARTs Deluxe Skidtube for the AS350/AS355. The additional gross weight now permits operators to equip the Bell 429 with additional options including Helicopter Terrain Awareness Warning System (HTAWS). Transport Canada.” said Larry Roberts. FAA. DART VP Canadian Operations. They feature a thru-bolt installation. maximum gross weight limit. “Outside of the previous certification limit at 7. Run-on Landing Wearplates. Additionally. weight increase. Transport Canada. Toe Step and Wedge Kit.” Roberts said. DART VP Canadian Operations. The Deluxe Skidtube feature DAS’s patented Round-I-Beam skidtube. 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.new pRodUcts & seRvices Bell 429 reCeiVes PerFormaNCe Boost Bell Helicopter has received Transport Canada approval for a 500 lbs. Also. to increase the maximum gross weight to 7. the exemption would allow for product improvements that increase operational capability for owners and operators making it a win/win for everyone.000 lbs. Bell Helicopter say they will issue the necessary changes to the flight manual to correspond with the additional weight capacity. a radar altimeter. New delUxe sKid tUBes For as350/355 DART Helicopter Services has announced Transport Canada.

new pRodUcts & seRvices eC175 oFFers 30 PerCeNt iNCreased PerFormaNCe 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 gearbox operation for 30 minutes after loss of oil. The $4 million project will allow the company to work on a wider variety of turbine helicopter engines. features its Geo-Point™ software capability used in BMS handheld receivers. This represents a 30 percent performance increase compared with the initial performance baseline. and will be the first seven metric ton-category helicopter delivered with such capabilities. we can provide our customers with our years of experience on those helicopters. (BMS) and AeroComputers Inc. recently completed an engineering effort to integrate special mission products which serve the law enforcement.” said Scott Ellis. 10 . 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. “ The system has proven to save time and reduce confusion for both the aircrew and ground teams. with first deliveries targeted in late 2012 following certification in the offshore mission configuration with the enhanced performance. “The ability for ground crews to have a live. bird strike tests. The EC175 program is said to be progressing well. “The building of this test cell allows CHI to provide complete nose-to-tail maintenance on military Chinook helicopters. and the test cell is designed to accept other engines coming on line in the future. Geo-Point works with the UC-5100 mission management system by continually transmitting aircraft and camera position coordinates to ground-based receivers. CHI’s Director of Business Development and a 20-year Chinook service veteran. is specifically designed to support the T55-714 turbine engine. Inc. features its UC-5100 mission management system and other onboard equipment for live display of location data and mapping. commonly called an engine test cell. Eurocopter has launched the development of a 18 passengers configuration option. EC175 can transport 12 passengers to a radius of action of 190 nautical miles.” public safety applications. The new facility. This engine is commonly used in military CH-47 Chinook helicopters around the world. For longer-range missions. This integration reduces aircrew workload and leverages technology to automatically provide guidance to personnel on the ground. Ongoing testing continues to validate the EC175’s rugged design. aiming at carrying those 18 passengers to a radius-of-action of 100 nautical miles. BMS. and will result in the addition of several new customers. 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. In addition. 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”. a leading manufacturer of wireless microwave communications systems for use with airborne law enforcement and New tUrBiNe eNgiNe testiNg FaCility Columbia Helicopters is pleased to announce the official opening of their new turbine engine testing facility. including cold and hot weather trials. that experience and maintenance capability includes the newest engine model installed in the aircraft. Eurocopter announced a baseline payload/radius-of-action capacity with 16 passengers at 135 nautical miles when configured for offshore oil and gas missions. the leading manufacturer of onboard aircraft computer systems for airborne law enforcement. “As a civilian operator of the Chinook. public safety and government surveillance markets. said Deputy Chad Davis of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department (AZ). out-performing any medium-lift rotary on the market in terms of competitiveness. Now. New teChNology eNhaNCes air to groUNd Video aNd data traNsmissioN Broadcast Microwave Services. In releasing EC175 enhanced performance specifications. AeroComputers.

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President/Owner of Scott’s – Bell 47. SB47 anticipates this new airfoil will provide increases in hover performance and a reduction in fuel burn. Inc.” 12 .” stated Scott Churchill. 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.000 flight hours for the Bell designed metal blades. With only 10 days of fuel remaining but an estimated 35 days required to re-build the road. Local news media have stated that this was one of the worst landslides in Papua New Guinea. The mudslide cut off a vital road into an ExxonMobil liquefied natural gas project – stranding more than 4500 workers. SEI made the decision to ramp up its manufacturing schedule to accommodate the urgent request by employing staff around the clock.new pRodUcts & seRvices BridgiNg the FUel gaP iN PNg SEI Industries began operating 24 hours a day to supply essential equipment required after the recent Papua New Guinea mudslides. “We have been getting asked for some time if we were considering a composite main rotor blade. SB47 also confirmed that the composite blade will be designed to retain the Model 47s best-in-class Autorotation capability. The fuel will be used to maintain basic needs and living accommodations for the workers. 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. flyable fuel container made from a special industrial fabric and designed to be slung from below a helicopter. with witnesses reporting that the slide was about a kilometre long and a few hundred metres wide. The development plan also includes fatigue & damage tolerance testing planned to demonstrate a service life increase over the current 5. After receiving the call. (SB47) have contracted with IAC Ltd. to develop new composite main rotor blades for the model 47 fleet. an urgent call was placed to SEI Industries to supply a BC-invented product that allows helicopters to transport fuel into remote locations. Inc. It is intended that these new blades be interchangeable in pairs with the current metal blades in-service. The Fuel-Easy is a lightweight. New ComPosite Blades For Bell 47 Scott’s – Bell 47.“We think this is a very exciting development for the model 47 operators.

Hinge offset measures the power of the cyclic controls – how quickly the helo follows up on our stick movements. expressed as a percent of the total blade span. as do many of the older Bell products. If we think of each of the polygons as representing a different design attribute. n 13 . Having examined the rotor head. so they must be beefier and thus will weigh more. and bearingless) and rigid rotors. The teetering rotor has the great attribute of being simple and inexpensive. Its low cost and easy maintenance makes it a very good initial trainer. The weakness of the teetering rotor is that it provides very little control power under certain situations. The Robinson has a fundamentally teetering rotor. It is also easy to maintain and light in weight and for these reasons it is favored for use in light trainers and homebuilts. Articulated rotors are particularly good in many applications. However. it is not dependant on how much lift the blade is producing and is available at low collective pitch and also low load factor. 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. In spite of these difficulties.flighT dynaMicS By Nick lapps Knowing your Rotor Heads s we walk around our helicopter. the next subject will be those things that keep us in the air – the rotor blades. The typical Bolkow rotor head is an example of a rigid rotor. Everything has a purpose and every designer tries to make the best machine for the job at hand. all design decisions are based upon mission and economics. However. and so we might describe a helicopter as having a given percent of offset. although they are more complex than teetering heads. The higher the offset. since they were written back when most helos had teetering rotors. (The teetering rotor. Hinge offset is a measure of the distance of that bearing from the mast. 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. with few machined parts. It is the constant battle to achieve such balance that results in helicopter designers having trouble sleeping. and put their centrifugal force at play on the rotor head. which means that the flight envelope of the helicopter is restricted. The truly rigid rotor is a class of rotor head that is perhaps obsolete. However. offset hinge rotors (articulated. has a zero percent hinge offset and therefore has relatively low control power. The teetering rotor is one where a hinge right at the mast allows the blades to teeter like a child’s seesaw. These bearings can be grease-lubricated metal bearings. This produces a bending force on the rotor that is very powerful. they require little maintenance. rubber/metal elastomeric bearings or flexible components of the rotor head. As a class. and they therefore speak of these ills as if they were universal to all helicopters. like “engine power” or “number of blades” or “rotor head design”. were the “bearings” are flexible parts of the rotor head. This control power puts the mast and transmission mounts under higher stress. rigid rotors provided exceptional. so that they have an equivalent offset somewhere between three and seven percent. offset-hinge rotor is one where the blades are mounted away from the mast with flap and leadlag bearings. 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. a teetering-rotor helicopter is a fine machine. Bearingless main rotors are articulated. 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. Since this control is dependant only on centrifugal force. The articulated. It leads to such problems as mast bumping and dynamic rollover – situations that are almost exclusively teetering-rotor issues. 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 usual training guides make no such distinction. with its hinge at the mast. usually between two and seven percent. where the ball’s many flat facets are joined to create a nearly perfect sphere. A THE ROTOR HEAD There are three basic rotor concepts: teetering (sometimes called semi-rigid). when flown carefully.) This hinge offset control power is derived from the way the blades flap. the “snappier” the helo. I like to think of a “balanced” helicopter design as analogous to a soccer ball. crisp cyclic control and great agility to the pilot. it no longer aligns along the arm of the rotor head. So why the differences? We must always keep in mind that there are few absolutely correct or incorrect decisions. Comanche and EC-145 are examples of this interesting blend of handling and comfort. The extra control under conditions of low blade lift reduces the possibility of dynamic rollover and eliminates mast bumping entirely. Modern articulated rotors with elastomeric bearings are usually maintenance-free. As the controls make the blade flap. As a result. Since bearingless main rotors have very few parts. and there are many ways to strike a balance. we realize that a balance of all these individual features is required to create a perfect whole. and so it pulls strongly on the arm to rotate the helicopter. with typically two or three times the number of parts. well-designed articulated rotors with elastomeric bearings are similarly maintenance free. we begin to realize that many of the features of the design are different from other helos. and makes the rotor feel “snappy”. Rigid rotors have exceptional control power since the equivalent hinge offset can be as much as 12 to 15 percent. occupants experience a somewhat rougher and less stable ride under turbulent air conditions.

000 patients annually. story & photos by AlAn norris .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.

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I n 1976. This led to the founding of Memorial Hermann Life Flight which still functions on these same founding principles. who still is medical director. It is now estimated to cost more than $3 million annually to support the program. the then deputy chief of the Houston Fire Department. during the initial first four weeks over 40 patients had been flown to the trauma center. had a vision to provide a hospital based. 17 . nonprofit organization responding to emergency calls regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. state or local tax subsidies. Operations began on 1st August 1976 with a single French built SA 319B Alouette III leased and operated by Rocky Mountain Helicopters. state or local tax subsidies. a single patient. a registered nurse who was the principal crew member. James “Red” Duke. But Dr. and “Whitey” Martin. this new flight program initially did not have many supporters. and a surgical resident to assist the nurse with medical procedures and patient care. Instead the program is entirely funded by the Memorial Hermann foundation and its benevolent partners plus the financial support of the community through fundraising. and is still the United States largest not-for-profit health care system. Instead the program is entirely funded by the Memorial Hermann foundation and its benevolent partners plus the financial support of the community through fundraising. none of which comes from federal. 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.It is now estimated to cost more than $3 million annually to support the program. 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. The Alouette III only had room for a pilot. Despite the success of the service. none of which comes from federal.

” The TwinStar was a big step up from the Alouette III with improvements in range. with . speed and more importantly a larger cabin area plus improved flight safety that comes with twin engine aircraft operations. The Alouette III served the program well but they were eventually replaced in 1983 by a 18 newer aircraft. 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. These new aircraft offered improved operating environments for the crews. So in 1988 they acquired a Bo105CBS4 and three BK117B1 helicopters. the AS355 Ecureuil 2 “TwinStar. and attracted a lot of media attention. the BK117B1. At the time the three aircraft operated from Hermann Hospital covering an operational area of 120 mile radius from the hospital. 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.as critics saw the helicopter as an expensive tool. 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. power. However.

intra-aortic balloon pump patients. 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. Life Flight was now operating with four helicopters. and the fourth largest city in the United States. Houston is the largest city in the state of Texas. Life Flight was now able to fly new specialized transports. one of which was always in maintenance rotation. 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. 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. and double patient loads from the same scene. including neonatal transport. introduced a new style of layout allowing for the complete use of the rear cabin area. So in 2006 the Campaign for Life Flight was initiated by 19 . Both aircraft had a double patient load capacity and the Bo105CBS4 had a high skid configuration which improved safety around the tail rotor.its lack of structural beams to obstruct the cabin space.

Dunn Helipad.000 missions. Its main base. The fifth helicopter was fitted out with specialist medical equipment dedicated to pediatric cases. Will David. 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.Memorial Hermann Life Flight is a 24 hour. the John S. the John S. This also covers the Ship Channel where many of the energy companies are based and who generously contributed to the fundraising campaign. This is also the location of the communications center. is located on the 12th floor of the Memorial Hermann Hospital. Its main base. part of the Texas Medical Center the Memorial Hermann Foundation to raise $40 million to replace and expand the fleet through the purchase of six Eurocopter EC145 helicopters. Through the success of the campaign by 2009 the remaining five aircraft had been delivered with four replacing the existing fleet.000 missions. and Director of Aviation Operations. Eric von Wenckstern. 365 days a year service and since the initial flight in 1976 has flown more than 130. 365 days a year service and since the initial flight in 1976 has flown more than 130. 20 . a level-one trauma unit. this was in response to the 25% of emergencies that represented emergencies dealing with children. part of the Texas Medical Center. in the Tampa Convention Center. a level-one trauma unit. Memorial Hermann Life Flight is a 24 hour. American Eurocopter officially handed over the first new EC145 to Memorial Hermann Life Flight Director. It was just one year later at the Air Medical Transport Conference. is located on the 12th floor of the Memorial Hermann Hospital. Dunn Helipad.

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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. 23 . Today Life Flight employs 18 pilots. the South from Pearland Regional Airport which is also home to the maintenance base and the East out of Baytown Airport. and seven mechanics across five bases. 18 critical care flight nurses. 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.dispatching the closest helicopter from the out lying five bases depending upon the where the incident is located. 16 flight paramedics. In an emergency they will also fly organ transplant missions and Memorial Hermann Hospital is the largest organ donor hospital in the country. 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. In collaboration with the other Texas Medical Center (TMC) facilities they will also accept and transport patients to whichever TMC hospital is most appropriate. 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. not on the type of patient or their condition. with the helipad handling up to four helicopters at any one time. The communications staff handles flight dispatching. 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. The North of Houston is covered from David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport. 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. They also work every other weekend and four weeks of days and four weeks of nights. at no charge to that facility. 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.

During the aftermath of Katrina. KAtrinA In August 2005 the Atlantic Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the upper Texas Coast. based in Shreveport. Memorial Hermann Life Flight sent two 24 aircraft a day and flew out over a 100 patients operating from the roof of the damaged car park. 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. capable of 7. Louisiana. One of the hospitals severely damaged by the floods was Ochsner Foundation Hospital. Other equipment included the Ferno litter system with two patient capacity. 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. Louisiana. temperature controlled drawers to store medications and a custom air medical interior specified by Memorial Herman Life Flight. for completion of the EMS medical fit.5 litres of LOX per cylinder. 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. LED cabin lighting. AircArft The new EC145 helicopters were all initially delivered to Metro Aviation. Life Flight also transported and assisted with evacuations from numerous hospitals in New Orleans.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. which sits just south of the Mississippi River. which is designed for external installation with an option of either a single or double cylinder on the EC145. 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. This included the Metro designed liquid oxygen system (LOX). Each helicopter is fitted with a .


The new helicopters are larger. The large sliding side doors.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. quieter and better equipped than the previous fleet and the 133 knot cruise speed of the EC145 . rear 26 clamshell loading doors and high set main and tail rotors make for safe working environment when loading of patients.

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Intersections. n 28 . 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. that can be updated with a data card. VORs. Avidyne TAS610. well within the recognized “Golden Hour”. Bendix King RDR2000 weather radar. Hospitals. contains all airports. From a pilot perspective the aircraft are fitted with OuterLink satellite tracking. Normal operational flights are flown at 800feet AGL. 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. 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. 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. duel transponders and a five inch high contrast color display Garmin GNS 530W GPS integrated avionics. 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.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. Approach. 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. 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. NDBs. has allowed for an increase in missions flown as response times have been reduced by as much as 33 percent. which is also their IFR weather minimum. FSS. Accredited by the Commission of Medical Transport Systems. but does not provide real time radar warnings of obstacles or wire hazards. A Jeppesen database. DPs/STARs and SUA information and the GNS 530W makes practical use of this information with features like intelligent frequency nomination. this critical air ambulance service has always been on the cutting edge of patient care and safety. metropolitan heliports and remotely located heliports are now more accessible in IFR conditions.

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funding and geography. but at Airgreen they do things a little differently. photos by Ned dawsoN .EMS ops the Italian way The use of helicopters to provide emergency medical services is nothing new. Rather than being a case of Italian flair. their operations are dictated by politics. however.


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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. busy roads and autostradas. budgetary considerations have a major effect on these decisions. Airgreen does not provide 24hr coverage. 35 . From their new. high mountainous areas. when it took over predecessor Free Air. 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. This is a good geographic configuration for provision of HEMS service as. as well as valleys into rugged. Local government in individual areas has a say in what HEMS coverage they want provided and. The company has been operating from its Torino base since 2003. an adjoining area can extend their normal range and provide coverage in the event of an additional callout.a Bell 412 and three Agusta 139s .I taly’s Torino province encompasses large and bustling metropolitan areas. one of Airgreen’s pilots.at four separate bases. which HeliOps visited to find out how their operation differs from many other HEMS providers around the world. the central region. to where coverage from the other surrounding regions overlaps. purposebuilt hangar. 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 NVGequipped and does not operate at night. their bright and distinctive Agusta 139 flies HEMS missions within a range of around 100kms from Torino. Airgreen supplies Italian HEMS services with four helicopters . as is so often the case. Marco Barberis. if one machine is engaged on a call. including Turin.


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 overrun 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

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

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. or visit our website.1 Aircraft Maintenance Software Aviation compliance made easy Better.or four events a year would be typical. before allocating appropriate assets. They may elect to dispatch a helicopter based on such criteria as distance or time from roadambulance support.aeronet. The Italian emergency system uses a co-ordination and management facility known as the 118 operational center. the need for immediate transport to a specialized care facility – maybe cardiac.nz . increasing efficiency and reducing costs. W NO BLE ILA E AVA N TH E O ON IPH Simplify your systems Work from anywhere Share information easily 40 www. Find out more about how Aeronet can work for your company by visiting us at the HELI-EXPO Booth 6630. The center receives all emergency calls and prioritizes them. Easier Operations Aeronet is a powerful system for Aircraft Maintenance Providers and Operators. Using cloud-based innovation meet all your compliance requirements in one simple system. The 118 center team also includes a mountain rescue specialist so asset and access decisions can be more New Zealand’s No. pediatric or burns unit – or difficulty in access to a mountainous area.co..

flat ground . • New ASC blade and composite shop Auckland NZ.accurately assessed.oceania-aviation. All common light and medium blade repair services. high traffic New products and new capability. Ardmore Auckland. Most incidents attended are winch operations and the 139 is equipped with a Breeze-Eastern 600lb rescue hoist.co. parts search and helicopters sales at www. You’ll find more detailed information. If there is serious injury and the ambulance does not have a doctor on board the helicopter will automatically be dispatched.com 41 .nz • AS350 Baggage pod 264 pounds capacity – Canadian STC - Just Approved. Obviously. 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.but even road accidents usually see the doctor winched to the scene immediately. in the mountains this is expected – few mountain accidents seem to occur near open. New Zealand Phone (+64 9) 296 2644 Facsimile (+64 9) 296 2645 Email oceania@ohl. • Meet us at HAI booth 6630.

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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. 44 . He has seven years experience on HEMS work. Ongoing training and examinations are an additional requirement to maintain their HEMS crew qualification. Nurses require 118 centre experience and at least 3 years experience in road-ambulance work before they can qualify for crew duties. with fences and wires cut as required to permit access to the scene. then they must complete a 3-day examination regime. The center receives all emergency calls and prioritizes them. The further away from major metropolitan areas an incident is. at several different The Italian emergency system uses a co-ordination and management facility known as the 118 operational center. Occasionally a landing will be carried out in an adjacent field or paddock. the prevalence of wire hazards and an unwillingness to close roads for a helicopter to land making it the most reliable standard procedure. They must then complete a specific Italian qualification for duty as part of a HEMS crew. before allocating appropriate assets. 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. Marco Bruzzone is an alpine rescue specialist from SASP (Soccorso Alpino Spelologico Piemontese).density. Alessandro Mastroianni is a medical doctor who has specialized in anesthesiology and resuscitation and started HEMS crew work in 1992 on the A109. 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.


In a winching scenario the doctor always descends before the nurse and then makes a decision as to whether the nurse will be required.000hr pilot Barberis says that. . and explained that once the rescue specialist level is reached.bases. the on-scene weather will be assessed and a decision made as to the feasibility of attending. He still loves flying but does not enjoy the inevitable beauracracy or the heavy fog that frequently occurs during winter. pilots must have 20003000 hours experience in other appropriate work such as firefighting. 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. If the callout is initiated by an ambulance. 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. He works 7 days on – 7 days off and enjoys the work he does. 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. to be considered for Airgreen. 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. He has been at Torino 46 for three years but has worked previously for predecessor company Ilario and on firefighting duties. 8.500m visibility and 500’ ceiling.

Its slab sides do not present a problem unless landing in confines areas between large structures but. even the winch were all iced over.000ft and says the machine boasts a maximum operational altitude of around 17. the glass. The highest altitude rescue mission Barberis can recall is one last November.000ft. at around 13. 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. 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 stresses that they always ‘tour’ the landing zone and the 47 . 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. 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 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. however. “I landed and we found the blades.000ft in hot and windy conditions. He also recalled an incident where. The weather conditions. as he says. 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.If travelling long distances Barberis likes to fly at 8-10. attempting to land at 10.000ft. He does find it a stable and forgiving aircraft which fulfils it role well.

Long Beach.com today. 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. CA 90808.lahelicopters. Erickson and Carson Helicopters as well as Government agencies and individual Pilots alike! Other specialty courses provided by LAH are: • Introduction to Police flying • Advanced Emergency Procedures • High Altitude/Mountain Flying For more information on our license conversions.winch operator will visually check out the sliding door. We will: • Assist you in contacting the FAA to submit your foreign flight information • Schedule a practical exam • Provide study material • Assist you with transportation arrangements and accommodations • Expedite your training to save you time and money sPeciaLTy courses The LAH Vertical Reference/Long Line course is world renown and has trained Pilots from companies such as Columbia. it’s not uncommon to find ten or twenty cables in a single valley. Being a single-helicopter base. (800)-976-HeLi Los Angeles Helicopters 3501 Lakewood Blvd. please visit www. USA . and specialty courses. Torino has its 139 effectively equipped as a mobile trauma room. ATP. intended to sustain life for the relatively License conversions and aTP Los Angeles Helicopters is known for its specialty courses as well as ATP and foreign license conversions. With having assisted countless foreign pilots obtain their FAA license conversion and ATP we fully understand what it takes and will walk you through the process from the moment you contact us.

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Sufficient supplies are on board for two or three missions. 100hr checks and above done at Airgreen’s main base. All maintenance less than the 100hr checks is carried out on site.short journey to full care at a hospital. these are just a few things that define the unique operation that is Airgreen’s HEMS. professionalism. the floor hosed out if required and the machine left fully prepared for the next crew. A small amount of medical oxygen is carried. n Tel-Tail Floodlights EC-145 Tail Floodlight / Clam Shell Door Floodlights Tail Floodlight / FFRL / Main Rotor Floodlights AW-139 www. 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. meaning that re-stocking is not necessary if the crew needs to attend call after call. mountains and valleys. If they are extremely busy and supplies run low they can request additional stores from the hospital when they land to deliver a patient.devoreaviation. At the end of each shift all supplies will be checked and re-stocked if necessary. training and dedication. carrying rescue specialists. Working over cities. mechanics and avalanche dogs as crew-members. What they have in common with HEMS operators around the world is their commitment. while the machine has major work.com 53 .


‘Henry One’. but can we safeguard the saviors? story by Valerie Cohen photos by sheldon Cohen 55 . to reach and assist those in peril.When life is on the line it is often up to experienced helicopter teams such as those of Sonoma County Sheriff’s Helicopter Unit.

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they saved my life. By the time rescuers were called. Dave Thompson) hadn’t been there. “Henry One is the only law enforcement helicopter north of the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. California. Ed Hoener. SWAT situations. Richtman remembers hearing her friend’s voice from the shore fading in and out and then hearing a helicopter over head. I would have lost consciousness. I could hear him talking to me. Rescue Equipment. NVG. Externally mounted oxygen tank for medical missions. We provide coverage and services to a region. It’s a vital tool not only to our agencies in our jurisdiction but to our neighboring cities and counties. Sgt. It was the first Bell 407 to be certified to fly Night Vision Goggles (NVG) and has been using NVG for over 11 years. “I saw Sgt. ‘Henry One’ was on site and plucked Richtman from the frigid waters by performing a long line rescue. W They perform multiple missions and provide service to Sonoma County and the region. We do practice runs where the pilot will fly a rescuer at the bottom of the line and place 57 . and fire suppression. Wire Strikes. Dual hook system for long line rescue operations. PA speakers. The crew must be able to perform multiple types of missions in difficult terrains and in challenging situations. Nightsun Search Light System. hat had started off as an exciting kayaking trip on the Russian River in Sonoma County with her husband. If he (Sgt. the number of missions that ‘Henry One’ flies is impressive. pulled it gently down and put the strap over me as I was nonresponsive. Moving Map.000 hours. son and friend soon turned into a life threatening experience for Vicki Richtman when her kayak was caught in a whirlpool and capsized. Debbie Little describes. This highly maneuverable helicopter is equipped with: L-3 Wescam.” Richtman recalls. a Tactical Flight Officer (TFO) whom is also a sworn deputy sheriff with EMT training as well as a trained rescue technician. head of the Aviation Unit. medical transport.” ‘Henry One’ is a Bell 407 based at the Charles Schultz (Sonoma County Airport) in Santa Rosa. explains. I am really grateful to them.Henry One is the only law enforcement helicopter north of the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. Sonoma County Sheriff’s Helicopter Unit receives over 1000 mission requests each year. a flight paramedic whom is also a trained rescue technician. later he had told me my eyes were glazed over. Within minutes of receiving the call. After being taken under water. but I couldn’t respond to him in anyway. Thompson come down. 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. grabbed my head. giving instructions. It has a flight crew that consists of three uniquely trained members. Skid Mounted spot light used during night time rescues. “I am thinking this was probably my last thirty seconds. Thompson eventually reached up.” Richtman said. everything from looking for homicide suspects. Although this unit performs varied missions. I don’t think I had another thirty seconds in me. The machine is not just a law enforcement helicopter. I remember thinking it was odd for him to be there. Sgt. “We train for precision. it is best known for executing long line rescues with precision. and Medical Equipment. I would not have been able to hold that branch anymore and I would have been in the water. Richtman had been in 50-degree water for about 45 minutes and was using all her strength to hold on to a branch. 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. victim evacuation. it is a multi-mission aircraft. Total flight hours for a crew can approximate 16. search and rescue. It’s a vital tool not only to the agencies in our jurisdiction but to our neighboring cities and counties. TFO. and a pilot.

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it has to be precise. Pilot.them on a rock that only has room for standing. Vertical references are a series of hand signals given by the rescuer at the bottom of the line guiding the pilot. Total flight hours for a crew can estimate 16. In many situations we do not have the option to miss a mark or bonce around. especially during cliff rescues. 59 . Precision is important during rescues. 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. A Tactical Flight Officer (TFO) whom is also a sworn deputy sheriff with EMT training as well as a trained rescue technician. 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. and a pilot. When flying by vertical reference the pilot is seeing everything below as it happens. “Vertical reference means the pilot uses vertical references in order to fly instead of using the horizon or gages simulating a horizon. as victims get exhausted more quickly from hanging on and they have no room to move.” The unique technique Sonoma County Sheriff’s Helicopter Unit uses is referred to as a ‘vertical reference’ long line rescue.000 hours. a flight paramedic whom is also a trained rescue technician. Paul Bradley explains. Our technique is fast. 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.

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Parts Support .000 lbs and. Sonoma County Sheriff’s Helicopter Unit Aircraft Sales . Instead of using a cable they use a 100-foot rope that has a tensile strength of 12.Engine Sales . they will tie two of the 100-foot ropes together to perform rescues in tall trees.helisupportnz.” The advantages of the vertical reference technique allow ‘Henry One’ to lift more weight and execute a rescue in far less time. We did it all in one shot instead of doing multiple back and forth trips. if needed.Maintenance 62 www. we will not send an empty line to a victim. “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.” Bradley said.a rescuer at the bottom of the line. which saved valuable time.com Phone + 64 3 4432903 .

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Following his death. Later he flew in a county-owned Bell 47. In 1977 ‘Angel-1’ crashed while searching for a lost child. “We enjoy involving ourselves with the public.” TFO Little said. 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 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.maunaloahelicopters. we perform demos throughout the year.com 65 .com www. Wilkinson. They decided to educate the public and Board of Supervisors on the services they provide for their county and the region. The program went from performing rescues to needing rescue. 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. they know who we are but don’t always know all we do. The ‘Henry One’ unit soon realized they weren’t safe from the chopping block and knew they had to take action fast. It is meaningful for the public to meet us and see the helicopter up close and get a Train with us in beautiful Hawaii Professional Pilot Program Accredited by ACCSC Federal Loans available for those qualify Two FAA Examiners on Staff VA Approved 141 courses F-1 Visas Student Housing Three locations to choose from P: 808-334-0234 info@maunaloahelicopters. “People see us fly along the coast all them time. It wasn’t until this past year that the economic down turn threatened the program. which was given the name of ‘Angel-1’. killing Sgt.

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” Pilot Bradley said. 69 . The “Henry One” unit realized they weren’t safe from the chopping block. this presentation was given to each member of the Board of Supervisors individually. The program survived last year. but to the public they serve and the people they save they are indeed just that. “We thought giving a one on one presentation would have more impact and be more personable than giving it in a group. the community came to rescue their heroes. It can be difficult for emergency and law enforcement personnel to refer to themselves as heroes. The program went from performing rescues to needing rescued.chance to learn what services we provide and often they are surprised that we do so many types of missions. 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. History has a way of repeating itself and just like in 1977. I think this presentation was important and was partially the reason we were saved this time around. 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.” Bradley and Little also put together a presentation that highlighted facts and details on the types of missions performed and the services they provided.

we are just lucky to be holding on to what we 70 have.face difficulty again but they continue to be proactive in determining their fate. We are like many other agencies. “The hopes of having a traditional budget has to be set aside for now. establishing an affiliated non-profit organization that allows people to donate and claim it as a tax deduction. They are currently seeking support from the neighboring counties who use their services and are looking into multiple forms of fundraising. however this is in it’s early stages and it is a long process. We are trying to be creative and look at alternate methods of providing funding to our unit in the forms of fundraising. for example. We are looking into all forms of fundraising and ways to keep .

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The unit recently had the opportunity to demo a Bell 429. Hoener said. 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. which by itself is not going to buy us many flight hours. We currently sell t-shirts. which in Pilot Bradley words is “a Bell 407 on steroids.cost down. it is a very impressive aircraft.” Sgt. 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. Due to the limitations of our current helicopter. for a program like this the fundraising has to be substantial and successful. A helicopter like that would fit our needs and provide us with multiple decades of service.” “We recently demoed a Bell 429. we are 73 . Everybody knows ‘Henry One’ is a vital tool and we are hopeful that our program will survive long enough for the economy to recover.

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” n 75 . 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. “It’s not about me. it is a trickle effect. These vital programs are not safe and have to make changes in order to survive. So you see. “The Bell 407 is an awesome aircraft. It is like Richtman stated.not able to perform missions in some weather conditions we experience up here on the northern coast of California. building positive relationships and even educating those who have a say in the fate of the program is required. you’re not just saving one person. my children and clients depend on me for quality of life. Pilot Bradley added. If I had not been rescued that day I would have been lost and all those people who depend on me would have had a loss too.” 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. Survival techniques like reaching out to the community for support. laying low will not keep them off the radar. Programs like ‘Henry One’ have no choice but to be seen and heard. you’re saving everyone in that one person’s life too. having this new aircraft would allow us to fly on those missions.” Sgt Hoener said. The quality of life in communities all around depends on these programs. I help people get back their strength. I am a mother and a trainer.

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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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1 million residents and is a very affluent community.ith only a handful of Bell’s newest light twin offering in service globally. Virginia is not particularly large – only about 400 square miles – but is densely populated by about 1. Since 1987 the county Police Department has operated a full-time law enforcement and EMS operation. 80 W Fairfax County. It sits alongside the Potomac River and is bordered by Washington DC. 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. in partnership with Fairfax hospital and initially operating a pair .

Around 90% of its work is law enforcement with the remaining 10% being EMS and medevac. It operates in Fairfax County and occasionally elsewhere through mutual aid requests with other jurisdictions. So why did they choose to replace the 407s? Unit Commander Lt. The unit requires genuine multimission capability as it supports Fairfax’s patrol officers. Andy Hill explained that the aircraft. either for law enforcement or EMS operations. plus providing aero-medical support and EMS. On occasions it has provided long-line over-water rescue services but these instances have been very rare. maybe once every five years. special operations division and SWAT team. before progressing to LongRangers and then 407s. were getting old and had 81 . while having performed an outstanding job for the unit.of Bell 206s.

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Departmental budgeting sets aside a certain amount of funding every year for vehicle (helicopter) replacement so funding wasn’t a major issue. Lt. almost double their intended service life. Virginia is not particularly large – only about 400 square miles – but is densely populated by about 1. “Obviously it went past that 8-year replacement cycle. though. the FCPD has purchased an A-model of a new type but Lt. where we were well outside the replacement cycle for both of those aircraft.” Being such an early adopter of the 429. We felt that light twin-engine rotorcraft in general had gone through a significant evolution. making it more difficult for us to be a combined law enforcement/EMS operator in the 407. offering fully redundant systems outside the transmission. EMS rules and regulations in the state of Virginia are evolving as well. we felt those aircraft had gone through their ‘growing pains’ and that the time was right to go into that category.Fairfax County. as Hill elaborated. Then there are the safety considerations of having a light twin that can sustain flight on one engine. particularly as the 407s had been in service for 15 years. “We looked at a wide variety of aircraft. 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.1 million residents and is a very affluent community. Hill stresses the research and due diligence that the department carried 83 . despite a scheduled 8-yearly replacement cycle. It was at a point. There were a lot of upgrades – good upgrades – that were done to the 407 that were able to keep them in service longer. reached their maximum potential. 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. so we as a division had been keeping an eye on this for several years. Hill explained the delayed replacement.” The decision to upgrade to a light twin was not made lightly. It gives us the option of carrying multiple SWAT and tactical operators.

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We had MD respond with their 902 and American Eurocopter with the EC135.out. “We did real-time flight testing and performance measures. which was in the developmental stages at that time. such as . They looked at customer support. FCPD aircraft spend a lot of time in slow airspeed orbits. there are challenges with being first. visibility. to carry crewmembers in their three-person configuration and center of gravity limitations and challenges. crew comfort. We put out an open source RFP for the business. We initially had Augusta with the Grand New. “ he admitted “but there are also rewards. the ability to offload and load patients.” He also commented that the EC145 was not included as the amount of money available precluded it as a competitor.” The department’s mission profile predicated a wide variety of considerations. “Yes. The aircraft’s actual power and its ability to perform under strenuous conditions. outlining the process that was followed before the decision was finalized. not only with our own 86 pilots but with pilots and paramedics from other jurisdictions to help us carry out an educated and comprehensive assessment of all those aircraft. so the ability for pilots to control an aircraft with ease in the orbit was important. but the fact the machine wasn’t certified or available for test flying took it off our list early on.

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One of the unit’s tactical flying officers (TFO) commented on the difficulty encountered in accessing his seat. 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. all were carefully measured or assessed. There was a really. we had the aircraft loaded to maximum gross weight and had the manufacturers demonstrate a land-back and a fly-away. really big performance difference between the three aircraft and the 429 stood head and shoulders above the others in that demonstration. 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. When I’m climbing in. while the MD902 offered phenomenal low forward visibility. 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. the front seats are a little more confined. particularly through the chin bubble. in fact he believes OEI was a real trick. mainly due to the amount of extra equipment and larger panel.” 89 . “ 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.maximum performance take offs and landings. While the rear passenger and load space is vast compared to the 407. Schaaf insists they went into the project totally open-minded. These are minor issues though. when viewed against the 429’s outstanding performance in the crucial areas that the unit was most interested in.

it’s smooth and it’s powerful. We had one of our pilots and a pilot for Maryland State Police come in to do the flight evaluation. Then we developed a fight test regime. It’s fast. without talking to each other. Each of them went through a set of maneuvers and 90 we had them brief us independently. 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. They both had exactly the same things to say about it.if anything they were pre-disposed towards the 902 after a demonstration by MD in 1999. “We first evaluated the technical proposals from the 3 different manufactures. He told HeliOps about the testing program. but they both came back grinning from ear to ear after flying the 429. There . It sounds cheesy.

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He also praised its smoothness and stability in the 40kt left hand orbit. really big performance difference between the three aircraft and the 429 stood head and shoulders above the others in that demonstration. Not only is Schaaf enthusiastic about the new machine. a 92 flight regime where the aircraft will spend approximately half their flying life. he is highly complimentary of the manufacturer as a company to deal with.was a really.” The 429 proved to be 20kts faster than the competitors and much smoother and more stable when the stability system was disengaged. He described their . 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.

as the new aircraft have been purchased with an intended 20yr replacement cycle. Hill who listed customer support as a key factor in the decision-making process. Schaaf really likes the new machine’s ergonomics and the fact that he can get it started and airborne very quickly. As a rapid response pilot.” It’s clear that he is enamored of the 429’s performance and flying qualities. At maximum gross weight we’re 93 . It is even more crucial.local Bell rep’ as ‘fantastic’ and his comments were echoed by Lt. 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. up from the previous 8-yr schedule. “I’m still new on it but I feel very comfortable with the systems. “The power is really amazing.

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“The way that we The power is really amazing. Unusually for law enforcement ops. you know the sort of thing. as far as I am concerned the 429 has preserved the life of our facility. Now that we’ve got the added safety of twin engines and the vastly improved quietness. The EC135 was around a $500. 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 one of the TFOs explained. Fairfax machines fly with a pilot and two TFOs on all missions. The tail rotor has so much authority. now its all apartment complexes. As Schaaf said. Luckily then. it is such a luxury. a big church & Cosco. It’s just robust!” 95 .000 cheaper per aircraft.” As with the introduction of any new type.hovering at 68% torque. “We moved into this facility in 1985 when it was all cow pasture round here. It’s just robust!” When it came to price of the three. it is such a luxury. The tail rotor has so much authority. At maximum gross weight in the 407 we were hovering at 82% torque. This is due to the multi-mission capability requirement of EMS operations. there will be a period of training and familiarization before the full potential of the new asset can be realized. When the helicopter unit began operations their base was effectively in a rural area. but already the crews are enjoying the advantages the 429 offers. the 429 came in right in the middle. while the MD902 was the same amount more expensive. having available preallocated funds meant that cost was not the over-riding factor in the decision. At maximum gross weight in the 407 we were hovering at 82% torque. At maximum gross weight we’re hovering at 68% torque.

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Our Windows. Aircraft AOG? Need windows? Tech-Tool Plastics has long-life. Perfect Fit. making sure that we stay within the area of the incident. The paramedic training takes a full year away from police work so applicants have to be keen to become a TFO. coordinating with ground troops. perfect-fit replacement windows in stock for most Bell helicopters. Your helicopter will be back in the air working for you like it should be. But what that allows us to do is divide up the tasks that the TFOs are responsible for.com .tech-tool. although Fairfax PD pays for the training. the new machines are fitted with dual controls and all flying personnel will be trained to a basic level. we have to have the 2 TFOs that are medics.function. 7800 Skyline Park Drive Fort Worth. giving a muchincreased level of safety in the event of an unexpected incapacitation of the pilot. mission planning and stuff. Birdstrikes. are not an uncommon occurrence. assisting the pilot.” All the TFOs are fully trained paramedics and normal crewing levels are therefore sufficient for any EMS call as well. Tech-Tool Plastics. And the TFO in the front is more of what we call a mission coordinator. Inc. for example. The second (rear) TFO now has a Your Bell.com www. we have the real luxury of having a 3-man crew and that’s necessitated by the fact we do medevacs. 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. TX 76108 USA 1-800-433-2210 1-817-246-4694 Fax: 1-817-246-7402 info@tech-tool. In contrast to the 407s.

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The direction of the FLIR is also indicated by symbology on the mapping display. very comfortable to sit in. Medical interiors are very heavy and PAC was able to come up with the fantastic solutions we needed. the oxygen containers are carbon fiber and all the lines have gone from metal to plastic. They are equipped with a Wescam MX-10 camera. contractors for the completion of the aircraft and familiar to the unit after carrying out a completion on the previous 407s. making it a valuable surveillance and command-control asset. “Basically. Typical within the industry nowadays. rotatable Martin Baker seat in a very large space that enables him or her to carry out their tasks much more easily. Data – including realtime camera imagery – from the aircraft can also be downlinked to the ground. giving high definition daylight camera and cutting edge FLIR capability. The interior is a collaborated design between Fairfax and PAC. Bell is pushing for all information to be accessed online. spins 360 degrees without any restrictions. One of the challenges was because we are a multi mission aircraft – we are not just a medevac aircraft – we do carry extra weight.” There is an impressive list of technology in the 429s.” The seat is one of the modifications installed by Paradigm Aerospace Corporation (PAC). which required the TFO to switch between display choices. The front boasts two aviation radios. this completion means we’re a bit more one on one with PAC. Mark Smith. a TFO commented. 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. 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. while the floor-pan’s a rubber composite unit that was templated and custom-made by Lifeport. Paul. 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. This is a major improvement on the 407s. a 101 . This means paper maintenance manuals no longer exist. “That seats awesome! Very smooth operation. For example. That’s a first and it’s all FAAapproved. more so than the 407 or the stock seats in the 429. So clear is the imagery from the Wescam that the TFOs can now even read logos and nameplates on people’s clothing.comfortable. movable. Maintenance is requiring a total revision in old methods and practices too. Operations Director told HeliOps. Mapping is provided by Aero Computers and a late model Tracker is installed.

along with needles and syringes for their administration. pulse oximetry and CO2 capnography 102 monitoring. controlled narcotics and cardiac drugs. Lt Hill mentioned that there had been instances in the past of pilots inadvertently entering IMC. The fit-out effectively matches the equipment level of any advanced life-support medical unit on the ground. Next to their Ferno stretcher a center cabinet in the cabin area contains IV solutions. with every aircraft being allocated its own iPad. Tactical options also increase dramatically with the increase in performance. With the Bell 429 however. State regulations require the cabinet remains locked when not in use. n . Many changes could occur in the way the unit operates and utilizes their new machines. which is due to be replaced by the more versatile Newport ventilator that also gives the ability to transport two ventilated patients. like most other HEMS operators. A vast amount of equipment on the 429 is computer monitored and mapped. automatic blood pressure. On the medical side of things. It will also allow more medical patient inter-facility transfers. the 429 is capable of carrying two stretcher-borne patients at one time. There is a Zoll Propaq cardiac monitor that includes cardiac monitor. defibrillation. As time went by it was inevitable that the old airframes would have become less and less effective at their multiple roles.good thing for accuracy and efficiency because updates are virtually instant and automatic. which will come as no surprise to anyone who has worked in HEMS or helicopter law enforcement. pacing capabilities. Even the radios are mappable by plug-in control. both Hill and Schaaf for example mentioned its IFR capabilities as being of interest for the future. 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. otherwise the TFOs would carry those things in a transportable bag. 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. payload and space. The first-of-type carbon fiber oxygen system is connected to an Autovent 3000.

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from South America to South Africa we have it covered. Are you looking for a job? or just wanting to network with others in the industry? If so. From the Arctic to Antarctica.Do you want to keep up-to-date with everything happening in the worldwide helicopter industry – civil and military? If so the HeliOps Forum is were you need to be. see you at the HeliOps Forum. s on Find u ok ! ebo Fac s on Find u r! wit te t s on Find u in! k ed Lin 105 .

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 .A unique powerline construction project When a US utility company embarked on a major powerline construction project requiring helicopter support.


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the us Fish & wildlife service. an 500kV electric transmission line that connects san diego to imperial county.883 billion project has been a long time in coming to fruition. this translates into sdG&e using 15-25 helicopters on the project every day. Forest service. for a variety of jobs. and will enhance electric grid reliability and tap the vast renewable energy potential of the region. california Fish & Game. the route for the new line runs from imperial Valley substation in the east. approximately 60 and 70 percent of the project’s 438 towers are expected to be constructed using helicopters. the Faa. the u. a variety of land management agencies have been involved in the approval and permitting process for the line. the project will be only the second 500kV line in the area. including 19 miles across the cleveland national Forest.s. u. customs & border control. bureau of Land Management. the exhaustive and thorough environmental review for the project resulted in an impact study of 11.s. where solar and wind power projects are more plentiful. including transporting equipment and personnel to setting tower segments in remote sections of the project. including the california Public utilities commission. the longest document of its kind in californian history for a project of this type.000 pages.maller than many competitors. san diego Gas & electricity (sdG&e) is building the sunrise Powerlink. the route climbs from low desert country to a peak of 6. sdG&e has been mandated to obtain 33% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2020 so extra access to the east.s. first being proposed some eight years ago. with the first major 109 S . forests.200ft in the mountains and covers a wide variety of land types. which is a monumental undertaking in every sense of the word. private property and the town of alpine. was also a major factor in the decision to build this particular line. towns and farmland to terminate at scripps ranch in sycamore canyon near san diego. Finally. the us $1. 117 miles westward across terrain including mountains. the u.

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spans of wire are fitted with aerial warning markerballs and agencies such as the Faa. with one span being a mile across. aircraft safety of the line is important as it is near Miramar naval air station in the west. 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.s. while in the east and near Mexico there is intensive air activity from customs and border patrol. 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. the project passes through the town of alpine and for 6. at one point. due to the terrain concerned. the ‘sunrise’ project received a “green light” for construction. 111 . border control and customs were consulted prior to construction. Forest service in July 2010. which is the longest in the company’s history.approvals granted by california Public utilities commission in december 2008. usually between ¾ to ½ a mile.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. the bLM in January 2009 and the u. distance between pylons – typically 180’ high – on the route varies.

com • 310-539-0508 112 .” Golden eagles and bighorn sheep live in areas along the pylon route so the environmental mitigation restrictions include requirements K Lowest acquisition and operating costs of any turbine helicopter Hover ceiling OGE at maximum gross weight over 10. we even have cultural resource monitors who have discovered several different sites where they came across native american artifacts. “we are working with environmental agencies and cultural resource monitors.000 ft 300 lb capacity dedicated baggage compartment www.robinsonheli. Introducing the C M Y CM MY CY CMY under the town the new line has been installed underground. which is a monumental undertaking in every sense of the word. enhance efficiency and lower project costs. so what makes the aviation aspects of this project unique? everyone knows that helicopters can eliminate bulldozertype construction sites. aviation manager for the project. but preservation of wildlife and native american heritage sites have had a huge impact. “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.Approximately 60 and 70 percent of the project’s 438 towers are expected to be constructed using helicopters.” said Mike Manry.

failure to complete on time could have meant at least a nine-month delay before they could return. “the lambing season began on January 1st. but that timeframe was met and the area left for the eagles. the bighorn sheep posed similar problems for the construction effort. meaning we had to finish our work in there by december 31st. a one-week variance was eventually granted when delays loomed. the construction team worked round the clock and finished all work in these areas by the required deadlines. 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. Mike Manry recalled.to entirely avoid nesting areas and lambing areas for these two species. 113 . guaranteeing that they would fail to meet their targeted in-service date in mid 2012.

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the helicopters used include typically two erickson aircranes – one of which was purchased by sGd&e for this project – several k-Maxes. there are their pilots. that’s no mean feat. considering that the project uses more helicopters than the us forest service contracts annually to cover the entire us. once the workload is considered. plus. the machines can be spread over the length of the line’s route as work is being carried out at many sites simultaneously. 25 aircraft doesn’t seem an excessive number for the scale of the task at hand. a number of smaller long-line lifters and a plethora of type 3 light transport helicopters. loads and passengers to consider! it has certainly been a steep learning curve for Manry and the project’s helicopter teams.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. of course. heavy-lift aircrane helicopters used to transport and place the massive tower sections in place. the aviation operation is effectively split into three distinct sectors. Par is the construction contractor. managing their sub-contractors and 117 .




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 groundbreaking 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

with no tolerance for breaches of the environmental protocols. some time between 5 and 9 pm. Manry puts the effort involved into perspective. when you get hold of them. however. we have to make sure the site status is appropriate and approved. “we get a construction schedule. where you send people. so those changes impact from an aviation standpoint. where the assets go. it is imperative that every single pilot. worker and passenger affected be notified of a new schedule for the following day. we have some very dedicated people and we make . and is available to be contacted at all hours. everyone working on the project understands the challenges. from 122 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.

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Manry explained in detail one of the more innovative and successful aspects of 124 . where 5 acres have been dedicated and turned into a helibase of sorts. in the 1960s the location was the san diego chargers’ training facility and it now incorporates parking for three type 1s. this area provides helicopter owners with somewhere to go back to during the day or conduct light maintenance. the aircranes run three full time tankers while other operators provide their own fueling and repair equipment. office facilities and a runway. additionally duramats have been utilized to create landing pads. which includes bungalows for people to stay. there is a construction headquarters facility in alpine. 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.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. 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. but the next most important facility is rough acres. sdG&e put down rock to help manage dust and reduce the need for water trucks. roughly half way along the sunrise route. it’s the technology that’s been put in place that is a major part of what’s special about this project. four mediums and eight type 3 light helicopters.

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it’s there to ensure the safety of all those working on the project right of way. so people working in the field know that there is always someone there in case they need help. it’s a central location developed to monitor both ground personnel and air assets.his co-ordination efforts. 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. “sunrise base is located at the project’s headquarter facility in alpine. specifically. 129 . that communication package has Sun Bird has also given SDG&E a great chance to help the community. the unique thing about sunrise base is the innovative integration of technologies that create a “system” that works. The Aircrane is available on call for duty as a firefighting asset for the area. the use of GPs tracking equipment integrated with a version of Google earth. sometimes help means an air taxi or it could mean support for emergencies.

apart from the eagles. SDG&E is now the owner of its own Aircrane. 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.combined with the tracking system to serve us well for dealing with potential risks and keeping pilots safe. 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. 130 . and they mean very Thanks to the project.” 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. 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. thanks to the project. the GPs map is constantly updated with any restrictions due to wildlife issues and other no-fly areas. the GPs allows pilots to send us their Garmin flightpath data every night. sdG&e is now the owner of its own aircrane. and at what altitude. 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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named the sun bird. she was unveiled to the public on august 19. pilots and engineers for the sdG&e 132 aircrane. 2010 and erickson provides a project manager. Ground services and support for the air crane is . 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.heavy lift! the F model was chosen over the e due to its lifting advantage of some 5.000lbs.

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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. but the fire agency really prefers the tank. “it’s the caliber of people working on this project. Manry elaborated. now that the overall construction on the project is more than 70 percent complete and more than 235 towers have been set.000 operating budget for the firefighting season.There is simply no room or allowance for breaches of the environmental protocols.” n . “that can be done in an hour. we never forgot to have a “can do” attitude and that is what has seen us through to this point. which will bring renewable energy and other benefits to the community for generations to come.000gal bambi bucket but has a full fire tank set-up that can be installed at short notice. as erickson doesn’t cover this locale it makes her the only aircrane readily available and the largest capacity helo in the region. i’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and this will leave a positive legacy for a really long time. Manry looks back at all the work and credits one thing above all other factors for the project’s success. we want to be a good community partner. sdG&e and the county can 134 share in the cost of the first four hours flying for fire call-out. there have been days where we have worked around the clock. even with all the hard work. have even slept in the hanger and haven’t gone home for a few days. the aircrane is available on call for duty as a fire-fighting asset for the area. sun bird has also given sdG&e a great chance to help the community. she goes almost everywhere accompanied by a 2. i’m really excited to be on this project.” in partnership with the city and county. provided by corporate Helicopters. sdG&e have established a $us300.

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