Products, Services

From the Factories

By Staff Writer | January 1, 2005

Enstrom Training Cuts Insurance Rates

Operators of Enstrom turbine and piston helicopters can see insurance rates 40 percent less than those offered on competitor aircraft through a special training program developed in partnership with Sharkey's Helicopters, Inc.

The Menominee, Mich.-based manufacturer's special 480 Instructor's Standardization Clinic trains certified flight instructors in giving "insurance check rides" that will qualify operators for the rates, said Tracy Biegler, Enstrom's director, sales and marketing. The program is run by Roger Sharkey, president of Sharkey's Helicopters, and Bayard Dupont, Enstrom's director, product support, and resident CFI. Enstrom is promoting the program with its insurance provider, Airsure Ltd. of Golden, Colo.


Biegler said CFIs from around the country attended the four-day ground school and flight-training program (Nov. 30-Dec. 3). The course helps standardize instruction and increases the number of instructors qualified to give the training and perform insurance check rides, primarily in the Enstrom 480 turbine, but also inclusive of the Enstrom piston line, he said.

The insurance check rides are similar to a biennial flight review, with an exception that the former is required "as part of our insurance program," Biegler said. "We only qualify certain CFI pilots to do that." The company is only qualifying CFIs "whom we feel very comfortable with and who have the competency in the appropriate aircraft to do this training and check ride."

Any Enstrom owner that meets the requirements, which include proper aircraft maintenance and training with an Airsure approved instructor, can participate.

Airsure quotes rates for hull coverage of around 4.5 percent, compared to rates of 6.5 to 10.5 percent for similar Bell 206 model helicopters, with liability rates being about half that for the Bell JetRanger, according to Sharkey.

Harrods To Train For S-92

Harrods Aviation will train S-92 pilots as part of the agreement between it and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. Sikorsky appointed the U.K.-based fixed base operator last October as a non-exclusive representative in the United Kingdom and Ireland for commercial sales of the S-76 and S-92. Harrods recently took delivery of the first U.K. VIP S-92, operating it on behalf of a entrepreneur there. Harrods will also represent Sikorsky on a broader, worldwide scale to include the Middle East.

Harrods is a full-service FBO and a charter operator, with facilities at London's Stansted and Luton airports and at Farnborough.

On the training side, Creed said that they will provide S-76 and S-92 pilot training wherever the customer wants its crews trained. "If it is a Saudi client and the customer wants their pilots trained in country, then we would send our team over there," Creed said. "If the customer wants them trained at the factory, we can do that . . . if they want to do it in the U.K., we can do it here. The whole thing is tailored to the particular customer's choice."

Harrods' instructor pilots will only do transition training, Creed said. "We do not do ab initio training here." Harrods Aviation does not have any simulators on site.

Harrods currently trains on the S-76B and S-92, and will be getting an S-76C+ later this year to be used as a European demonstrator.

MD Training Stalled

MD Helicopters' training program is beset by a series of misadventures that have pushed it off schedule at least through March. Chris Hendricks, MD's manager, support services and training, said its two MD900s are out of commission for the next few months because of a hard landing incident on one and a corrosion problem with the other.

One was under contract to Boeing to provide crash rescue service for AH-64 Apache training. It augured in, cracking its frame, "so we're looking at major repairs," Hendricks said. "It will probably be back in late February or early March." The other MD900 came back from Europe so corroded they had to strip it down, "so that put it out of service for about four months."

What MD900 training the company is doing is primarily being done with customers' aircraft. That's what it did with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. The company sent a pilot to Hawaii in late November to conduct recurrency training, using the aircraft the DEA picked up in early 2004.

The Boeing contract requires MD to provide either a single twin-engine helicopter or two single-engine helicopters to support the Apache training. This means MD has to take two MD500-series out of the training cycle. It also had to send its MD600 to China for a customer demonstration.

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