Laser incidents with aircraft (see “FAA: Shining Lasers at Aircraft Not a Joke,” page 12) could be decreased through an education and awareness program. Many incidents are by kids and teens fooling around and surely these young people do not need to be criminalized, but they do need to made aware and educated about the dangers to pilots! Intentional adult users of lasers on aircraft should be prosecuted! Local media (TV stations, radio, newspapers) could also create awareness programs. High school students could be required to offer community service hours and educate fellow students and underlings in middle school grades.
Local judges could require community service education programs by non-adult offenders. We need to address these issues as safety considerations in aviation.
FAA Safety Team representative
Editor’s Note: Franz is the subject of an April 2011 Rotor & Wing article, “Man on a Mission: Mentoring Safer Pilots.” His comment appeared on Rotor & Wing’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/rotorandwing
R&W’s Question of the Month:
Besides the helicopter itself, what are the most important pieces of equipment or support services that your operation can’t live without?
The future of aviation belongs to helicopters. In next 10 years I see helicopters crossing the 400-knot mark. Being a helicopter pilot myself, it gives me immense pleasure to see rotary wing breaking the 250-knot barrier.
Commander VK Kundu
In his June issue Leading Edge column (“Hurdles of High Speed Flight,” page 54), Frank Lombardi uses my favorite word three times! Vibration is what I teach about—measuring, analyzing and laboratory testing vibration. Helicopter vibration occurs at relatively low blade-passing frequencies. It is not very high in ‘g’ multiples (much lower than found on fixed-wing aircraft and far less than on rockets). But it is hard on the aircrew and also can damage the vehicle, its wiring and the many on-board “black boxes.”
On faster air vehicles with their higher frequencies, black boxes are relatively easy to “soft-mount,” isolate or protect against vibration-caused damage. Isolating against relatively low helicopter frequencies is more difficult, requiring extremely soft isolators and plenty of room for black boxes to move without any collisions.
Unfortunately, some potentially damaging vibration does reach each “black box.” So manufacturers avoid in-service damage by careful design and by performing dynamic (vibration and shock) environmental tests. They also perform various climatic (temperature, altitude, humidity, sand-and-dust, for example) tests. Environmental tests on military hardware are governed by Mil-Std-810G and other standards. These tests are part of “black box” development, and should occur before the manufacturer starts production. Failure in the lab is educational, pointing up design or production weakness. Lab failures are far better than failure in service.
How severe should environmental tests be? Slightly more severe than what is encountered in normal and abnormal flight. So in-flight vibration measurements and analysis, on new vehicles, should precede testing of hardware intended for those vehicles.
Equipment Reliability Institute
Northrop Grumman provides the open architecture Integrated Avionics System (IAS) for the Bell AH-1Z Cobra (“Poised to Attack,” June 2011, page M11).... An incorrect caption was listed for a photo on page 39, “Precision Approach to Panel Upgrades,” in the June issue. The image shows Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services-North America avionics technician Hardeep Chohan testing the first VFR version of the Sagem Avionics/Vector Aerospace integrated cockpit display system (ICDS) for the Sikorsky S-61. The companies developed the STC for Carson Helicopters. Photo courtesy Vector. We regret the errors.