The U.S. Navy is re-entering an updated Sikorsky MH-60S operational flight trainer (OFT) into service at the Naval Air Station (NAS) near San Diego, Calif. CAE provided a “technology refresh” for the trainer, adding motion seats, an upgraded image generator visual system and a new Barco CD2260 visual display system. The upgrades will ensure concurrency with other MH-60S trainers and operational MH-60S helicopters.
Sikorsky’s MH-60S is designed to perform vertical replenishment (VERTREP), combat search and rescue (CSAR), special warfare support and airborne mine countermeasures (AMCM) missions.
Colorado Heli-Ops is expanding its helicopter fleet and services, following a move to a larger facility in November 2012. The Bloomfield, Colo.-based helicopter training company has added a new Robinson R44 Raven II and an R22 to its fleet of flight training helicopters. The company is also now offering helicopter maintenance outside of its hangar located at Rocky Mountain Airport.
FlightSafety International (FSI) has indoctrinated its new Level D-qualified AgustaWestland AW139 full flight simulator (FFS) into the initial pilot training courses at its learning center in Lafayette, La. The simulator comes with a Honeywell Primus Epic avionics suite for single and dual-pilot use. It can be configured for a number of applications, including offshore, EMS, law enforcement, SAR and firefighting. Other features include FlightSafety’s Vital X visual system, four-axis autopilot, enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS), GPS with wide area augmentation system (WAAS) capability, and enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS).
FSI has also recently expanded the courses at its Dallas site to include the Sikorsky S-76B. The company plans to transfer the S-76B simulator from its facility in West Palm Beach, Fla. to its support site in Tulsa, Okla., where it will undergo refurbishment before heading to Dallas in third quarter 2013.
Bond Aviation has formally recognized Engineering Manager John Crowther and HUMS Engineer Sean Newlands for receiving the U.S. Transportation Safety Institute (TSI) Moral Courage award in March. The Bond technicians shared the first-time award with the U.S. Coast Guard out of Air Station Kodiak, Alaska, who faced the tough decision of abandoning a rescue mission due to high risk.
Luke Farajallah, managing director of Bond Offshore Helicopters, recognized Crowther and Newlands during a ceremony on April 18 in Aberdeen, Scotland. TSI created the award to highlight the efforts of those helicopter operators that put safety first when faced with tough decisions. For Crowther and Newlands, this meant taking a helicopter out of service even though it had been cleared to fly. TSI found out about their decision from reading an article in Rotor & Wing, “Every Day Safety Plan,” November 2012.
The two Bond technicians noted a small deviation in a heath and usage monitoring system (HUMS) indication, and convinced management to take the cautious approach and pull the helicopter out of service. The incident resulted in a delay of “a couple hours,” but Farajallah noted that he’s “pleased that our team spoke up. We want to be in a place where if anyone’s uncomfortable, then we don’t go.”
Flight Safety Foundation (FSF), an international aviation safety organization based in Alexandria, Va., paid a visit to Heli-Expo in Las Vegas during March to renew its dedication to the helicopter community. Founded in 1947, the non-profit organization’s mission is “the improvement of global aviation safety.”
The foundation has “a pretty rich past with helicopters, but we’ve kind of [inadvertently] drawn away from it in the past 10 years,” said Kevin Hiatt, president and CEO. “But due to what’s happening in the helicopter end of this business with more accidents, we’re starting to take more of an active interest.”
FSF’s experience and industry knowledge shows that the use of its Basic Aviation Risk Standards (BARS) system, as well as confidential safety audits provided by its members, can assist any operation with the effective management of risk.
“We need to make sure that safety isn’t something that’s just added on to the top of an operation,” said Hiatt, a former captain and chief pilot for a major airline. “It has to become a core value. We have to manage the risk.” Visit www.flightsafety.org to learn more about the organization, its information databases, and its safety programs. —By Ernie Stephens, Editor-at-Large
Three years after entering FAA’s voluntary Safety Management Systems (SMS) pilot project, Metro Aviation has entered Level III of the program. SMS is recognized by the U.S. Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as a measurement for effective management of safety in the aviation industry. FAA’s SMS pilot studies assists the agency in developing implementation strategies and oversight interfaces for managing safety.
Metro Aviation has committed to establishing an active SMS for its Part 145 Repair Station in Shreveport, La., and expects to enter Level IV of the FAA program in 2014.
Plans call for the first OFT to arrive at the Taiwan Army’s Shinshou facility in fourth quarter 2014, with the second trainer online in first quarter 2015. L-3 Link will also supply logistics support under a one-year contract with an option to renew.
Astronics Corp.’s Max-Viz-1500 enhanced vision system (EVS) has been approved as an option for the Bell 429 single-pilot cockpit. The Max-Viz-1500 provides a dual optical field of view for improved situational awareness during all phases of rotary and fixed-wing flight. Pilots are given the option to select wide-angle and telephoto views. Bell is offering the EVS on new factory 429s, and also as a retrofit option for existing 429 operators.
Ever wonder what it’s like to investigate a helicopter accident? For a fee, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is offering to explain how it works. NTSB will host a five-day training course on rotorcraft accident investigation from June 17 to 21 at its Training Center in Ashburn, Va. Procedures and investigation methods will be discussed along with examples from recent probes. For more information, visit http://go/use.gov/TkSR.