D-FENS
Follow
Find
41.0K views | +1 today
D-FENS
Aviation, Space, Defense, Innovations,Technology, Science
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

UK tests new self-protection system on Lynx helicopter

UK tests new self-protection system on Lynx helicopter | D-FENS | Scoop.it

A new integrated defensive aids system architecture intended to more effectively protect the UK's military helicopters from attack using surface-to-air missiles has been tested, as part of a three-year technology demonstration effort launched in early 2010.

Tested over the Salisbury Plain training area in Wiltshire, southern England, the common defensive aids system (CDAS) equipment was installed on a British Army AgustaWestland Lynx AH7 trials aircraft. Mounted on either side of the helicopter using external pylons, the package comprised "integrated infrared, laser and ultraviolet sensors and a compact directed infrared countermeasures effector", the UK's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) says.

A new integrated defensive aids system architecture intended to more effectively protect the UK's military helicopters from attack using surface-to-air...

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

UK government to outsource helicopter search and rescue operations - Bristow Group - Sikorsky S-92 / AW189

UK government to outsource helicopter search and rescue operations - Bristow Group - Sikorsky S-92 / AW189 | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Britain's search and rescue helicopter services, whose pilots include Prince William, will be sold to United States-based Bristow Group (BRS.N) in a 1.6 billion pound ($2.4 billion) deal that ends 70 years of military involvement in saving lives at sea and on land.

The Department for Transport on Tuesday said that handing the contract to Bristow, which already provides some services, would cut response times by four minutes to an average 19 minutes and increase the high-risk areas reachable within 30 minutes.

"With 24 years of experience providing search and rescue helicopter services in the UK, the public can have great confidence in Bristow and their ability to deliver a first-class service with state-of-the-art helicopters," said Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

Under the new contract, 22 helicopters, comprising 10 Sikorsky (UTX.N) S92s and 10 AgustaWestland (SIFI.MI) AW189s, will operate from 10 locations around Britain when the new service is fully operational in 2017.

The Royal Air Force And Royal Navy Sea King helicopters had been in operation for nearly 40 years, the government said, and the time had come for a change in aircraft.

Observer
UK government to sell helicopter search and rescue operations: report
Reuters
(Reuters) - The British government is selling its helicopter search and rescue operations to U.S.-based Bristow Group Inc (BRS.N), Sky News reported on Monday.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

Eurocopter enters race for Polish chopper deal

Eurocopter enters race for Polish chopper deal | D-FENS | Scoop.it
Warsaw (AFP) March 25, 2013 - Eurocopter, the world's leading maker of civil helicopters, will sign an agreement next month aimed at setting up production in Poland, putting it in the running for a Polish chopper deal, a factory president said...
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

Helitune announces enhanced rotor tuning algorithm - Rotor Track and Balance (RTB)

Helitune announces enhanced rotor tuning algorithm - Rotor Track and Balance (RTB) | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Helitune has developed a new algorithm to reduce the damaging and potentially harmful blade vibrations in helicopter rotors. The work was conducted in association with the University of Bristol as part of one of the Technology Strategy Board’s (TSB) Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) projects.

 

The current process of Rotor Track and Balance (RTB) for helicopters usually involves many hours of test flights and painstaking mechanical adjustments. The KTP project aims to develop novel RTB techniques, enabling helicopter operators to minimise vibration, reduce operating costs and improve safety and reliability. The project has resulted in the development of the Minimum Flight Routine (MFR) algorithm. 

Based on research work carried out at Bristol University, the MFR is a next-generation algorithm, which allows multi-adjustments for RTB, processing in-flight data and generating a set of mechanical adjustments to bring the rotor within acceptable vibration levels. This streamlined process reduces the number of dedicated flights required to perform RTB and return an aircraft to a serviceable state (from circa 8-9 flights to 4-5 flights), offering a cost-effective, more accurate way to minimise damaging helicopter vibration.

Prof. Nick Lieven of Bristol University said: ‘This KTP project really demonstrates the benefits that can be realised by academia and industry coming together to resolve complex engineering problems. The University of Bristol has benefited by being able to take research originally completed some 15 years ago, applying it to a real-life scenario, providing the opportunity to understand the variable factors that influence helicopter vibrations under real-world operating conditions and ultimately producing tangible, visible results that can be applied and exploited within the industry.’

The project has developed and deployed the MFR technique across Helitune’s entire product range, and the company plans to further develop the technology for its new product range.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

Eurocopter identifies cause of bevel shaft crack in EC225 ditchings

Eurocopter identifies cause of bevel shaft crack in EC225 ditchings | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Eurocopter has identified the cause of a bevel shaft crack that led to the ditchings of two EC225 LP Super Puma helicopters in the North Sea in 2012 — and the subsequent grounding of the North Sea Super Puma fleet.

In a statement, the company said its third round of gear-shaft tests is now complete. “The causes of the bevel shaft crack have been identified by Eurocopter and the company has replicated the crack initiation under test in scenarios identical to those of the actual events.” The results are now being evaluated by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). GRTI will independently validate the crack initiation and propagation tests and results.

“The investigation conclusions and Eurocopter's analysis points to a combination of factors,” the statement said. “Eurocopter will continue to work with helicopter operators, oil and gas companies, unions and other key stakeholders to ensure full validation of the results and the recommended solutions. In the meantime, on-going safe flight operations continue.”

Eurocopter’s statement comes shortly after the release of an AAIB report that identified erroneous pressure switches as the immediate cause of the North Sea ditchings. The AAIB said the pressure switches were “the most likely cause” of a main gearbox (MGB) emergency lubrication warning light that led to the Super Pumas, G-REDW and G-CHCN, making emergency water landings in May and October last year. The switches are part of an emergency lubrication system that is designed to permit safe flight for at least 30 minutes after the loss of the MGB lubrication system.

On both G-REDW and G-CHCN, the bevel gear vertical shaft fractured, leading to associated warnings of loss of MGB oil pressure on the central warning panel. Following the appropriate emergency procedure checklist, the flight crews activated the MGB emergency lubrication system. In both cases, approximately 30 seconds later, a warning light illuminated indicating failure of the emergency lubrication system, resulting in the subsequent ditching of the helicopters.

However, subsequent strip examinations of the MGBs indicated the presence of glycol throughout and no visual evidence of heat damage, indicating that the system had lubricated and cooled the MGB. An investigation determined that an error in the specification issued to the pressure switch manufacturer resulted in switches that will always illuminate the MGB emergency lubrication warning light after activation of the system, requiring the crew to land immediately.

Eurocopter issued an Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) on Feb. 22 to modify the wiring on the helicopter to be compatible with the pressure switches. On the same day, EASA issued an Airworthiness Directive to mandate the ASB.

In the meantime, the AAIB is also recommending that EASA and the United States Federal Aviation Administration require the manufacturers of aircraft equipped with a Type 15-503 crash position indicator (CPI) system, or similar automatically deployable emergency locator transmitter, to review and amend, if necessary, the respective flight manuals to ensure they contain information about any features that could inhibit automatic deployment. The CPI on G-REDW did not release automatically; the design of the water activated switch and the location of the water activated switch relative to the water level following the ditching are being investigated as possible causes for the non-deployment of the CPI.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

Incorrect specification caused EC225 emergency lubrication system fault

Incorrect specifications supplied to a company manufacturing the pressure switches used in the emergency lubrication system of certain Eurocopter EC225s resulted in an erroneous failure message being displayed to two crews, who subsequently ditched in the North Sea.

The latest update on the incidents in May and October last year issued by the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch reveals that the crews of both helicopters - G-REDW and G-CHCN, respectively - received the warning message indicating a failure in the main gearbox emergency lubrication system around 30s after it was activated.

Although the primary lubrication system had ceased operating in both cases due to a fractured drive shaft, the back-up system was working correctly, the AAIB says.

However, standard operating procedure mandates an immediate landing if the emergency system fails. This was safely performed in both cases.

The AAIB says the fault, introduced when Eurocopter modified the system in 2010, was "the most likely cause" of the incorrect warning displayed during the accidents. It also identified an issue with the crash position indicators fitted to both aircraft, with the manufacturer now taking action to resolve this, it says.

Eurocopter is yet to identify the root cause behind the fractures of the bevel gear vertical shaft at fault in both accidents. As a result, over-water flights of the type are still restricted in both the UK and Norway, with operators elsewhere taking a similarly cautious view.

Although a third campaign of testing on the component has been completed, the manufacturer is yet to release the results.

The airframer could also still face compensation claims from EC225 operators struggling with disruption to their services as a result of the effective groundings in force.

CHC Helicopter - parent company of CHC Scotia, the operator of G-CHCN - warns in its latest financial statements that it "preserve[s] our rights to recover any losses we may experience" from the restrictions in place, although it notes that no material impact was felt during the quarter to 31 January.

However, fellow EC225 operator ERA Helicopters highlighted in its full-year results on 27 February the difficulties it could face. "With no definitive timeline in place for the EC225 to return to service, a reduction or cancellation of customer contracts for those EC225 helicopters that we operate and for those operated by our contract-lease customers around the world could have an adverse effect on our financial results," it says.

It has been forced to return to service a number of parked AgustaWestland AW139s in order to support its offshore operations in Brazil. "During this challenging time, the operational capabilities of the AW139 helicopter have been demonstrated with great effect in serving to fill the needs of our EC225 customers," it says.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit design basics- perfect nature equivalent

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit design basics- perfect nature equivalent | D-FENS | Scoop.it
Christian Albrecht's insight:

advanced wing/body profile - perfectly designed by nature ©

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

B-52 Training Flight (2013)

Video by Senior Airman Jael Laborn 3rd Combat Camera Squadron
War week is an exercise which incorporates Aerial Refueling, Weapons Tactics and High Altitude Maneuvering.

Christian Albrecht's insight:

0:47 - targeting your backyard?

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

Sikorsky, Boeing Propose X2 Technology Helicopter Design for U.S. Army Joint Multi-Role Future Vertical Lift Requirements

Sikorsky, Boeing Propose X2 Technology Helicopter Design for U.S. Army Joint Multi-Role Future Vertical Lift Requirements | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Sikorsky, Boeing Propose X2 Technology Helicopter Design for U.S. Army Joint Multi-Role Future Vertical Lift Requirements.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., and Boeing will submit a joint proposal to build a demonstrator aircraft based on Sikorsky X2 Technology rotorcraft design for the Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Technology Demonstrator (TD) Phase 1 program.

The JMR TD program supports the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) initiative to deliver the next generation of vertical lift utility and attack aircraft.

“The Sikorsky-Boeing proposal will demonstrate how X2 Technology with counter-rotating coaxial main rotors and a pusher propeller, and advanced fly-by-wire system, will deliver efficient 230-knot cruise airspeed, improved hover efficiency, and weight optimized design in an affordable package,” said Samir Mehta, president of Sikorsky Military Systems. “By leveraging our proven design, we can offer the Army reduced risk, a 100-knot improvement in speed, a 60 percent improvement in combat radius and 50 percent better high-hot hover performance.”

“The Sikorsky-Boeing team for JMR TD is truly a team of equals,” said Leanne Caret, vice president and general manager of Boeing's Vertical Lift division. “Sikorsky will take the lead role in this JMR TD Phase 1 proposal, and Boeing will take a lead role for Phase 2, for the mission systems demonstrator program.

“Our companies are fully committed to the long term nature of the Future Vertical Lift initiative and we will contribute equally in terms of capital, technological capability and risk on our path to the FVL with the Army,” said Caret.

Proposals for JMR TD Phase 1 are due to the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate by March 6, 2013. The Army is expected to announce its selection of one or more winning bids in late 2013. Demonstrator aircraft are expected to fly in 2017.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

Denmark Pursues Alternatives to F-35

Faced with growing costs in the Lockheed Martin F-35 program, Denmark is reviewing its options for a new fighter and has invited Boeing (F/A-18 Super Hornet), Eurofighter (Typhoon) and Saab (Gripen E) to submit information for alternatives. A decision is due in 2015. Dassault (Rafale) may have been approached, but at the time of writing appeared unlikely to respond. The company has a history of not bidding on programs that it calculates have little chance of success.

 

Denmark’s participation in the F-35 industrial program as a Level 3 partner was based on plans to procure 48 F-35As to replace its F-16 fleet one-for-one. Being a partner, however, does not oblige any country to purchase F-35s. Given its dwindling defense budget and escalating F-35 costs, Denmark might not be able to afford even half of the planned total.

 

Although it has bought aircraft from European suppliers before, including Drakens from Saab, Denmark has exhibited a strong preference for U.S. equipment. If the F-35 is not selected, Boeing’s Super Hornet has a strong chance, and has received considerable interest in recent years. Eurofighter–which previously withdrew from the Danish bidding process in 2007–now claims that its Typhoon would offer reduced costs to Denmark through interoperability with key NATO allies. Saab, meanwhile, has been pitching Gripen variants to Denmark for many years. Its Gripen DK proposal, along with a similar aircraft aimed at Norway, was the first public showing of a heavier, longer-range derivative that has evolved into the Gripen E now in development for Sweden and Switzerland.

 

These requests for information make Denmark the latest F-35 international partner to re-examine its planned purchase. In December Canada asked Boeing, Dassault, Eurofighter and Saab for information to enable a review of its fighter requirements. In the Netherlands the F-35 has faced substantial opposition, with parliament choosing to scrap the buy in a vote taken last June. Dutch participation, including the purchase of two test aircraft, was subsequently restored, but the country has deferred a purchase decision to 2015.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

Dutch F-35 Orders Likely Scaled Back

Dutch F-35 Orders Likely Scaled Back | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Dutch orders for the Pentagon's F-35 warplane are likely to be cut back, sources close to the discussions told Reuters, citing cost overruns and delays in the program,...

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

New Sikorsky helicopters now in Colombia's fleet - S70i Black Hawk

New Sikorsky helicopters now in Colombia's fleet - S70i  Black Hawk | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Colombia's Army is using its five newest versions of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.'s Black Hawk helicopters for the South American nation's special forces, authorities say.

The S-70i versions of the aircraft were built at Sikorsky's Mielec, Poland, plant and shipped to Stratford. Pricing wasn't disclosed. Thursday.

Colombian Army pilots then flew the choppers 4,334 miles from Stratford to their homeland, via Central America, officials said.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

No tanker role for UK A400Ms

No tanker role for UK A400Ms | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The UK has no requirement to use its future fleet of Airbus Military A400M Atlas tactical transports in a secondary tanker role, minister for defence equipment, support and technology Philip Dunne has confirmed.

"The Ministry of Defence has recently refreshed its study into requirements for air-to-air refuelling capability," Dunne said on 14 March. "This concluded that [the A330] Voyager will meet all requirements; therefore, there is no need for an air-to-air refuelling capability by the A400M Atlas."

 

Three aircraft from an eventual core fleet of nine Voyagers are in Royal Air Force use, under a private finance initiative deal with the AirTanker consortium. The modified A330s are being used in a passenger transport role, pending release-to-service approval for the type's air-to-air refuelling system - a milestone which AirTanker has previously described as "imminent".

A total of 14 A330s will be provided under the UK's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft programme, with five of these to made available for third-party use but kept at short-notice readiness to support a surge in operations, if required.

Airbus Military is scheduled to deliver the RAF's first of 22 A400Ms to the service's Brize Norton air base in Oxfordshire in September 2014, with two further examples to follow later the same year. Eight more will be handed over to the UK in 2015, with the type also due to achieve in-service status in March of that year.

Deliveries to the RAF will continue with the transfer of six aircraft in 2016 and two each during the following two years, before a gap to the planned acceptance of its last example in 2021.

The A400M will be delivered with an in-built tanker capability, with some nations expected to acquire hose-and-drogue refuelling pods and/or hose drum units to provide an in-flight refuelling capability to support fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

Eurocopter EC175 wraps up United States demo tour

Eurocopter EC175 wraps up United States demo tour | D-FENS | Scoop.it
Eurocopter is reporting that the EC175’s performance, advanced avionics, handling qualities and operational safety received rave reviews during a U.S. demonstration tour of this next-generation medium-sized, twin-engine helicopter for airlift providers to the off-shore oil and gas sector, as well as the law enforcement and emergency medical services sectors. Performed with the no. 1 series production EC175, the three-week multi-state tour enabled pilots, support personnel, managers and others to experience the EC175’s capabilities first-hand during flights conducted from locations along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The helicopter also came to Las Vegas, Nev. for display at the Heli-Expo 2013 industry show. Eurocopter said converging feedback included high marks for the helicopter’s responsiveness, its smooth and quiet ride, visibility, flight system and cabin comfort. “The EC175 is the first helicopter to be truly designed with customers in mind, taking into account extensive consultation with operators and end-users,” said Eurocopter president and CEO Lutz Bertling. “Feedback from throughout the EC175’s U.S. demonstration tour confirms our success in meeting their needs.” Pilots from multiple oil and gas airlift providers — along with those from law enforcement agencies and emergency medical transportation operators — were given time at the EC175’s controls, while employees of these companies were aboard the helicopter in the evaluations performed from Feb. 25 to March 15.  During more than 50 flight hours logged in the demonstrations, 285 crew members and passengers were flown in on-shore and off-shore operations. Among the comments received were: “The EC175 flies like a magic carpet — smooth and quiet;” “Its avionics system is second to none;” “Performance is superior, with excellent acceleration and deceleration;” “Visibility is outstanding;” and “The EC175 is simply the most advanced, safety-oriented helicopter in the world today.” The helicopter’s new Helionix avionics was widely praised by pilots who were able to assess this advanced system’s flight envelope protection, pilot assistance and situational awareness in their hands-on evaluations. Helionix further extends the avionics systems already proven on Eurocopter’s EC225 helicopter, and incorporates the most innovative alerting and self-monitoring system. “There is no other aircraft available today with an avionics suite as advanced as on the EC175,” one pilot said. “The EC175 has superior safety qualities along with superior performance qualities.” In addition, the oil and gas community confirmed the EC175’s speed advantage: a recommended cruise speed of 150 knots in smooth flight conditions, with a maximum cruise speed that exceeds 165 knots. Highlighted as well during the demonstrations was the EC175’s range, providing the reach needed by off-shore service providers and other operators. An oil and gas-configured EC175 is capable of carrying 16 passengers to a radius of action (RoA) of 140 nautical miles, while an ultra long-range reach approaching an RoA of 200 nautical miles is possible when 12 passengers are carried. Also recognized by the operators is Eurocopter’s commitment to provide a mature helicopter at the EC175’s service entry, supported by a dedicated task force and tools that include validated support and services deliverables, along with established training capabilities. During its U.S. visit, Eurocopter organized EC175 visits to New Iberia, Lafayette and Lake Charles, La.; concluding with a three-day wrap-up at Houston, Texas. These stopovers included presentations on topics that ranged from operations and performance to Eurocopter’s innovative support and services available for the EC175. The EC175 has been airlifted back to Europe aboard a chartered cargo jetliner, and this helicopter is to be used for follow-on demonstration tours planned later in 2013 to several additional regions of the world.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

Marines Extend Kaman's K-MAX Unmanned Helicopter's Use In Afghanistan

Marines Extend Kaman's K-MAX Unmanned Helicopter's Use In Afghanistan | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The U.S. Marine Corps has extended indefinitely its use of two unmanned K-MAX cargo helicopters in Afghanistan, a Navy spokeswoman said, noting the aircraft kept re-supply trucks off the road and reduced the threat of roadside bombs.

The Marine Corps sent the new autonomous helicopters, which were developed by Lockheed Martin Corp and Bloomfield-basedKaman Corp , to Afghanistan in November 2011 for an initial, limited deployment, but has extended their use several times.

Now, Naval Air Systems Command has decided to continue using the aircraft indefinitely, said Jamie Cosgrove, a spokeswoman for the Navy command, which also oversees Marine Corps aircraft.

She said there were no current plans to buy more K-MAX helicopters, but the two aircraft in Afghanistan would remain there "until otherwise directed."

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

Air Force set to arm AC-130W with Hellfire missiles

Air Force set to arm AC-130W with Hellfire missiles | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Air Force Special Operations Command hopes to mount the Hellfire missile to the AC-130W in the next ten months, a top acquisition official said Wednesday.

Air Force Col. Michael Schmidt, the program executive officer for U.S. Special Operations Command’s Fixed-Wing, explained that once the funding was line up, it wouldn’t take long to integrate the “proven weapons system” onto the AC-130W. While sequestration and the continuing resolution budget cuts have made that more of a challenge, Schmidt remained confident that the Pentagon would fund the integration.

AFSOC has already integrated the Hellfire missile on to the MC-130W Dragon Spear. Schmidt said the Air Force would mount F-15 racks onto the hard points of the AC-130W and then load the Hellfire missiles onto the aircraft.

The AC-130W is widely known for the 30mm modified MK-44 cannon, but less so for the GBU-44/B Viper Strike laser guided missile. Adding the Hellfire missile will maintain the recent theme seen in AFSOC acquisition of providing a variety of munition options on aircraft to commanders.

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Christian Albrecht
Scoop.it!

Volga-Dnepr Ready To Transport More Helicopters - AN-124 - IL-76

Volga-Dnepr Ready To Transport More Helicopters - AN-124 - IL-76 | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Russian-owned outsize cargo specialist Volga-Dnepr has many years experience moving all types of helicopters around the planet, whether in support of contracts or on delivery flights for manufacturers. The company (Booth No. C702) was founded in 1990 and can transport anything from MD 500s up to Mil Mi-8s/17s and SikorskyCH-53s or S-64s.

 

 

“The company has been moving helicopters almost since day one,” said Axel Kaldschmidt, a senior account executive based in Houston, “perhaps not surprisingly as they are sensitive and high value. We are pretty niche in using the An-124 and new Stage 4 [noise compliant] Il-76. We have ten Antonovs and five Il-76s.” Volga-Dnepr is the world’s largest An-124 operator.

Georgy Sokolov, Volga-Dnepr sales manager at the parent company’s base at London Stansted Airport in the UK, told AIN, “Just to give a rough idea, our Antonov 124-100 aircraft can load four Mi-17 helicopters in one flight–just the blades have to be removed–or two Chinook helicopters in one flight. We fly helicopters for Sikorsky, Agusta, Eurocopter, Kazan Helicopter and many others all the time. The range of routes is without limit–pretty much anywhere to anywhere, the longest ones being from Europe via the U.S. or Canada to Australia for the Australian military.”

The company is at Heli-Expo because, said Peter Baldauf, sales executive at Houston-based Volga-Dnepr Unique Air Cargo, “we get to see all the manufacturers and operators. The manufacturers know us and the operators are beginning to know us.” The company has been exhibiting at Heli-Expo “for at least the last five years. It’s a very relevant show for us, and we often have to answer the question, ‘Why are you guys here?’” said Baldauf.

“Our smaller aircraft, the Ilyushin 76TD-90VD, is not that impressive in terms of volume but it can transport two Mi-17s or a Super Puma, although more deeply dismantled,” said Sokolov.

“We can get a Super Puma into [the Il-76] so you don’t necessarily have to charter a full An-124, said Baldauf. “That’s to move one at a time, whereas a 124 can get three in. [Or] you can get six Bell helicopters in; for example, 212s. Once we did six 212s and a 222 in one lift.” The Il-76 is “about half the size” of the An-124, he explained.

Volga-Dnepr carried out about 80 helicopter transport missions last year. “It’s a mix between new aircraft deliveries and operators moving assets for their next contractual obligation,” said Kaldschmidt. Volga-Dnepr is often called in because there have been delays, and shipping via ocean freight is no longer a fast-enough option to meet contractual obligations. With helicopters (which account for around 10 to 15 percent of Volga-Dnepr’s work), air shipping tends to be a preferred method due to their high value and need to take care to avoid any damage.

“Operators face the same challenge we do,” said Baldauf. “If it’s not flying, it’s not making money, not to mention the exposure to loading, unloading, etc. With us, we put it in and open the doors at the other end and it’s exactly as we left it [which could be] just hours later, on the other side of the planet.” Up to 12 cargo attendants can also go along with the shipment, he added, to look after the load and assemble/reassemble at the destination.

Helicopters aren’t a challenge weight-wise for Volga’s aircraft, with the An-124 capable of transporting up to 120 metric tons. “Our engineering side kicks in to calculate loading and to design shipping supports to meet the floor requirements,” said Kaldschmidt. Helicopters are “one of the more sensitive pieces of equipment, so there is more attention to detail especially keeping the operators informed.”

“We’ve done so many uplifts we’ve amassed a great amount of knowledge–a library, in fact,” said Baldauf. “So we know not only whether it will fit, but all the specifics; for example, that the vertical stabilizer and rotor need to come off. It takes a lot of guesswork out.”

Volga also has a sister company, Air Bridge Cargo, which operates 12 Boeing 747s (including three 747-8s) plus it owns Air Cargo Germany. Most of the maintenance of the fleet is carried out at Volga-Dnepr Technics in Ulyanovsk, Russia, where the company operates the only An-124 simulator. Based in Moscow, the maintenance arm also has a hangar at Leipzig Halle Airport in Germany, which was opened in January. Two of the An-124s are based at Halle.

more...
No comment yet.
Curated by Christian Albrecht
Aviation, Space, Defense, Innovations,Technology, Science