AMSTERDAM, Oct. 10, 2016 – One of the first pilots to fly a FastFin®-equipped Airbus H125 helicopter says the improvements to handling and tail rotor margin are even more noticeable in the modified Airbus than with the system’s iconic predecessor.
Though they are based on the same aerodynamic principles, the H125 FastFin differs from BLR Aerospace’s flagship product for Bell mediums because it does not modify the vertical fin but is comprised of an Advanced Tailboom Aerodynamic Cowling (ATAC), a Tailboom Strake and Vortex Generators.
Thirty-year helicopter pilot Jon Bourke flew the soon-to-be-certified H125 performance enhancement system last month in Gunnison, Colorado (elevation 7,000 feet). Bourke is the chief pilot of Helicopter Express and routinely flies Airbus H125, Bell 205, Bell 407, and Bell 206B/L aircraft for Part 135 charter, firefighting, external load, search-and-rescue, and aerial filming work.
Bourke said pilots will immediately notice that the aircraft requires “a lot less footwork,” adding, “the difference was especially noticeable when transitioning to forward flight.” The system also makes the aircraft “a lot less nervous to hover, and easier to pick up and land smoothly.” Bourke sees obvious benefit in the FastFin kit for H125 operators performing external load work. “It gives you more control margin in high-altitude conditions and a better comfort margin for critical work.” In addition to enhancing margin, Bourke said FastFin is a “production enhancer if you elect to take advantage of the additional weight you can carry.”
FastFin uses advanced airflow management to increase the effectiveness of the H125 anti-torque system and an extensive flight test program has demonstrated significant performance improvements. For example, with as much as a 10 percent increase in available right pedal, aircraft useful load may be increased up to 130 pounds in OGE hover for most temperature/altitude combinations. In hot and high operations, FastFin has been shown to provide an increase IGE hover useful load of as much as 85 pounds. Additional benefits include a reduction in pilot workload, easier control in precision hover-hold operations and better management of the yaw axis when hovering in challenging crosswinds.
BLR expects Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification of the H125 FastFin System and its performance charts in November, according to company President Mike Carpenter. Approvals from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Transport Canada and Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC) are expected to follow.
Once certified, the system will be available to the aftermarket and as a factory-installed STC option on new Airbus H125 helicopters.
Company representatives will be available to answer questions and take pre-certification orders at stand 12F70 during the Helitech International Helicopter Expo & Conference, Oct. 11-13 in Amsterdam.
About BLR Aerospace
BLR Aerospace is fully devoted to performance innovation. With performance enhancing products now on more than 5,000 helicopters and airplanes worldwide, and endorsed by industry-leading OEMs such as Airbus Helicopters, Textron Aviation and Bell Helicopters, we back our superior designs with unsurpassed manufacturing quality.