What goes up must come down, is an age old adage that we in aviation hold particularly sacred. The come down part is generally best suited when it is in line with the intentions of the flight crew.
Adaptation of the gyroscope to aviation is considered by many to be the single most important event that has allowed our industry to progress, and throughout the years inertial information has been used to provide flight crews with the data necessary to safely maneuver aircraft through the atmosphere. A close second to the gyro could very well be the advances in navigation. With the implementation of precisely positioned earth orbiting satellites many other forms of radio navigation and even sophisticated compass systems have for all practical purposes become obsolete.
Adding a helicopter
Suppose one day your boss comes in and says, “We want to add another single engine helicopter. Go find one adequate to do the job.” So what are the first steps, of course after ordering an additional supply of stress medicine?
Definition of the primary mission along with available funding can often provide key guidelines. Another factor is timeline. If the boss wants to place the machine in service within six months and the lead time for a new aircraft is a year and a half then options become somewhat limited. When perusing the pre-owned market despite what the salesman or broker says, these are still used aircraft. They were configured to satisfy someone else’s mission and questions regarding previous operation and maintenance should be addressed. Ideally finding a seller with a similar profile and circumstance can provide the easiest transition.
As with any aircraft transaction, a thorough review of records including flight logs can provide an accurate indication of how the aircraft will operate as well as enable future owners to anticipate upcoming expenses.
One of the first candidates that I encountered looked like it had it all. The price was a bit high but still within the guidelines depending on what else would need to be accomplished. There were about 600 flight hours recorded in the logs and for an eight-year-old aircraft it appeared a bit underutilized. Perhaps that’s why it was being sold. As I delved into the specifications list it became apparent the current owner liked gadgets. It had it all including auto-pilot and weather radar. Eventually I reached the weight and balance documents and turned up an interesting fact. It seems that if the aircraft were to take off with a full load of fuel it could carry the pilot and one half of a passenger. Unfortunately the only way this machine would fit the mission would be to remove most of the bells and whistles.
Second and third prospects
The next prospect was a police force retiree with a mere 13,000 hours time in service. While it wasn’t pretty inside or out, it did have several things in its favor. First the price was right and secondly the maintenance history was impeccable. Even the instrument panel had all the essentials and a few of the wish list items. The police decommissioning process had removed about 500 pounds of specialized equipment including wiring. While in the planning process to initiate this aircraft into its new life my cell phone rang and it was the sales representative who had advised me earlier of the 18-month lead time for a new aircraft. He had word of a customer who had a new aircraft scheduled for delivery within two weeks and would be willing to sell it.
A review of the equipment list produced an image of a Spartan helicopter. The flight instruments consisted of a magnetic compass, inclinometer, altimeter, and an airspeed indicator.
It was obvious that supplemental equipment would have to be added but considering the limitations at hand what would provide the most bang for the buck? It was decided that mission considerations would provide the insight as to what instrumentation would be included.
A look at analog and digital communications.
Becker Avionics Introduces a New Maritime VHF Dual Band Transceiver for the Polycon Wireless Intercom Extension System
The MP20 dual-band transceiver now features a Maritime VHF radio component in addition to the UHF radio used for communication with the aircraft intercom system.