Editor's Viewpoint: Welcome to 2011 and All Things Rotary-Wing

In conjunction with the Helicopter International Association’s 2011 Heli-Expo being held in Orlando, FL, March 5-8, the January/February issue of AMT magazine has a helicopter maintenance theme. Much of the general public and even many people who work in the aviation industry generally are focused on fixed-wing aircraft and are either not familiar with helicopters or just not interested in rotary wing aircraft in general. Yet helicopters serve such a vital and important role each and every day, with operations in civilian, government, and military organizations around the world.

In my youth I spent some limited time maintaining smaller reciprocating engine helicopters and on occasion would get to take a flight in one. It had been awhile since my last involvement with helicopters until it came time to prepare for this issue. What fun I had connecting with this segment of aviation!

In this issue we’ve compiled several articles relating to helicopter maintenance from several different segments of aviation. I was privileged to get a firsthand look at how the Minnesota Army National Guard accomplishes maintenance on its fleet of Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters. I want to extend a huge thank you to the men and women soldier technicians for not only assisting with the article but for their service to this country.

In December I visited Heli-One a large helicopter MRO near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Lanny Reynolds contributed an article on one of the company’s many maintenance programs, this one relating to the tailboom on the AW139. And finally a small local helicopter flight school shares some of its maintenance tips and insights into helicopter maintenance. Don’t forget about the Heli-Expo; AMT will be there experiencing all things rotary-wing.

The 2011 FAA approved Recurrent Training Exam is included in this issue. The exam which is based on AMT 2010 articles is good for six hours credit toward the FAA Aviation Maintenance Technicians Awards program or four hours credit toward Inspection Authorization (IA) renewal. Speaking of the IA, Steve Prentice, our legal contributor, talks about the FAA’s proposed policy change for application and renewal of IA as it relates to technicians being “actively engaged” in aircraft maintenance. This proposal has created a huge concern for holders of the IA and AMT has received much feedback from concerned technicians.

Chromalloy Castings hosted a tour of its new facility in Tampa, FL, and AMT was there. This impressive clean-sheet designed facility manufactures turbine engine blades FAA approved under a parts manufacturing approval. You can read more about this high-tech facility and its process focused staff in this issue.

Last but not least the 2011 Cygnus Aviation Expo will be held in Las Vegas, NV, Feb. 23-25, www.cygnusaviationexpo.com. You will be able to attend training events, development sessions, networking opportunities, and see the latest products and services relating to maintenance, airports, ground support equipment, and more. Along with all this, AMTSociety promises to host another great Maintenance Skills Competition this year.

Thanks for reading AMT, Ron