EVERETT, Wash., April 16, 2012 – When it comes to military helicopter operations, the FastFin® Tail Rotor Enhancement and Stability System is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Multiple branches within the Military Forces of Colombia are among the most recent military operators to try – and then buy — the FastFin system, according to Dave Marone, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for BLR Aerospace. A rigorous and comprehensive in-country flight test program validated the system’s certified performance data. In a letter to BLR, Brigadier General Javier Enrique Rey Navas, Chief of the Army Aviation Division of Air Assault, wrote that testing in “the most demanding conditions of performance confirmed the effectiveness of the system (and) the optimization of the air flow, reducing the pilot work load, considerably improving the performance of the helicopter in high density altitude, improving the performance of crosswind tolerance, and improving the stability of the aircraft in all attitudes of flight.”
Eleven FastFin systems have been installed on Bell 412s, 212s, and UH-1s flying for the Colombian Air Force, Army, Navy and National Police. The presidential fleet is among those aircraft with the FastFin retrofit.
The results of the flight test program were gratifying, but not surprising, Marone said. “FastFin is becoming must-have technology, and those who test the system consistently decide to add it to their fleets. Our track record is 100 percent in that regard.” Military operators in the Philippines, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Thailand and Korea are all actively evaluating FastFin, Marone said.
The U.S. Department of State was the early adopter in the U.S. for the system, and most recently the Indonesian Army took delivery of its first two FastFin-equipped Bell 412s.
BLR is represented in Colombia by Aeronautic Investments, Inc. Carlos Ordonez, the company’s general manager, said FastFin is ideal for those operating in challenging environments. Colombia’s diverse geography ranges from rain forests to rugged mountains, which may reach up to 18,700 ft (5,700 m) above sea level, and, although FastFin is beneficial across the operational envelope, it delivers the most dramatic performance enhancements in hot/high conditions. Latin American operators flying at high-density altitudes will find that FastFin helps them operate much more efficiently and safely, Ordonez said.
More than 350 FastFin Systems are operating worldwide, and in just 18 months, BLR equipped nearly 10 percent of the fielded Bell 412 fleet with the system. Total sales of FastFin Systems to the aftermarket increased more than 80 percent in 2011. In addition to market acceptance, Bell Helicopter is installing FastFin on factory new Bell 412s.
FastFin installation is quick and efficient. The system includes two parallel stall strips, known as Dual Tailboom Strakes, on the tailboom and a reshaped vertical fin. FastFin optimizes airflow around the tailboom, dramatically improving tail rotor efficiency and wind azimuth tolerance. FastFin also reduces operating costs and reduces cycle fatigue in structures and demands on tail rotor rotating components.
About BLR Aerospace
BLR develops high-performance aerodynamic solutions for fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and backs its superior designs with unsurpassed manufacturing quality. Products include FastFin, Dual Tailboom Strakes, Winglets and vortex generators for customers that include industry-leading OEMs and operators worldwide. Note to editors: It is no longer accurate to refer to BLR Aerospace as Boundary Layer Research.