FastFin fuels record sales at BLR Aerospace
February 10, 2012 By Carey Fredericks
Feb. 10, 2012, Dallas, Tx. - Market acceptance of the FastFin Tail Rotor Enhancement and Stability System is fueling record growth for BLR Aerospace, in large part due to OEM and operator acceptance of the FastFin System for Bell medium helicopters, according to Dave Marone, vice president of Sales and Marketing for BLR.
BLR representatives will be available to discuss FastFin technology during Heli-Expo 2012 (Exhibit 8846, Hall F). Visitors may also receive an immediate fleet performance analysis tailored to their aircraft and operating environment.
Total sales of FastFin Systems to the aftermarket increased more than 80 percent in 2011. In just 18 months, BLR equipped nearly 10 percent of the fielded Bell 412 fleet with FastFin. The company’s order book represents a cross-section of rotorcraft industry market segments, including firefighting (Los Angeles County Fire Department), EMS (Telstra Child Flight), airborne law (New York Police Department), offshore oil (Falcon Aviation Services), heli-skiing/rescue/firefighting (Wildcat Helicopters) and paramilitary/VIP transport (government of Colombia), among others.
In 2011, the FAA approved a Flight Manual Supplement (FMS) certifying up to 500 pounds of additional out-of-ground effect hover performance for Bell 212s equipped with FastFin. The same approval is expected soon from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). With the FastFin® System, most Bell 212 operators will increase their useful load between 10 and 15 percent and greatly improve their crosswind capabilities. Bell 412s equipped with FastFin can realize useful load increases up to 91 percent.
“FastFin sales validate the system’s demonstrable advantages,” Marone said. “The operating community and the OEM have been receptive and enthusiastic.” For example:
Larry Roberts, senior vice president, Commercial Business, Bell Helicopter: “We’ve made FastFin standard on the Bell 412. I think that speaks volumes.”
Mike Michaud, owner, Wildcat Helicopters: “FastFin is a resounding success for our 212 fleet. We benefit from payload advantages and typically can carry 20 percent more water for firefighting. We also realize greatly improved stability and maneuverability in strong wind conditions.”
AJ Baker, vice president, Business Development & Strategy for Falcon Aviation Services: “We see clear improvements in aircraft handling, better stability in cross winds (especially with heavy external loads) and significant safety benefits when operating from offshore platforms.”
Tom Short, senior pilot, Los Angeles County Fire Department: “FastFin benefits our operation during OGE hoist operations and maximum gross weight payloads during IGE/OGE firefighting operations with water/retardant payloads. I prefer flying our Bell 412 with FastFin.”
FastFin installation is quick and efficient. The system includes two parallel stall strips, known as Dual Tail Boom Strakes, on the tail boom and a reshaped vertical fin. FastFin optimizes air flow 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.