FastFin systems gaining popularity in Europe: BLR Aerospace
Oct. 14, 2014, Amsterdam, Ned. - With EASA approval in hand, an increasing number of European operators are equipping their helicopters with the FastFin Tail Rotor Enhancement and Stability System from BLR Aerospace.
By Carey Fredericks
The company has delivered four systems to Agrarflug Helilift in Ahlen, Germany, two to Heli Austria, and four to the U.K. Ministry of Defence. The ten FastFin-equipped helicopters are flying critical missions in challenging environments, often at high altitudes, in locations that range from Africa and Cyprus to Spain and Ecuador.
In Cyprus, the U.K. Ministry of Defence is flying Bell 412s for firefighting and search and rescue missions at elevations ranging from sea level to 6,000 feet density altitude. Heli Austria performs utility work in the Alps with its 212 and 412 aircraft. Agrarflug flies 40 Bell Mediums worldwide for firefighting and offshore oil transport. Agrarflug is operating several FastFin equipped aircraft and additional installations to their remaining fleet are underway.
Agargflug says its Bell Medium fleet performs reliably in a wide range of challenging environments, and the addition of FastFin makes the aircraft better still, with improved safety margins and increased performance. “FastFin helps us meet and stay ahead of market demands,” said Hans Kraskes, Maintenance Director at Agrarflug. “For our operation, the decision to combine the proven platform from Bell and new technology from BLR has been a smart and beneficial solution.”
The FastFin System improves the operational efficiency and effectiveness of Bell Mediums by enhancing hover load, wind azimuth tolerance, hover stability and safety.
“With FastFin, most operators will receive between a 10 and 90 percent increase in useful load depending on specific model and density altitude,” said Dave Marone, vice president of sales and marketing for BLR Aerospace. “European operators flying in demanding conditions and challenging environments can expect measurable improvements in safety and reduced pilot workload by adding FastFin to their Bell mediums.”
FastFin is EASA certified for installation on Bell 205, 212 and 412 helicopters. Popular in Europe, the combined fleet of Bell and Agusta Bell mediums totals several hundred in number.
In 2010, Bell Helicopter made FastFin standard equipment on new Bell 412EPs, and today more than 650 FastFin systems are operating worldwide, supporting diverse missions across all rotorcraft market segments. 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 authority and wind azimuth tolerance. FastFin also reduces operating costs and reduces cycle fatigue in structures and demands on tail rotor rotating components.
Operators of Bell Medium helicopters are invited to visit BLR Aerospace (Exhibit D10) during Helitech for information and a custom return on investment report.