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Helicopters: FAA approves new Erickson blades for main rotor

They will modernize the S-64 Air Crane and CH-54 Skycrane fleets worldwide

Erickson Inc., one of the major operators, maintainers and manufacturers of utility aircraft, has announced the approval -by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)- of its new composite blades of latest generation for main helicopter rotor, a technology that will benefit the world fleets of S-64 Air Crane and CH-54 Skycrane helicopters (including models in the Italian Fire Brigade's fleet).

A demanding project, the industry itself informs it, which started working on the new blades in 2008 in close collaboration with the FAA and with several other partners. A collaboration that in 2013 also involved Helicopter Transport Services (HTS), and which led to the possibility of using the new blades as well as on the S-64, also on the CH-54 model. It came to 2015, when Erickson, to maintain control of the entire production line, created a structure from nothing for the construction of the composite material necessary for the project. After thousands of hours of design, testing and analysis by Portland's industry technicians and partners, the new composite blades of the main rotor for the S-64E are now approved by the highest American certification body, the FAA indeed, with an initial life that will increase as the fatigue tests continue.

Certification for compatibility with the CH-54A is expected shortly, or in the coming weeks; instead that one for the S-64F and CH-54B models is expected for next Summer.

"The CMRB (Composite Main Rotor Blade) program confirms our commitment to innovation by looking at new generation programs for the modernization of the S-64 Air Crane helicopter fleet and its derivatives" Doug Kitani, CEO of the overseas company, added it-. "In its capacity as an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) provider, and as an aircraft operator, Erickson continues to go further to look for new and reliable solutions that allow our customers to fly longer, safely and always at the best price".

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency