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Maintenance Update

img_0457_1.jpgWell G-EWAW is getting a good rest and a thorough maintenance check. PDG have had my machine since last Monday and are performing a 100hr and 300hr check on her. The compressor was also due an inspection so that will get done too. I also had a short list of items that required attention which I hope they will get the chance to do, if the weather has anything to do with it, then I suspect they will have it into early January! I am in fact quite happy that G-EWAW is down at PDG because it

The odds and sods were nothing of significance, but included connecting a TOT reset key that had never been working, replacing the backlight bulbs on my VOR. N1 gauge and the compass so they can all be seen at night. We had also found that the throttle had become very stiff so they are replacing the throttle cable and also the collective had become ‘notchy’ and made it difficult to operate in a precise manner. On inspection of the main rotor head, PDG identified, some wear in a component on the swash plate and they were certain this was the cause of the problem on the collective , so that has been removed and is being sent to Sloane Helicopters for attention. They are all doing their best to have it returned prior to Xmas so that I can have it back during the New Year period, but to be honest I’m not holding my breath.

A major consideration for this inspection is the starts which have become very poor. I have previously written about these having a tendency to be very warm and although we changed the FCU (a scheduled change), replaced the starter generator and one or two other things, they have become poor again. So much so that it was becoming impossible to fire the machine without using a ground power unit in conjunction with the internal battery. A procedure that isn’t recomended but was necessary in the last few weeks to get her going.

The correction of this problem was to be number 1 priority on the list of things to do and the boys at PDG have concluded that my battery is actually the problem. This is slightly disappointing as I only had it fitted in March and is therefore less than 6 months old. I purchased it directly from the supplier and had it shipped to PDG for installation so I will have to deal with that element on my return although a new one is being ordered prior to my return to the UK.

Other items are unlikely to get done including a pre-flight kit that I bought in January and mainly provides for the installation of flight steps on the outside of the machine to stop me having to stand on the seats to conduct my pre-flight. They will get fitted eventually I guess. So that’s he update so far. I’ll keep you posted.

Dodgy Torque meter !

G-EWAW Torquemeter 004I’ve been experiencing a problem with my Torque meter recently. It was an intermittent problem, but it needed rectifying all the same. Basically, it was impossible to keep it below 40PSI on run up, which it should easily have been capable of and, it would almost immediately begin to show 70PSI. Once in flight, it would read accurately, (more or less), but if you put the machine into auto, it wouldn’t read any less than 70 PSI so it was clearly not a happy bunny. Furthermore the needle would oscillate  rapidly between two narrow levels (e.g. 70psi – 71psi). Continue reading

Busy Week!


Its been a busy week. So busy in fact that I’ve had very little time to blog. So I’m playing catch up. The weather has been, so good that I think I’ve flown every day.

Continue reading

Busy, busy, busy !

CY4OR's new Pilot

CY4OR's new Pilot

I thought I was in the computer business.

Some days I’m not so sure. I spend my whole life talking helicopters. Today, I’ve spent most of the day dealing with helicopter stuff, predominantly G-EWAW related.

I spoke with PDG this morning who told me my JetBox was released to service; they’d worked all weekend on it. It’s now got new TT Straps, a new battery, another 50 hours to fly and it’s ARC renewed. That’s pretty good going.

I then began organising the forthcoming trip to Cannes. I wanted to make sure the aircraft documents were in order, the insurance was sorted etc etc. They always are, but it was a worthwhile exercise.

I’ve also completed the forms require to gain permission to land the helicopter off airfield in France which is a formality involving some paperwork. I’ve done that and dispatched it to Paris for approval. (Thanks to the HCGB for help on that score)

Following on from there I received a telephone call asking if I wanted to put my pride and joy on an AOC with a Company based out of Blackpool. That involved a long discussion and I’m pondering it but I’m not inclined to do it.

Finally, I got an e-mail from Q-Aviation advising me that they’ve got someone interested in buying my machine and would I send over a list of the avionics that are in it. I did, but my position hasn’t changed on whether or not I would actually sell it.

And in-between all that, I’ve spoken to Haywards Aviation, Dave H, JJ, and John at PDG too.

I think I’ll set up my own heli business!

P.S. I recently received a request from the lady above for a Pilot’s job. She wants to work for free and hours build. I couldn’t see any dis-advantage so she starts Monday.

TT Straps

TT Straps

TT Straps

Oh the joys of Jet Ranger ownership!

My two years are up and the life of my (probably perfectly serviceable) Tension Torsion (TT) Straps has ended.

The straps only have a 1,200 hour life,  or 24 months, and are probably the biggest complaint of every Jet Ranger owner (and for that matter, every other helicopter owner that utilises them,  including the boys from G-LADZ). The straps are really a large rubber band and effectively keep the main rotor blades attached to the mast.

The straps were traditionally changed “on condition” but  3 serious incidents of TT Strap separation changed all that. These incidents took place over an 11 year period covering nearly 7,000,000 flight hours. All the incidents were judged to be from corrosion which had occurred because the aircraft concerned were operating in a highly corrosive environment.  Bell then issued a directive that the straps should be replaced every 1,200 hours. A further insident with a Bell 212 at 22 months, then added the 24 month restriction. Most JetBox pilots argue that the limitation should not apply unless the aircraft is operated in a similar environment to the incident related aircraft (though to be sea water). But in 2004 bell stated:-

“In aircraft certification terms, it is not possible for different retirement lives to be assigned a given part number contingent upon the operating environment. Therefore, just as in all published retirement lives, the existing 24-month retirement life results from the worst-known case.”

Apparently Bell are testing a new design which might increase the life to 36 months but to date, although the straps are being evaluated in the field, they have not yet received approval.

So until then we’ll all be chucking perfectly serviceable parts in the bin at an extortionate £6k-£7K price tag and you guessed it, my machine is off to PDG at Wolverhampton for two days.!

“Ouch” does not begin to describe it!!!!

695 Final Install Photos

Here they are !! Looks Good!

Thanks to Richard at PDG!!

695 Update

UK WX Map 05/02/09

UK WX Map 05/02/09

Got a call from PDG first thing, theyve got 3″ of snow and poor vis, so it’s unlikeley I’ll go for my machine. At this rate it could be there all weekend which probably isn’t a bad thing if the weather is going to be poor. The 695 is finished but I’ve told him to flush air through the tubes connected to the TQ meter and fix the pilot’s door latch which is playing up. There were a few other things that he could do but it would mean committing to leaving the machine longer not to mention a bigger bill. I could go on forever with that machine! It’s no different to any helicopter, but my OCD spends money faster than I can refill my bank account.

Barton ATIS

STATUS: Contact Airport Duty Manager for Info AIRFIELD CLOSES: 1659 z
02003KT   1200M   SN   VV ///   M01 QNH 991
Airfield surface covered with snow. Fixed Wing Rwy availability status available from Duty Manager. No restrictions to HELICOPTER Traffic.