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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, 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!!!!

Maintenance, bloody maintenance.


Sh*t, f**k, bo**ocks  and w**k.

Maintenance, bloody maintenance, every two flipping seconds maintenance.  I can cope with my chopper  having to be maintained, after all, I really like landing safely and going home to my wife (well sometimes I do 🙂 ), but it’s just that it seems to be every two bloody minutes.

50 hour checks, 100 hour checks, 6 monthly compressor inspections. New TT straps every two years then the ARC needs renewing followed by the annual. Then we start all over again. I spend half my hours ferrying the bloody thing to and from maintenance. So much so I’m thinking of employing my own engineer. It would probably be more convenient to have him sat at Barton waiting for me to return from each trip so he can maintain something or other. I’m sure it would be cheaper too!

I just fail to see the complete logic. Continue reading

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.

G-EWAW Update

I’ve just returned from NY and I’ve had some dialogue with Richard at PDG. All is going well and he’s sent me some pictures of how the job is getting along. Interestingly (or worryingly) he has identified some bare wires, one of them live, behind the main panel that he is uncomfortable with.  Obviously he’ll be fixing those but I may have to address that at a later stage. With any luck it will be finished today, ready for me to collect tomorrow, but whether I will or not remains to be seen. The wx is due in and I’m not sure if it’s worth collecting.