April 15, 2019
Canadian helicopter equipment provider Dart Aerospace has received STC approvals from both the FAA and EASA for its new EC/H130 emergency float system (EFS). TCCA certification was granted in late 2018 for this kit, which is applicable to both legacy EC130B4 models and the latest H130 from Airbus. The system can now be used in operations across multiples regions covering the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and any others accepting TCCA/FAA/EASA STC without validation.
Two major improvements over the previous kit are compatibility with OEM fixed provisions and the addition of quick release fittings that allow for the removal of 70 per cent of the kit's weight in less than five minutes, without any tools.
“This project provided a unique opportunity to revisit our design and really examine how we could incorporate the latest technology in float systems to add value for our H130 customers,” explains director of engineering at Dart's San Diego, California facility Pablo Bravo. “We looked at ways of simplifying the design to make it easier for customers to install and remove the system, which was critical feedback from existing operators who prefer to reconfigure their aircraft for different missions quickly and efficiently. Specifically, we included quick release hoses that facilitate removal of the floats within just a few minutes, for excellent mission flexibility.”
In addition, the new EFS is approved for the latest gross weight of the H130 and features a squib-free electro-mechanical valve made of corrosion-resistant steel. The system can be purchased with or without Dart's patented integrated six-passenger liferaft (nine passenger overload).
“From a project management standpoint, the H130 EFS was a fantastic example of Dart's ability to use resources throughout the company to reach a common goal,” adds San Diego facility programme manager David Marcus. “We used engineering resources from our San Diego and Calgary groups, an AMC partner to facilitate flight testing and our certification team to leverage our collaborative relationship with Transport Canada to ensure that the project continued to move forward to completion. We truly feel that having an external liferaft option available for the H130 puts operators in a win-win situation, in which safety and operational flexibility is increased and weight is decreased.”