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Oceania Aviation has announced that its manufacturing division, Airborne Systems, has been approved as an Airbus supplier and is in the final stages of achieving a supplemental type certificate (STC) amendment for its cargo pod, allowing its use on the right side of H125/AS350 helicopters.
Airborne Systems has been supplying H125/AS350 operators with cargo pods following its first New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (NZCAA) certification in 2011. It has since achieved STC approval by Transport Canada (TC) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Russell Goulden, general manager of Airborne Systems, Oceania Aviation, said, “We have complete confidence in our cargo pod and the commercial value it brings to an operation. Since our FAA STC, Airbus USA and NZ have purchased several of our cargo pods over the last year, resulting in our approval as an official supplier.
“Our next step was to make our cargo pod available for both sides of the H125, and we are actively working on this with flight tests set for the end of this month. A very skilled and accomplished CASA Approved Flight Test Delegate who has attended the Empire Test Pilot School in U.K. will be completing these. Our experience with cargo pods goes as far back as the 1990s for the AS350, AS355 and BK117, making us confident in the outcome.”
The cargo pod has been specifically designed to provide optimum user experience. Produced from lightweight material, it is “pilot-removable,” reduces drag due to its aerodynamic design and protects its contents from the elements.
A single cargo pod offers 120 kilograms (265 pounds) extra capacity and the new STC amendment will allow operators to optimize their carrying capacity with functionality by choosing between three configurations: left-hand only, right-hand only and both sides.
Flight testing the right-hand cargo pod is set for May 27. There are future plans to certify the pod for the EC130 B4, Bell 205, Bell 212, Bell 412.