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What’s the value of helicopter flight data monitoring (HFDM)? Sequoia Helicopters, specialists in charter services for government and private clients, used HFDM data during pre-season test flights on a new Bell 212 engine this spring. The results demonstrated the power of FDM data for proactive maintenance, improved safety and better organizational planning, according to CEO Ralph Wagner.
“We used HFDM data from the Skytrac ISAT-200A for full post-flight analysis on the new engine. The logs captured data from multiple critical sensors at one-second intervals — far beyond what a pilot is able to observe and record manually,” said Wagner.
“That extra FDM data was a crucial advantage. It gave us confidence in our understanding of the engine’s performance and allowed us to better investigate any issues before we put the aircraft into full service. Ultimately, we feel the FDM program has allowed us to drive a higher level of aviation safety for our clients.”
With a seasonal focus on aerial construction and firefighting, Sequoia Helicopters relies on having its fleet in top shape during the busy summer months to ensure contract availability and meet high safety standards. It is a familiar scenario for many operators.
“The helicopter charter market is a competitive environment and it is critical for operators to minimize unscheduled maintenance downtime, which can drive up operational costs,” said Skytrac VP, sales, Jan van der Heul. “Likewise, high safety standards and proactive maintenance practices can be differentiators when it comes to securing contracts. Sequoia Helicopters is an example of a client using HFDM data to its full potential by incorporating system data into their regular maintenance routine.”
Skytrac has a global base of fixed- and rotary-wing clients in air charter, oil-and-gas, air medical, business aviation, commercial transportation and forestry industries. Solutions include real-time engine exceedance alerts, FDM and HFDM analytics, real-time voice and text communications, cockpit EFB tools and real-time flight following.