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StandardAero and Robertson Fuel Systems have recently delivered two of their AS350/EC130 crash-resistant fuel tanks (CRFT) to Hangar One Avionics, which will soon be installed on the Oklahoma City Police Department’s (OKCPD) AS350 B3e (H125) helicopters.
The OKCPD received budget approval in May 2018 to purchase crashworthy fuel systems for their two AS350 helicopters and conducted a thorough review of the available retrofit options to determine the best solution to meet their requirements.
“As we were evaluating the options to upgrade our AStar helicopters with crashworthy fuel tanks, it was extremely important for us to select a solution that would be compatible with the existing equipment on the aircraft,” said Lieutenant Mike Jackson of the OKCPD. “Due to the nature of our work, we have search lights, cameras and other mission equipment installed, including cargo hooks since we support firefighting operations in the area, so we needed to ensure we selected a product that exhibited proven durability to withstand an impact from not only external threats, but also potential threats such as these that are installed on the aircraft itself.”
The StandardAero/Robertson AS350/EC130 CRFT is fully compliant to the latest FAA FAR Part 27.952 fuel system crash resistance requirements, including with underbelly equipment installed. In March 2017, the StandardAero/Robertson team successfully conducted a 50-foot drop test of the CRFT in an airframe structure, including cargo swing attachment, solidifying its ability to withstand significant impact without leakage.
“Throughout the development of the CRFT, the StandardAero and Robertson team was careful to thoughtfully design the tank in such a way that its features were practical for use in the real environments these aircraft operate in,” said Elvis Moniz, StandardAero’s vice president of Business Development for Airframe and Avionics Solutions. “With so many public safety and HEMS operators relying on the AS350, oftentimes with varying equipment and operating conditions at play, we knew we had to develop a product that could withstand a myriad of threats. We are pleased to see customers like the OKCPD giving that same level of shrewd attention to the safety of their operations and making a proactive choice to invest in this potentially lifesaving equipment.”
The AS350/EC130 CRFT design is based on proven military technologies from Robertson, which have been successfully fielded on a number of military aircraft and boast a distinguished record of superior crashworthiness. The durable, multilayered composite container contains no rivets and is reinforced in the most susceptible areas of the tank. Other safety features of the CRFT include a self-sealing breakaway valve, self-contained vent system with roll-over valve and a shielded sump drain valve. The AS350/EC130 CRFT is FAA and EASA approved for virtually all variants of the AS350 helicopter series, including the EC130 B4.
Visitors of the annual Airborne Public Safety Conference (APSCON) taking place July 17 – 19, 2019 in Omaha, Nebraska can see a model of the CRFT and get more details by visiting the StandardAero booth (#921), or see a CRFT on display at the Robertson Fuel Systems booth (#1002), along with an interactive 3D depiction of the CRFT’s unique features.