24-Feb-2010 Source: Erickson Air-Crane
In a continuing effort to remain at the forefront of the industry and lead innovation, Erickson Air-Crane (EAC) today announced three major program initiatives that are currently underway: a composite blade program, vacuum lift technology and water usage tracking system.
“In 2009 we made a commitment to drive innovation within the industry and expand the versatility of our aircraft within the marketplace,” said Udo Rieder, president and chief executive officer of Erickson Air-Crane. “We placed high expectations on what we could accomplish and are extremely proud of the advancements that we’ve made over the past year. While we continue to lead the space, we’re most excited about what we can pass on to our customers and how they can apply new technologies on an everyday basis.”
Composite Blade Program
Taking a new approach to aluminum main and tail rotor blades, EAC recently launched an exclusive agreement with Advanced Technologies Incorporated to develop and produce composite blades. With applications for a range of aircraft in addition to the S-64, these blades are designed to increase performance while reducing direct operating costs. While still under development, composite blades are currently undergoing prototyping prior to flight tests.
“Erickson Air-Crane is the perfect partner for this program,” said Toby Roberts, president and chief executive officer of Advanced Technologies Incorporated. “Erickson Air-Crane and ATI both bring a long tradition of excellence and innovation to the marketplace. We believe that together we can deliver significant value to our customers.”
Vacuum Lift Technology
Undergoing final testing, EAC’s vacuum lift system incorporates a quick and efficient way to transport pipe sections and pipeline construction equipment. The vacuum lift system is designed for enhanced safety, fitting snugly around the delicate skin of the oil and gas pipe sections without scratching the anti corrosion layer, while also incorporating EAC’s patent-pending anti-rotation rigging technology.
With the vacuum lift pipe and equipment transport system, the S-64 Aircrane can lift long sections of large diameter oil and gas pipeline. The vacuum lift technology is also capable of attaching to transport Conex or ISO containers, portable housing, and other types of support equipment.
Water Usage Tracking System
In a recent partnership with Absolute Fire Solutions, EAC is integrating the company’s FASTTrack to system to provide greater insight to fire agencies worldwide wide. The new technology offers near real-time, web-viewable data recording and transmission capability for the quantity of water, foam mix, or retardant delivered to specific locations during firefighting operations. Once data has been recorded, FASTTrack has the ability to transmit information over SATCOM and AFF systems for near real-time data viewing.
“We are excited about integrating FASTTrack into our Helitanker fleet,” continued Rieder. “Through the collection of this data, we will further enhance our operations while providing even more value to our customer base. Erickson Air-Crane’s history as an innovator in aerial firefighting operations continues with our commitment to providing fire agencies worldwide with this powerful new resource management tool.”
EAC recently signed a new agreement with the Italian Ministry of Civil Protection. In a relationship that dates back more than a decade and includes leases and purchases of several Aircranes, the Italian Ministry continues to be a valuable partner. Primarily used to fight wildfires in Italy’s forest service, Corpo Forestale Dello Stato, the aircraft have proven to be valuable assets.
The new agreement incorporates a cost-by-the-hour fleet support program that ensures predictable maintenance cost over an extended period of time. In addition, the new agreement provides the Italian Ministry with Erickson pilots and crews for training both Forestale and Civil Protection personnel.
About Erickson Air-Crane
Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated is the manufacturer and operator of the S-64 Aircrane Helicopter with a fleet of seventeen Aircrane helicopters worldwide and has mobilized its fleet to operate within sixteen countries since 1971. With a lift capacity of up to 25,000 pounds (11,340 kg), the Aircrane is unsurpassed in performance of Firefighting, Civil Protection, Hydromulch Application, Timber Harvesting, and Powerline Construction. Erickson Air-Crane is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Depot with a comprehensive manufacturing capability. Erickson’s worldwide fleet of Aircranes are supported and maintained from the MRO and manufacturing facility located in Central Point, Oregon and the corporate headquarters located in Portland, Oregon, USA.