Highly respected Queensland helicopter operator Airwork Helicopters announces that after 4 years of development and certification it has obtained a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) and Australian Parts Manufacturing Approval (APMA) from CASA to manufacture advanced composite tail rotor blades for Bell 206 helicopters.
Airwork founder and CEO Myles Tomkins said his factory at Caboolture Airport on the northern outskirts of Brisbane has already commenced production of the Kevlar and carbon fibre blades which offer a 30% cost advantage with twice the life over the standard Bell 206 tail rotor blades. The blades also offer a higher margin of safety due to their increased strength and higher thrust for an equivalent power setting as well as a very substantial noise reduction which he said would be very popular for helicopter operators that fly in and around noise sensitive environments such as national parks and built up areas.
Mr Tomkins said his composite tail rotor blades are approved for Bell 206 A and B models and shortly the L model. He said he is also in advanced negotiations with a large American parts distributor who will take on the worldwide sales, distribution and marketing to the operators of over 6,000 Bell 206 series helicopters around the world.
Mr Tomkins acknowledged the efforts of CASA, the significant help from the Queensland Government with a small early stage grant that helped get the project started, Auto Avia Design’s engineering expertise, along with thousands of hours of dedication and hard work by his team.
Obtaining the STC and the APMA is the first step in Airwork Helicopter’s long term growth strategy to develop the world class facility in advanced composites manufacturing at Caboolture Airport and Airwork is now actively evaluating additional production opportunities for both helicopter and fixed wing aircraft composites structures and components.
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