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Miltary Aircraft Availability


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well the main thing in the Military is, well when I was playing soldier anyways.....nobody feels responsible, no flightpay, they not losing money if they not flying........thats revering to an country in europe. In israel the eng working all night so that thing is back flyable asap........more pressure there.....

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56% availablilty for a 412 ???????????????????

 

Can you imagine 44 HeliSkiers who paid $7,000 + each to spend a week in Bugaboo Lodge being told, Sorry gents, your Bell 212 Helicopter isn't available again today... perhaps it will be available the day after tomorrow !

 

That BUGS aircraft IS available 99.5 % of the time, and the spare 212 is imediately avaialble the other 0.5%. (given a 140 day season, and 1 down-day)

 

We're tallking an old '12 that flies 140+ hrs a month, with 120+ landings daily, not some new cream-puff 412 that hardly gets 300 hrs a year.

 

It's not an aircraft problem, it's a people problem !

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I wonder of some of the reliabilty has something to do with not much DI and not draining the fuel? I had a Lab and a Griffon O/N a few years ago. I spent more time on the Jetbox doing daily stuff than both crews put in on both machines combined! The fuel thing? I was concerned about spillage on the grass, offered pails to drain in and was refused since they didn't do that.

 

Would I ride in one of our military helicopters? No Way.

 

And they wonder about reliability.....

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Easy lads.........yes we have personnel issues. We still struggle with a system that trains a tech then posts him or her to a different type as soon as they know a machine.

 

Spares are often a matter of military part numbers and how old our machines are. Sea Kings have sat two to three months for parts because our old beasts were the only ones still using certain parts.

 

The Cormorants are restricted to a strict inspection cycle and we are indeed still finding cracks in the tail rotor hubs. Not sure when or how a fix will come.

 

The Griffons, we seem hampered by an unnecessary inspection cycle and often put a bird down for snags which should not restrict the aircraft at all.

 

The system has been terribly frustrating to pilots for years. It is geared for deployed operations and war but seems to just mire down at home.

 

As for draining fuel, you're right, we don't do it. So long as our fuel comes out of a trusted commercial or military fuel system we don't drain fuel on the DIs. We do plenty of testing on our refuelling systems at our bases and we trust reputable commercial operations such as FBOs to do the same.

 

Both the Griffon and Labrador/Cormorant have flight engineers and they do the DIs not the pilots and that works for us. If we used barrels or a suspicious source (we had many of those in the Sinai desert) then we check the fuel with water and contaminant detection kits and drain the tanks.

 

So JaJR maybe you feel you wouldn't ride in one of our machines but I'll tell you I have heard plenty of horror stories about civilian operators too, companies using automotive clamps or screws, time expired parts or just taking gauges right out of the panel and continuing flying without them. Now I would be wrong to paint all operators with the same brush and I know that the vast majority of machines out there are very well cared for.

 

Just because we operate differently doesn't mean we do things wrong. I've flown 212s, Labs, Sea Kings and Jet Rangers. I've never felt a machine unsafe to fly when I hit the starter and in 23 of military flying, I've never drained fuel on any machine.

 

Our availability during a deployed operation is always much much higher because we don't put a machine down for a snag but instead put a note in the book to restrict it depending on the snag. When the machine is at home base, the simplest snag much be reported and fixed before it goes out even if that piece of equipment is not needed for safety of flight or the mission, frustrating perhaps but that's the way it runs.

 

Now from a pilots point of view, I'd gladly take an AME looking after my machine. We have this in Portage and roughly 8 AMEs take care of 9 Jet Rangers and 6 King Airs where the military system would use about 40 personnel for the same aircraft.

 

The only problem with this type of plan is deploying to war zones which brings us back full circle as to why we work the way we do. Not too many AMEs are willing to go with us for the price we pay our technicians.....uhm...... now there's another kettle of fish.

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