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Over Weight, Pooped Out, Out Of Sight


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One would think that a HUMS type device would be standard on most turbine engined helicopters by now. I know that if you buy a new Peterbilt, the on-board computer logs every engine "event", and tells your mechanic all about it as soon as he plugs in his console. Ran the engine into overspeed by choosing too high a gear for going down a hill? Well, the computer will tell him. Horsed hard on the fuel while it was still warming up? The computer will tell him.

 

Peterbilt (and other companies) put these systems into place in order to protect themselves from people abusing their trucks, and then bringing back damaged goods "on warranty". Given that the stakes are a lot higher with aircraft, it'd make sense to have a similar system that will log everything. After all, if you throw a rod on a diesel, you pull over. If your stove disassembles itself in flight...

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One would think that a HUMS type device would be standard on most turbine engined helicopters by now. I know that if you buy a new Peterbilt, the on-board computer logs every engine "event", and tells your mechanic all about it as soon as he plugs in his console. Ran the engine into overspeed by choosing too high a gear for going down a hill? Well, the computer will tell him. Horsed hard on the fuel while it was still warming up? The computer will tell him.

 

Peterbilt (and other companies) put these systems into place in order to protect themselves from people abusing their trucks, and then bringing back damaged goods "on warranty". Given that the stakes are a lot higher with aircraft, it'd make sense to have a similar system that will log everything. After all, if you throw a rod on a diesel, you pull over. If your stove disassembles itself in flight...

What I don't understand is why a/c that are leased out don't all have this on them. You would think that the leasor would be very interested in knowing what the company is doing with the a/c especially if they are paying for components.

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One would think that a HUMS type device would be standard on most turbine engined helicopters by now. I know that if you buy a new Peterbilt, the on-board computer logs every engine "event", and tells your mechanic all about it as soon as he plugs in his console. Ran the engine into overspeed by choosing too high a gear for going down a hill? Well, the computer will tell him. Horsed hard on the fuel while it was still warming up? The computer will tell him.

 

Peterbilt (and other companies) put these systems into place in order to protect themselves from people abusing their trucks, and then bringing back damaged goods "on warranty". Given that the stakes are a lot higher with aircraft, it'd make sense to have a similar system that will log everything. After all, if you throw a rod on a diesel, you pull over. If your stove disassembles itself in flight...

 

The issue here is fleet renewal. Just about every new aircraft on the market has some form of HUMs built in to the FADECs that are quite the norm now. The problem is that trucks last a certain number of years, and are then retired and replaced with new models with all the latest bells & whistles. Aircraft on the other hand have a much longer useful life, 30+ years is not unusual.

 

As far as retrofitting HUMs on older aircraft, there are two reasons why they are not done: The financial cost of adding these systems, and even more so, the old "Hear no evil, see no evil" syndrome with many operators...

 

The only way HUMs systems get retrofitted is when customers demand aircraft equipped with such systems. Hold the phone ! Now there's something Contrail could recommend to their customers that would actually have some value in increasing safety !

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A HUMS is nice, but it works within the aircraft systems. If the guages aren't accurate then who's at fault after the HUMS records an exceedence??? I flew the Griffon for 8 years and there was a continual battle over the data coming out of the HUMS.

 

When used correctly I think it's a fantastic tool. Keep in mind though, it is only a tool, not a wonder box.

 

Cheers!

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There are several issues here.

1. A legal one. If you are overweight, your certificate of airworthiness (and hence insurance) is not valid.

2. The civil flight manual performance charts do not allow you to 'weigh' the helicopter as well as the charts that are found in military helicopters would. The military charts have 'power required to hover' that includes height above ground, pressure altitude and air temperature and wind. Couple that with a 'engine power available' chart and you have the complete picture. The civil charts are called 'hover capability' and don't let you determine how much you actually weigh. It can easily be shown that you won't exceed any engine or transmission limitations on most helicopters in low density altitude conditions and yet be well over maximum weight. For in ground effect hover, the civil charts only show one hover height and no wind effects.

And if you have an engine that is well above minimum specification, you can really exceed the weight limits and not know it.

3. Why don't we have load cells fitted to every helicopter that is engaged in slinging so you know what it is you're lifting???

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