A fleet totaling 600 helicopters equipped with dual tailboom strakes from BLR Aerospace has reached the one-million flight-hour milestone, all the while earning accolades from operators, according to the Everett, Wash. company, which manufacturers aerodynamic enhancements.
“We were the first operator to install dual tailboom strakes, and we had great success right off the bat,” said Jason Evans, chief pilot for British Columbia operator Wildcat Helicopters.
“The strakes were an excellent purchase,” added Mike Michaud, Wildcat Helicopters owner. “They paid for themselves very quickly in our heli-logging operations. We’ve also seen a significant decrease in maintenance costs for the tail and main rotor drives.”
The addition of the dual strakes controls airflow over the tailboom, improves climb and cruise performance, hover-hold, yaw control and fuel efficiency on single-rotor helicopters, explained Dave Marone, BLR Aerospace director of sales and marketing, and enables operators to lift and carry a much higher payload.
Washington State Department of Natural Resources chief pilot John Adolphson said his operation flies heavy loads in the mountains, and “if the winds are not just right, we run out of left pedal, but with strakes installed that doesn’t happen.”
“It’s extremely gratifying to see our NASA-licensed strakes technology achieve such widespread acceptance in the rotorcraft industry,” Marone said.
The strakes and other performance-enhancing products for civil helicopters are on display in Heli-Expo Booth No. 2531.