Flight testing of BLR Aerospace’s Bell 212 FastFin modification has demonstrated improved performance that will allow the 212 to carry more weight to higher altitudes than standard 212s, according to BLR. The Everett, Wash. company conducted the flight tests at the 9,927-foot airport in Leadville, Colo., late last year.
FastFin combines dual tailboom strakes and a vertical fin modification to improve airflow “to make tail-rotor management easier, safer, more efficient and more productive,” according to its delevoper. The modification includes a flight manual supplement with new performance charts. BLR’s testing showed that the 212 can carry 1,000 pounds or more beyond current weight, altitude and temperature chart limits compared to Bell’s standard 212.
The fin modification removes material from the 212 fin trailing edge and redistributes it farther aft on the lower section of the fin. The modified fin also features a more efficient contoured trailing edge instead of Bell’s original thin, sharp trailing edge. The result of the fin modification is that the new fin conflicts less with the tail-rotor thrusting action, according to Dave Marone, BLR vice president of sales and marketing. The tailboom strakes not only improve hover stability, he added, but also produce a 50-percent reduction in pilot tail-rotor inputs, making control easier and lowering fatigue cycles on the tailboom. “FastFin is most beneficial for moderate to high-density altitudes,” Marone said.
Bell’s UH-1 was the first helicopter modified with the FastFin system, and the strakes are available on the 205, 206, 212 and 412 models as well. Marone said he expects the 412 FastFin system to be certified in October. BLR is also testing the FastFin on a U.S. Army OH-58 and may consider offering the system for the civil 206 models once test results are available. Asked why OEMs such as Bell Helicopter don’t work more closely with modifiers such as BLR, Marone said, “We’re confident that Bell would recognize the value of this system.”
Buyers can place orders for BLR’s 212 FastFin system here at Booth No. 4337 at a show-special price of $49,950. The pre-certification list price is $54,950. FAA certification is expected in May.