HAI Convention News

Coating system extends blade life, lowers costs

 - February 21, 2009, 9:15 AM

An innovative coating system that is extending the life of U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter main rotor blades may soon be available for commercial use courtesy of Kaman Helicopters (Booth No. 1719) and partner Hontek of South Windsor, Conn. The coating helps improve blade life, thus increasing helicopter availability and lowering maintenance costs. More than 400 Black Hawks have had the coating applied, which it has been proven under the harshest conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Service application began after a U.S. Army-sponsored four-year qualification program and field trials.

“The innovative product holds great promise for commercial helicopter operators, especially those who fly in harsh environments,” said Kaman director of market and business development Mark Tattershall.

According to the Bloomfield, Conn.-based helicopter manufacturer, the coating is easily repairable in the field. Coated blades may be operated in rain, sand, gravel and icing conditions, he said. Based on performance to date, the coating is being qualified for use on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps helicopters.

Kaman also announced that it is expanding the fire-fighting capabilities of the K-Max helicopter, this time with an innovative, more powerful water cannon that will deliver water directly to the source of the fire. The package is mounted to allow the cannon to shoot water from the front of the helicopter, enabling more directed and effective coverage when fighting fire in high-rise buildings or private homes.