HAI Convention News

Heli-Expo 2011: New Electronic Engine Display Adds Value to Soloy Engine Conversion for AS350B2

 - March 5, 2011, 10:20 PM

A shiny red-and-white Eurocopter AS350B2, newly converted to Honeywell LTS-101-700D2 turbine power, dominates Soloy Aviation’s exhibit here at Heli-Expo2011 (Booth No. 1628). Inside is an operating example of a new electronic engine display soon to be added as an option to the already STC’d Soloy conversion kit for replacing the original Turbomeca Arriel B2 with the Honeywell engine.

The 6-inch by 9-inch Ultra AuRACLE color display combines symbology formerly presented on six electromechanical “steam gauge” analog indicators plus fuel quantity, starter-generator status and OAT. Soloy CEO Dave Stauffer points out that the instrument, supplied by Ultra Electronics Flightline Systems of Victor, N.Y., can be switched with a twist of a knob to show an array of engine operational data including cycles, accumulated operating and revenue times

This unit also replaces the VEMD (vehicle engine monitoring display) that is original equipment in late model AS350B2 rotorcraft. Stauffer notes that software incompatibilities prevent the VEMD, designed to work with the Arriel turboshaft, from accepting and presenting Honeywell engine data. For now the Turbomeca-to-Honeywell conversion in late model -B2s has included substituting analog electromechanical instruments for the Thales-built VEMD.

Soloy expects the Ultra AuRACLE display to be approved with an amendment to the LTS101-700D2 conversion STC by the third quarter of 2011. Stauffer said the display will complement the operational cost-saving benefits of the engine change which accrue from lower fuel consumption and maintenance costs on an hourly basis.  The LTS101 and the Arriel it replaces have the same rated power, but unlike the Arriel, the Honeywell engine is not Ng limited.

Staffer noted, “We saw a real need to replace and simplify a multitude of old engine instruments we were working with while doing the conversions. We are replacing several instruments made by multiple companies (often foreign based) and combining them into one instrument supported by a single U.S. company, Soloy.”

The price of the Arriel B2 to LTS-101-700D2 conversion kit, including installation at Soloy’s Olympia, Wash., facility, is about $600,000, after trade-in credits for equipment removed from the customer’s helicopter, Stauffer said. Soloy estimates that installing the Ultra engine display in the panel of AS350s already converted to LTS-101 power will not exceed a week, compared to weeks or even sometimes months of downtime while awaiting replacement indicators during an engine conversion.

The Ultra display will be readily available and its installation will involve no added downtime during an engine conversion, Stauffer predicted. Kit price is targeted in the $25,000 range, with final pricing to be available soon.

Another item on display, less flashy but also advantageous to operators, is a newly approved 200-amp starter-generator unit for the LTS101-700D2. Given the multiplicity of current-consuming systems being added to helicopter equipment lists, electrical demands call for a higher capacity generator, Stauffer said.

The Skurka Aerospace 200 amp unit is approved as an option for the standard 150-amp generator that is part of the present Soloy engine conversion STC. He said some operators have stated that electrical load requirements are barely being met with the existing 150-amp generator.

The Skurka generator will not only meet that need but will increase generator service life and reduce early removals of starter-generators that are regularly subjected to high loads.