MRO provider XL Aerospace announced it has collaborated with Mustang Helicopters to develop a new Transport Canada Supplemental Type Certified Side Pull system for the Airbus AS350 and AS355 model helicopters.
The STC and system, which is owned, sold and distributed by Mustang Helicopters is designed for use in highly challenging and potentially hazardous live power line inspections, maintenance activities and other airborne operations.
Frederic Allard, president of Mustang Helicopters said that he partnered with XL Aero’s aerospace engineering team because of XL Aero’s experience in managing similar programs from an engineering design, regulatory approval and manufacturing perspective – from conception to final product approval.
“Until now, there was no certified side pull installation for the AS350/AS355 series helicopter in Canada. In developing our system, we were aware that similar products are available for other helicopters; however, they are limited in their capabilities due to design limitations, and/or the aircraft they are designed to support;’ explains Allard. ‘In recognising an expanding domestic and global requirement for powerline infrastructure development and maintenance, we felt a new, more capable system was required – and we are confident that the AS350/AS355 is the ideal platform for Mustang’s new side pull system, which is rated for a pull capacity of 2,000 lbs (909 kg).”
Tim Blaskovich, president of XL Aero explains that Mustang Helicopter’s new AS350/AS355 Side Pull system offers significant advantages over the legacy systems currently in use. He references that in addition to offering flight crews an improved line of sight, Mustang’s right-hand side installation requires less cyclic travel from the neutral position than similar belly-mounted sling systems, making the process easier to control and inherently safer.
Blaskovich describes how the Mustang AS350/AS355 side pull the system will help mitigate concerns such as load capacity and line length associated with belly mounted systems that incorporate ballast weights. Also, Mustang’s new system assists in mitigating risks including dynamic rollover, the potential for main and tail rotor blades striking sock lines, or interference from adjacent lines or other potential hazards in the aircraft’s proximity.
For ease of installation, the Mustang Helicopter AS350/AS355 side pull installation interfaces with existing Onboard Systems cargo hooks, wiring harnesses/hydraulic lines, and release mechanisms. Notable features also include a swivel on the mounting point that permits the sock line to pivot and move depending on the line tension, and a Frangible Link, that has been incorporated in the event that load exceedance is experienced; allowing the load to be released safely, and without risk to the aircraft and crew.