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Day group purchases powerful new helicopter

June 1, 2008
by Heidi Ulrichsen
In: News with 0 Comments
Day Helicopter Services recently purchased a $4 million helicopter capable of lifting more than twice the weight of the company’s next most powerful helicopter, the Eurocopter AStar.The company’s new Bell Helicopter 212 S can lift up to 5,000 pounds and is currently the most powerful commercial helicopter in northeastern and central Ontario.The new helicopter is also much more fuel efficient than similar models, consuming only 508 pounds of fuel per hour compared to the norm of 600 pounds per hour.It will be used to lift diamond drill rigs into exploration camps, among other applications, said John Van Zon, chief pilot and maintenance manager.“Right now, with the AStar, we break down the diamond drill rig so it’s less than 2,000 pounds,” he said. “We can only move what the machine can lift. The beauty of the new helicopter is we don’t have to break down the drill anymore. You can just lift the drill rig with slings and move it.”The helicopter will also be used for applications such as water bucketing forest fires, lifting hydro poles and moving forestry crews.

Day Helicopter provides service throughout Northern Ontario from its main office and hanger in Sudbury. Pilots with the company have between 1,500 and 20,000 hours logged in the air.

The new helicopter is highly customized, said Van Zon. Eagle Copters in Calgary, Alberta converted a Bell Helicopter 212 to a 212 S by removing the twin engines and replacing them with a single, state-of-the-art Honeywell T5317-BCV engine.

The helicopter’s payload is increased because of the reduced engine weight, said Van Zon.

As with all of Day’s helicopters, the new single engine has been equipped with a barrier filter to prevent foreign objects like sand from being sucked in, he said.

Vector Aerospace in Langley, B.C. installed a Sagem cockpit display.

“It eliminates all the round gauges. Everything is now glass,” said Van Zon. “All the information is displayed all the time. The view is better because it’s now in colour, and there is no glare.”

For safety purposes, all of Day’s helicopters are equipped with sky tracking technology that identifies the pilot’s location, altitude and airspeed in a Web-based display, he said. Customers can also use the technology to find out where the helicopter they’re leasing is currently located.

The 212 S was to be ready for commercial use by early spring after a few last adjustments were completed and the pilots trained on its use.

“We flew it from Calgary to Langley for the conversion with Vector Aerospace,” he said. “It cruises beautifully. It’s nice. The fuel economy was great.”


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