Regular helicopter maintenance to the manufacturer's schedules underpins the safety, reliable operation, enhanced flying pleasure and peace of mind of anyone flying these aircraft. And when repairs are necessary, having confidence in a convenient approved helicopter repair facility is always reassuring.
Importance of helicopter maintenance
Anecdotally described as 'a thousand precision parts flying in close formation', a helicopter is a complex machine that relies on safe operation of sophisticated components, many of which are highly stressed and operating at high speed. The fact that helicopters are often operated at low altitude and in confined spaces further emphasises the importance of reliable operation.
What maintenance standards should you look for?
For UK helicopter operation, the industry standard for helicopter maintenance is the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part 145. As a current or prospective owner, a hirer of self-fly helicopters, or someone planning to learn to fly rotary wing aircraft, approval to EASA Part 145 is the standard that they should insist on.
Examples of helicopter maintenance that can be undertaken by your operator
Helicopter maintenance ranges from minor checks to major overhauls after several thousand hours' operation. Examples of maintenance and servicing that your helicopter operator may offer could include the following:
- Annual helicopter inspection / Annual Review Certificate (ARC)
- Defect rectification
- Routine servicing
- Lead acid battery capacity checks
- Magneto inspections
- Main and tail rotor balancing
An experienced maintenance facility will be able to do helicopter servicing on a wide range of aircraft from manufacturers such as Bell Textron, Robinson, Hughes, Eurocopter and Enstrom (look for manufacturer's approved maintenance facility status). As well as general capability, some service facilities develop a specialism for particular helicopter overhaul (e.g. for Robinson R22 and R44 aircraft).
More than just on-aircraft maintenance
'Helicopter maintenance' involves more than just on-aircraft mechanical work. When choosing a maintenance facility, look for the following services:
- Cost-effective fixed-price servicing
- Full hangar facilities
- Experienced, accurate helicopters maintenance record administration
- Comprehensive parts stock lists for fast component availability
- Exemplary Customer Service
- Luxury waiting facilities with complimentary refreshments and Wi-Fi
Together with quality work on the aircraft, these services ensure a perfect maintenance experience, help keep helicopters flying and make sure that busy owners' time is used effectively.
The benefits of regular maintenance
In conclusion, regular maintenance, undertaken by skilled, experienced and highly qualified experts ensures that helicopter operators and flyers enjoy the following benefits:
- Compliance with legal obligations
- Peace of mind
- Reduced cost
- Reliable operation