Monday, February 20, 2012

What would a real Bush pilot build for an aircraft?

Or perhaps this story should be "How Angels Fly." As usual click the title to view the AAC website. Very rarely in life do we find something intrinsically "done right" In the case of the AAC Angel we witness the hard labor of love to create an aircraft uniquely and innately woven into the fabric of STOL flying in remote and rough places. That also usually delivers outstanding utility and load lifting capability for it's class. And does so in a very graceful way:

At first glance one wonders how an elegant looking prop aircraft is so suited for this demanding role. A quick look around the aircraft gives away it's attributes. Large long span flaps:

Capable of over a 1900lb. load:

With a big beefy tricycle landing gear to soak up rough terrain. And a big double door access:

Powered by a pair of tried and true Lycoming IO-540's this planes reeks and oozes reliability. Helping endowing the aircraft with a STOL take off over a 50ft. obstacle in a meager 1404 foot run. And clear a 50 ft. obstacle in 1046ft on landing. And something rather unusual is this craft can throttle back to 35% power and cruise a mind boggling 13.1 hours covering 1270 miles. Not your normal short legged STOL bush hopper for sure. Need a great plane for Labrador? Call AAC.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Let L410/420 brochure

Just an update on the capabilities of a great aircraft for Labrador. Just click the article title to load the adobe presentation. Note it also has an air ambulance version which far surpasses that currently available in Newfoundland. For a number of reasons the L410 is more economical to operate. Primarily due to the superlative Walter 601E/F turboprop engines. Which use less overall fuel compared to the larger PT6-34/35 used on the venerable Twin Otter. This despite a slightly high fuel consumption rate. Due to the design the Wather 601E is much smoother in operation and does not suffer the combustor issues the PT-6-34/35 does. In fact; the superiority of this engine is so inescapable, GE just acquired Walter and has incorporated some of it's own technology to produce the new H80 turboprop. An engine that now produces 850shp and benefits from the high altitude characteristics of the M601E-11A.

Another interesting fact is the stilled L610. A larger plane based on the L410 series. This craft was also ordered by a former Soviet Airline for operations in cold and high places. But given a new H80 powered L420 already meeting FAR23 requirements, the L610 could be an option for later. This aircraft would be my choice for passenger or VIP services in Labrador. Especially given the far superior taller cabin for passengers. Which precludes subjecting Labradorians from becoming hunchbacks exiting a toothpaste tube.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Burton Winters tragedy

The wide geographic nature and equipment of SAR assets should give pause as exactly what solution is sought to address the shortfall of coverage. Particularly for very remote Labrador. While Helicopters are universally acknowledged as the best solution, they also have downfalls.

As well one must consider the activities of likely candidates for SAR services. And equipment sized for range and capability required. One must recall Labrador has an immense maritime fishery. As well as Alpine venues which may require large group rescues. Somethings that would require very large and expensive to operate helicopters.

Further one must recognize fixed wing assets have unique advantages in lower operating costs. More availability. Some are Marine environment capable. Offer much long range. Have much faster transit times. And can often portage larger loads given an equal capital outlay.

This is not to say Helicopters are not needed. They definitely are. They are UN-equaled in Alpine settings. Can access very small areas planes sometimes can't. And given forward basing can offer good coverage.

My point in this post is we need to look with clarity as what will be needed and find a long term and durable solution to support all residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. As well as design financial support for equipment, personal, training and real operating costs likely.