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Erickson Incorporated, a leading operator, maintainer, and manufacturer of utility aircraft, has announced Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval of its next-generation composite main rotor blades.
After many years of manufacturing metal blades, Erickson has invested in the future of the S-64 Aircrane by designing, certifying, and building composite main rotor blades that will bring many dramatic benefits, the company said.
Erickson began the process of designing the new blades in 2008, working closely with the FAA and various industry partners. In 2013 Erickson collaborated with Helicopter Transport Services (HTS), so the blades could be utilized on CH-54 rotorcraft as well.
To maintain close control of blade manufacture, Erickson built a composite manufacturing facility from scratch in 2015. After thousands of hours of design, testing, and analysis by Erickson’s engineers and partners, the new composite main rotor blades are now approved by the FAA for the S-64E with an initial life that will increase as fatigue testing continues. Certification for the CH-54A is expected to follow quickly in the coming weeks, and certification for the S-64F and CH-54B is expected this summer.
“The CMRB program shows our commitment to innovation and next-generation programs for the modernization of the S-64 Aircrane helicopter and legacy fleet. As an OEM provider and air operator, Erickson continues to push the envelope to find new and reliable solutions to keep our customers flying longer, safer, and always for the best price,” said Doug Kitani, CEO.