Robertson Fuel Systems and StandardAero announced on Dec. 7 the milestone attainment of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification of their retrofittable crash-resistant fuel tank (CRFT) for the Airbus AS350 and EC130 family of light single helicopters.
Production deliveries to launch partners, Air Methods Corporation (AMC) and WeatherTech Aviation LLC, are already underway with additional orders now being taken from operators worldwide.
European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification of the CRFT is expected to follow shortly.
The CRFT has been developed by StandardAero and Robertson as a direct replacement for all AS350 models, including the AS350 C, AS350 D/D1, AS350 B/B1/B2/BA/B3 and AS350 B3e (H125), as well as for the EC130 B4.
The tank’s unique design features a robust crash-resistant fuel bladder, with the same capacity as the legacy fuel cell, and uses several innovations including magnetic field sensor fuel gauging technology and vent system roll-over protection. The CRFT is compliant with the latest FAR Part 27.952 fuel system crash resistance requirements, even when used in combination with a cargo swing.
Public and regulatory focus on enhanced helicopter safety has continued to grow since the CRFT was first unveiled in 2015, and the FAA Reauthorization Act now includes an amendment that requires the FAA to make helicopter owners aware of fuel system retrofits and to urge them to install retrofits “as soon as practicable.”
“We are delighted that, through our long-standing record in successful STC development and Robertson’s established reputation in developing fuel containment solutions, we have been able to jointly make this retrofittable crash-worthy fuel system a cost-effective reality for civilian, governmental and military operators worldwide,” said Elvis Moniz, StandardAero’s vice president of business development for airframe and avionics solutions.
“We are very pleased to have now achieved certification, which we know will ultimately bring increased operational safety to the industry,” said Newman Shufflebarger, president of Robertson Fuel Systems. “Vector Aerospace, now a part of the StandardAero family, has been a great partner, and we are proud to achieve this milestone together.”