StandardAero, Papillon Airways sign MOU for 40 crash-resistant fuel tanks

StandardAero Press Release | February 26, 2018

Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 37 seconds.

StandardAero and Papillon Airways have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for 40 retrofittable crash-resistant fuel tanks (CRFTs) in support of Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters’ fleet of Airbus AS350 B3 and EC130 B4 tour aircraft. Installation of the first CRFT will take place this April.

Papillon Helicopters has a fleet of over 40 aircraft, largely consisting of Airbus EC130 B4s and AS350 B3s. Papillon Helicopters Photo
Papillon Helicopters has a fleet of over 40 aircraft, largely consisting of Airbus EC130 B4s and AS350 B3s. Papillon Helicopters Photo

“Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters has made the commitment to lead our industry by retrofitting our tour fleet with recently FAA certified crash resistant fuel systems,” says Lon Halvorson, owner and executive vice president, Papillon Airways.

“We are humbled and honored to have been entrusted by Papillon to support their fleet of AS350 B3s and EC130 B4s,” said Rick Stine, president of StandardAero Components, Helicopters & Accessories. “Papillon is a tremendous partner and advocate of the crash-resistant fuel tank for the helicopter industry. As a leading tour operator, Papillon knows what this product means to the industry.”

The CRFT has been developed by StandardAero (formerly Vector Aerospace) and Robertson Fuel Systems 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, offering 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. The FAA Reauthorization Act now includes an amendment requiring the FAA to make helicopter owners aware of fuel system retrofits and to urge them to install retrofits “as soon as practicable.”

Customers can learn more about the retrofittable crash-resistant fuel tank for the Airbus AS350/EC130 family, including full technical specifications, maintenance features, and ordering information, by visiting StandardAero’s website.

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  1. Price and weight are cost questions. Customer comfort, lives spared and injuries avoided, insurance premium savings, FAA interest and probably other factors weigh on the benefit side. The real question is, do the benefits outweigh the costs. Obviously, Pappilon thinks the do. Given their track record, I’ll bet they’re right.

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