Service Electrical Vehicles Safely with the New Electric Vehicle General Maintenance Kit from Snap-on Industrial

The new Electric Vehicle General Maintenance Kit from Snap-on Industrial provides technicians with all the hand tools they need to service electric vehicles safely and reliably.

The Electric Vehicle General Maintenance Kit (EVTECHCARTO) contains an assortment of 270 hand tools, which are composite in design to prevent electricity from reaching the technician’s hand, ensuring excellent protection without compromising on performance. Composite tools are IEC60900 compliant; composite sockets and extensions are UL rated. 

The kit also includes a toolbox and tool control foam. The Electric Orange Roll Cart (KRSC46HPJK) comes with six 35” wide drawers and a top compartment housed in a one-piece fully welded box designed to hold 120 pounds per drawer (240 pounds with double sides). The top compartment stores a battery charger and can be used as a charging station while locked. Additionally, every tool has a specific place in the box, thanks to pre-cut foam for maximum organization, tool identification, inventory, and storage. 

Tool assortment includes:

  • Composite 3/8” metric sockets from 8mm to 19mm
  • Chrome 6-point 1/4″ sockets, shallow and deep from 4mm to 15mm
  • Chrome 6-point 3/8” sockets, shallow and deep from 6mm to 21mm
  • Composite ring- and open-ended wrenches from 6mm to 19mm
  • Flank drive 12-point combination wrenches from 6mm to 23mm
  • Composite pliers
  • Composite hex keys from 3mm to 12mm
  • 1/4″ torque wrench rated from 15-300 in-lbs.
  • Digital hybrid multimeter
  • 12V DC circuit tester

First Aviation Services Announces Expanded Support of the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk 

First Aviation Services announced a major expansion of their support for the UH-60 Black Hawk and its derivatives by integrating the resources of the company’s individual subsidiaries to provide the industry’s most comprehensive set of aftermarket solutions. Currently, First Aviation subsidiaries provide in-house MRO for the UH-60 Black Hawk main and tail rotor blades, main rotor hub, dynamic components, landing gear shock struts, BIM indicators, hoses, lighting, batteries, switch panels, and structures, among other components. Furthermore, First Aviation’s subsidiary AAMSI, located in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., manages the repair of approximately 500 additional Black Hawk components via First Aviation’s supply chain of high-quality subcontractor facilities.  

“Our new program is designed to provide operators with a complete maintenance and repair solution,” said Paul Bolton, First Aviation’s chief operating officer. “By combining our in-house expertise with the capabilities of highly qualified outside vendors, we can offer a more efficient and cost-effective service to the Black Hawk community.”

The program covers a range of MRO services including electronics, hydraulics, and dynamic components. Operators will benefit from a single point of contact for all their maintenance and repair needs, as well as access to a wider range of expertise and resources.  

“We’re excited to offer this new program to our customers,” said Bolton. “We believe it is the most comprehensive single point of contact program in support of Black Hawk operators.”

As part of the integration plan and to improve coordination between First Aviation’s subsidiaries that support rotor blade repair, Heliblade International, the company’s west coast rotor blade facility, will be doing business as Aviation Blade Services, Inc.—West.

FAA Proposes to Require Drug and Alcohol Testing of Certificated Repair Station Employees Who Work on Commercial Aircraft Outside of the U.S.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes to require certificated repair stations located outside the United States whose employees perform safety-sensitive maintenance functions on certain air carrier aircraft to obtain and implement a drug and alcohol testing program. These programs would align with the FAA and Department of Transportation (DOT)’s drug and alcohol standards.
FAA says this would be an important step in their overall safety mission because few countries require testing of aviation or maintenance personnel. This rule would ensure these employees are held to the same high level of safety standards regardless of where they are physically located.
The repair stations would have to ensure their employees receive all necessary anti-drug and alcohol training and send their testing data electronically to the DOT. 

The proposed rule would impact approximately 977 repair stations in 65 countries. It is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, and the public will have 60 days to submit comments.  

Rotorcorp Named Winner of 2023 Presidential Award for Export Achievement by USA Department of Commerce

Rotorcorp, the largest seller of parts, engines, and overhaul kits for Robinson helicopters, today was named a 2023 winner of the President’s “E” Award for Exports. Created in 1961 by an Executive Order of President John F. Kennedy, the “E” Award is the highest recognition that any U.S. organization can receive for significantly contributing to the expansion of U.S. exports. The award was presented to Rotorcorp President Sean Casey by Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at a ceremony today in Washington, DC.

The “E” Award requires that a company demonstrate four consecutive years of sustained export revenue growth.  Multi-year growth of this nature is difficult enough to achieve in a normal business environment but was made even more challenging during the 2019-2022 consideration period by the unique obstacles resulting from the COVID–19 pandemic.  Supply chain issues, staffing shortages, logistics slow-downs, extended lead times along with the general economic uncertainty stemming from the pandemic posed significant headwinds for all of this year’s awardees.

Additionally, the broad implementation of sweeping sanctions against the Russian Federation following that country’s further invasion of Ukraine has closed a significant market for Robinson Helicopters. Rotorcorp grew its export business in other countries to mitigate the curtailment of the Russian market.

U.S. companies are nominated for the “E” Awards through the U.S. Commercial Service office network in 108 U.S. cities and more than 75 countries which helps U.S. companies export. Criteria for the award are based on four years of successive export growth, usually accompanied by a rising percentage of export sales within total sales. An applicant’s demonstration of an innovative international marketing plan that led to an increase in exports is a significant factor in making the award. Following nomination by a local Commercial Service Office, the “E” Award Committee, which is chaired by the Department of Commerce, and includes representatives from ExIm Bank, and the Departments of Labor, State, and Transportation makes the final award recommendation

“The ‘E’ Awards Committee was impressed with Rotorcorp’s record of export sales to more than 45 international markets. The company’s commitment to eCommerce development to facilitate international sales was also particularly notable,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Rotorcorp’s achievements have clearly contributed to national export expansion efforts that support the U.S. economy and create American jobs.”

Global since its inception in 2011, the Authorized Robinson Helicopter Company Service Center has grown to serve over 3,000 customers who rely on Rotorcorp to keep their Robinson R22, R44, and R66 helicopters flying safely. Throughout the arc of the pandemic, Rotocorp laser-focused on its export-reliant strategic plan and meeting the needs of critical-industry Robinson helicopter operators in law enforcement, aerial agricultural application, and energy sectors around the world. These critical-industry customers literally help keep us safe, put food on our tables, and keep the lights on. 

“We are truly honored to be one of the companies to receive the 2023 “E” Award,” Casey said upon receiving the award. “With more than half of our revenues now derived from International sales,  the “E” Award is validation of our commitment to better meet the needs of our international customers through a well-developed export strategy and continued investments into our systems, processes, and the growth of our professional team.”

In addition to Rotorcorp’s eCommerce store, which makes it easy for customers to buy parts online in multiple languages, Rotorcorp’s customer service team is fluent in English and Spanish. This makes it easier for international customers to call or email the company to get help and technical advice when they need it. In December of 2022, Rotorcorp delivered major components and engines to the Uruguay National Police as part of a winning contract the company was awarded. Faced with continued extended lead times from both the airframe (Robinson) and engine (Lycoming) manufacturers, Rotorcorp worked with both company’s leadership team to drastically reduce the time these critical public safety aircraft would be down for service. “We are very pleased with how Rotorcorp advocated on our behalf,” said Eduardo Cheker, director of aviation for the Uruguay National Police. “They helped deliver the items we needed on time and helped keep our public safety mission flying,” continued Cheker.      

ITP Aero to Deliver New GE CT7 SAF-Tested Engines for NH-90 Helicopters

Within Feindef, the International Defence Exhibition being held in Madrid, ITP Aero has announced that during 2023 it will deliver, from its Albacete facilities, new GE CT7 engines, which power the NH-90 helicopter of the Spanish Ministry of Defence, tested with SAF (sustainable aviation fuel). This milestone is part of ITP Aero’s commitment to the decarbonisation of aviation, and was announced during an event attended by representatives of the Spanish Ministry of Defence.  

General Coll, head of rotary wing air systems at the DGAM’s sub-directorate general for programs, said: “The fact that ITP Aero can carry out bench tests on the engines that will be installed in our NH90 helicopters using SAF fuel is undoubtedly a very important first step towards standardising the use of this type of fuel in our aircraft engines, which will have an impact on reducing harmful emissions into the atmosphere and, consequently, on preserving the environment, an objective with which the Armed Forces are aligned and committed.”

General Gómez Blanco, deputy director of fighter and RPA engineering at MALOG, said: “The use of Sustainable Fuels in Aviation is the most solid option to boost the decarbonisation of the aeronautical sector in the short term. The trials announced today by ITP are a significant boost to the engineering activities that will consolidate the use of these fuels in Armed Forces helicopters. These activities are fully in line with the tests being carried out by the Spanish Air and Space Forces in collaboration with the most important Spanish companies in the sector, including ITP, of course.”.Álvaro Santodomingo, director of defence at ITP Aero, said: “This milestone is a further step in our commitment to continue advancing the use of SAF on Spanish Ministry of Defence platforms and is in line with our commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Together, we are positioning Spain as a major player in the use of SAF, and we are proud to be able to do so now hand in hand with the Ministry of Defence.

This milestone joins other projects for the use of SAF that ITP Aero is promoting in different platforms of the Spanish Ministry of Defence. In this regard, it should be noted that ITP Aero is part of the Air and Space Army’s BACSI (Connected, Sustainable and Intelligent Air Base) programme with the aim of increasing the effectiveness, productivity, efficiency and sustainability of air bases. As part of this project, the Eagle Patrol flew for the first time with SAF during the air parade of the last Columbus Day. ITP Aero designed an instrumentation system to help validate the use of SAF in the engines that power the Eagle Patrol’s C-101 aircraft. The technology developed by ITP Aero was able to automatically measure the temperature of the engine gases, helping to validate their proper operation with SAF.

Erickson S-64 FAA Certified for NVG Ops

An Erickson S-64F Air Crane helicopter was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for night vision goggle (NVG) operation on April 6, 2023. The approval is a
key component of Erickson’s integrated NVG program, which aims to offer customers increased flexibility and expanded operational capabilities. This added proficiency presents the opportunity for increased tactical planning and agility in aerial firefighting and a variety of civil protection operations.

NVG Program Milestones

Erickson partnered with Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) to modify an S-64F to perform NVG operations. Concurrently, Erickson pilots received NVG training and certification through ASU. Aircraft modifications and pilot certifications were completed in March, with FAA aircraft certification in April.

Erickson NVG night firefighting training with multi-agency coordination. Photo courtesy of Crook County Fire Department.

A critical element of Erickson’s NVG program is ensuring
that the NVG flight crew maintain currency in accordance
with current FAA regulations, though it is the policy of the Erickson training department that pilots exceed the FAA’s minimum requirements to maintain a high level of proficiency. Erickson conducted NVG training in accordance with this policy at its annual spring training event in Oregon.

As part of the currency flights, prior to conducting operational training, flight crews completed Helicopter Night Vision Goggle Operations (HNVGOs), in accordance with the FAA regulations. Upon completion of those activities, the flight crews initiated their Night Fire Fighting training. During the training, they performed a variety of drops using multiple coverage level options. A variety of filling techniques performed in the S-64 included ground fill, Pond Snorkel hover release into an open water source, hover fill, as well as tank fill operations.

This was a multi-agency event, with the FAA and U.S. Forest Service on-site, observing the training. In addition, the Crook County Fire Department was also on site, providing ground fill for the S-64 tank and simultaneously conducting required helicopter coordination training and signoffs.

Regarding Erickson’s NVG capabilities, ASU Director of Operation Tony Tsantles commented, “I had the pleasure of working with Erikson pilots personally; they are professional and prepared to conduct operations around the clock now. That is exciting, not just for themselves, but for their supported customers as well!”

Program Development

Erickson’s approach to the NVG program development demonstrates the company’s “safety-first” mentality. Program participants were able to operate outside of a fixed timetable, which resulted in the removal of any perceived pressures and allowed for optimal coordination, planning, and risk mitigation.

Erickson’s Director of Operations, Ray Touzeau, commented on the development of the NVG program: “Safety is the first and foremost aspect of the NVG training program. Erickson’s goal is always to be the master of our craft, with safe and effective operations being the marker of success.” Touzeau also explained that risk mitigation strategies such as employing extensive training and following detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), regulatory protocols, and procedures will be paramount in achieving NVG safety and performance objectives.

The Future of Erickson’s NVG Operations Program

Erickson’s recent dedication to developing a comprehensive NVG program is fueled by feedback from long-term customers, coupled with a commitment to remain at the forefront of aerial firefighting technology and current industry trajectories.

Touzeau commented, “Erickson’s historical strategy has been to ask customers what they want, and then work with them to make it happen. Our goal with the NVG program will be to continue implementing the program, while soliciting customer feedback to determine where potential for enhancement exists.”

Armed with customer feedback, Erickson plans to continue exploring additional strategies, integrations, and technologies to enhance competencies and optimize situational awareness in all operations, to include the NVG program.

TARMAC Aerosave and Donecle Sign Drone Aircraft Inspection Agreement

Aircraft and engine lifecycle management provider TARMAC Aerosave and Donecle, a manufacturer of drones specifically for aviation maintenance purposes, have signed an agreement to develop automated aircraft inspections.

Donecle, based in Toulouse, France, develops a range of automated solutions to optimise visual aircraft inspections. The Donecle system consists of a fully automatic flight — without a pilot or GPS — coupled to image analysis software and a secure platform for digital inspection monitoring.  

As part of its innovating and permanent client satisfaction strategy, TARMAC Aerosave considered the Donecle solution with great interest. 

Without being a substitute for maintenance procedures or mechanics, drones make it possible to carry out inspections in less than two hours — such as general visual inspections (GVI), lightning strike inspections, paintwork and regulatory marking inspections — thus making faster aircraft delivery to clients possible – whether on exit from storage or from maintenance.  It is a valuable decision aid tool.

A successful test campaign was conducted by the two partners on the TARMAC Aerosave site in Toulouse-Francazal. The solution is currently fully operational for narrow-body aircraft in hangars. Developments are now focusing on the capacity to carry out inspections outside and on wide-body aircraft.

The large number of aircraft accommodated by TARMAC Aerosave, the varied types, the regular flow of arrivals and departures and the three Tarbes, Teruel and Toulouse sites, allow Donecle to develop its products for every environment.

Black Widow Helicopters Orders 12 Foresight MX HUMS; Installing as Standard Equipping on UH-60’s

Black Widow Helicopters has announced an order for 12 shipsets of GPMS
International’s Foresight MX, the industry’s most advanced health and usage monitoring
system (HUMS). In addition, every UH-60 Black Hawk aircraft delivered through Black Widow’s
leading digital modernization program will be standard equipped with Foresight MX. With the
agreement, Black Widow Helicopters also becomes a GPMS Certified Installer, providing a
premier installation option for the growing number of Black Hawk operators around the world.

“We selected Foresight MX to provide operators the best HUMS experience possible to monitor
their Black Hawks” said Alex Freidin, vice president of commercial and flight operations of
Black Widow Helicopters. “Foresight reduces operating costs by monitoring aircraft and
engine vibrations and identifies trending components with an easy-to-understand user interface.
With Foresight’s advanced analytics and predictive Remaining Useful Life capability for trending
components, operators are able to mitigate unscheduled and AOG events, resulting in lower
operating costs and increased aircraft availability.”

According to Todd Powers, vice president of sales for GPMS, Foresight MX goes beyond
HUMS. “In addition to the predictive HUMS, Black Widow UH-60 clients benefit from
Foresight’s touchless cellular data uploads, flight data monitoring (FDM), exceedance
monitoring, automated power assurance checks, and “one move” rotor track and balance
capability. At just over 17 lbs. installed, operators benefit from our award-winning, lightweight,
integrated, and future-proof technology versus typical federated and heavy legacy systems from
multiple solutions and vendors. We’re proud and honored to be on Black Widow Helicopters
UH-60A and soon on their UH-60L Black Hawks.

Freidin continues, “HUMS is a key part of the United States Forest Service roadmap and it’s
included in their MATOC requirement for a “modern helicopter.” We’re focused on delivering
state-of-the-art Black Hawks to our clients with full-width, touch-screen glass cockpits for a
superior pilot experience, and with Foresight MX HUMS as standard equipment, an exceptional
experience for the maintenance and operations teams. It gives our clients the competitive
advantage in an ever-increasing UH-60 Black Hawk market and more importantly, aside from
the commercial and economic benefit, a massive safety enhancement.”

Schools in U. S. to Receive $10 Million in FAA Grants to Develop the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals

Twenty-three schools will receive $10 million in grants from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to help attract and train students for careers as pilots and aviation maintenance technicians. 
Twelve of the schools will receive $5 million from the FAA’s Aircraft Pilots Aviation Workforce Development Grants program. The schools can use the funding to create and deliver curriculums designed to prepare students to become pilots, aerospace engineers or drone operators. 

Grant recipients include: 

  • AOPA Foundation Institute, Frederick, Md.: $498,100 
  • Black Pilots of America, Seattle, Wash.: $500,000 
  • Broward College, Pembroke Pines, Fla.: $500,000 
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo.: $345,711 
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona, Fla.: $484,803 
  • Kentucky Office of Employment & Training, Frankfort, Ky.: $500,000 
  • Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Inc, Mount Royal, N.J.: $171,231.80 
  • School District of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Penn.: $197,180 
  • Sling Flying Club, LLC, Torrance, Calif.: $499,865 
  • Tuskegee Museum, Detroit, Mich.: $500,000 
  • University of Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie West, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands: $499,301 
  • William Jessup University, Rocklin, Calif.: $303,808.20 

The other $5 million will go to 11 schools as part of the FAA’s Aviation Maintenance Technical Workers Workforce Development program. These grants will help build back the pipeline of maintenance professionals; approximately 20,000 fewer people are working in the aircraft maintenance sector than before the pandemic. 

Grant recipients include: 

  • Aviation Technical Services Inc., Everett, Wash.: $459,206.29 
  • Cape Cod Community College, Plymouth, Mass.: $463,304 
  • Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Cincinnati, Ohio: $423,594 
  • F & E Aviation Maintenance, Miami Springs, Fla.: $500,000 
  • Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield, Ill.: $500,000 
  • Nashua Community College, Nashua, N.H.: $456,051 
  • Pearl River Community College, Poplarville, Miss.: $500,000 
  • San Luis Obispo County Community College District, San Luis Obispo, Calif.: $484,299 
  • Tarrant County College District, Fort Worth, Texas: $282,345.71 
  • Technical Education Services Inc, Norfolk, Va.: $431,200 
  • The Fulton Leadership Academy, East Point, Ga.: $500,000 

Recipients can use the funding to establish new educational programs; provide scholarships or apprenticeships; conduct outreach about careers in the aviation maintenance industry; and support educational opportunities related to aviation maintenance in economically disadvantaged areas.  

Bluetail Raises Additional $2.2 Million Series A  from Venture Firm AZ-VC to Accelerate Growth

Bluetail, an SaaS aircraft records platform for private aviation, has announced that it closed an additional $2.2 million Series A investment. The round was led by AZ-VC, an Arizona-based venture capital fund that is uniquely focused on supporting emerging technology companies throughout the state.

With its triple-digit growth in 2022, 600M+ in aircraft records managed, and a growing customer base of private, corporate, and charter operators, Bluetail will use the additional funds to expand and scale its market presence, introduce new revolutionary products and integrations, and bring further automation enhancements to its industry-leading solution. All this serves to improve asset value, drive significant cost efficiencies, and reduce friction in maintenance transactions.

“Despite the wildfire spread of software during the 21st century, some pen-and-paper industries are still absent of modern solutions, private aviation included. Bluetail is redefining aviation records management with a cloud platform that is a true 10x solution,” stated Jason Pressman, AZ-VC. “We are eager to support the founder’s ascension as they bring innovative solutions to an industry that is primed for disruption.”

“We are extremely proud that AZ-VC has recognized the value of our significant market growth, expansion of the aircraft records software category, and our unlimited potential as the business aviation industry continues to see the ROI benefits of our platform and digital scanning services,” stated Roberto Guerrieri, CEO of Bluetail.

This current funding is in addition to a previously announced round of $2.1 million from Brookstone VC and angel investors.