StandardAero and Robertson Fuel Systems are celebrating the success of their retrofittable crash-resistant fuel tank (CRFT) for the Airbus Helicopters AS350 and EC130 series, with delivery into the European market on the near horizon. Launch European customer and mountain rescue service provider, Air Zermatt, is set to take acceptance of their first CRFT this spring.
Since receiving Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval in December 2017, and subsequent approval by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the joint StandardAero and Robertson Fuel Systems team has delivered more than 108 CRFTs to its customers in the continental United States, Hawaii, Alaska, Guatemala and Australia.
“It’s no surprise that our crash-resistant fuel tank has seen such great success in its first year,” said Rick Stine, president of StandardAero Components, Helicopters & Accessories. “The industry has a strong demand for improved safety solutions for legacy helicopters like the AS350, and with products like those that comprise our SAFECRAFT portfolio, our team of aftermarket experts are leading the development of mission critical safety solutions to face those demands head-on.”
The CRFT was derived from Robertson Fuel Systems’ proven military fuel restraint technologies and adapted to meet the needs of civilian operators. It is the only retrofittable solution for the AS350 helicopter platform that has been successfully tested and certified with an external cargo swing installed, and that is fully compliant with the latest FAA FAR Part 27.952 fuel system crashworthiness requirements. In addition, customers such as Air Zermatt are able to take advantage of the thoughtfully simplistic installation design of the CRFT, allowing for easy retrofit, with no specialized field service or intrusive structural modifications needed, reducing aircraft downtime significantly.
“Due to the critical missions our helicopters perform, safety, availability and reliability all go hand in hand,” said René Lauber, technical director for Air Zermatt. “When choosing the best fuel tank retrofit option for our needs, it was imperative that we select a solution that would result in minimal impact to our operations, which the StandardAero tank was able to provide.”
The CRFT serves as the cornerstone of StandardAero’s SAFECRAFT portfolio, a collection of safety equipment solutions which includes ADS-B In/Out options that surpass pending regulatory requirements and an advanced autopilot system.