DART Aerospace has been chosen by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to conduct safety research for new helicopter float system designs. The European Commission delegated €1,475,000 ($2.3 million in Canadian funds) from its Horizon 2020 program for this DART-led, three-year project to research potential float designs mounted higher on the helicopter than the current skid and lower fuselage float designs used around the world.
The primary objective of the project, explains DART Aerospace, is to increase offshore helicopter safety by identifying if technical and economically feasible solutions are possible to reduce instances of aircraft capsizing, which can flood the cabin and lead to fatalities. EASA will use the results of the research to inform potential future regulation.
“DART has vast experience in working directly with OEMs and regulatory agencies to design, develop, and certify cost-efficient float solutions,” said Lewis Brooks, strategic account manager, DART Aerospace. “We are looking forward to working with EASA to explore innovative solutions that increase industry safety.”
The project will include research into four areas, including: Configuration and location of the system, deployment methods, heat resistance as related to location near engines and exhaust systems, and aerodynamic impacts. DART explains it will work closely with OEMs throughout the process, including OEM engineers on design and execution concepts.
Design and manufacturing will take place at DART’s Vista, California, facility. Aerodynamic testing will be done in collaboration with European aerospace institutions.
“Corporate responsibility and the ability to increase safety for the betterment of the industry is extremely important to DART,” said Alain Madore, president and CEO, DART Aerospace. “DART celebrates a long legacy of commitment to safety and innovation. Receiving this prestigious project from EASA is a testament to that dedication and an opportunity to increase safety and ultimately the use of helicopters offshore.”