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Yacht Helicopters

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Yacht News, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    Carl, that is correct. The rigid rotor system was the big invention in the Bölkow rotor head. This was the reason, the Bo-105 was the first helicopter being capable of flying a real loop. But the missing (or not neccessary) flapping hinges transmitted the rotor vibrations, caused by the pressure differential between the blades running forward and the ones running backwards, much more into the hull structure / cabin. The 5 blade rotor of the MD 500 / 600 / 900 Notar helos had much more flexible blades for compensating those vibrations. That is the reason, they have to be removed or at least all safely secured when the yacht is ferried accross larger bodies of water.

    I loved the MD 902 NOTAR very much but as I said before, the NOTAR fan behind and above the cabin on the versions I flew, was quite noisy. And MD Helicopters used to be in a very unstable business state at that time. The MD 902 would make a perfect yacht helicopter with its small d-value und the NOTAR tail. But with a not foldable rotor, one would need a yacht like Octopus with its perfect hangar. A complete balance run after each blade removal is far to much hassle.

    Two blade rotors have different peculiarities and behaviours. As You mentioned Carl, the possibility to hit your own boom and especially on the R-44, the early rotor mast bumping problems and the low momentum in the rotor during auto rotation. We had some deadly chrashes in Europe with rotor masts shearing off during flight and blades hitting the tail. After some corrective regulatory actions by the EASA, the operation of the R-44 in Europe became much safer.

    The easiest solution for a helicopter designer is the 3 blade rotor, which is used on all small single engine EC helicopters (EC 120, 125 and 130). Safe, easy to fly, easy to maintain and easy to fold with the smallest footprint. The first helicopter, I flew in the military, were the french built Alouette II. The Alouette II was a pain in the ****. With two pilots and three typical German soldiers in the back seats and to much fuel on board, it could not lift off, even with over-torquing the gear / engine. You just pulled the collective pitch to max torque and waited for the fuel to burn down. When the heli finally lifted off, You were legal :). It also had 3-blade rotors (actually the parent design of the above EC types) but with wooden blades covered with fabrics (like a glider). Very light blades and a night mare for inexperienced pilots during auto rotation exercises. The later versions of the Alouett, the LAMA SA 315B and the Cheetah were very capable work horses with an unbelievable service ceiling. They are still used all over the European Alps for carring pretty heavy slung loads to the highest possible elevations. As far as I know, a Lama helicopter is still holding the world altitude record.

    The Bo-105 was easy to fly but the early military versions had very weak gears with a much to low torque limit. Only the later CBS version was acceptable. The Red Bull Helicopter acrobatic team still flies the Bo-105 CBS.

    After having flown the Robinson R-66 mariner (now EASA certified), I must say, it would be a very nice helo for a smaller yacht. I have even seen a smaller yacht with an analyzable, inflatable floating landing pad very slowly towed behind the yacht and perfectly into the wind, with a R-66 landing and taking off on that landing pad. After landing, the pad was towed aside the yacht and the helo lifted with the standard tender lift onto the aft deck. The aft deck would have been far to small for a helo landing. The only not really legal part on this helo yacht operation was the fact, that the helo was refuelled with diesel. Although diesel is certified as emergency fuel on most turbines, it is not really according to the books. But this setup could even work on 80 to 90 ft expedition yacht. But if the owner is not a profficient pilot, the hired helo pilot would probably have to do the cooking on board :).

    Using permanent floats on a helicopter and landing in the water near the yacht and lift the helo onto the yacht is not very practicable. When starting or shutting down the helo sitting on the water, you loose your torque compensation and your helo gets pretty unpredictable. A coax helicopter would be perfect for permanent floats.

    There is a small helicopter company in Germany producing a certified little coax helicopter. Very easy to fly but only a 2-seater. That little flying machine would fit nicely on a smaller yacht. But as a NoGo for me, petrol engine!

    Do not have me talk about the Leonardo (former Bell) 609 as a yacht helicopter. This dangerous piece of flying material has a long long way towards certification and the company needs an investor with very deep pockets to pay for that process.

    But I am afraid, a lot of companies are opening Pandoras box at the moment by introducing all this electrical flying vehicles with multiple rotors and ducted articulating fans. Just big scale manned drones. When these vehicles are produced in numbers, we will see lot of flying around and above yachts here in the Med.

    After my retirement, I have given my Bell helos to the commercial side of things and started looking for a new light twin turbine helicopter. The EC / (AC)H-135 was not acceptable for me. No head room in the rear cabin and too much vibration even with the full augmented noise and vibration dampers installed. But the (AC)H-145 with the Helionix Avionik cockpit and its much larger cabin and after having flown the 5-blade demonstrator, I am convinced about this bird. Now having the full IFR type rating for this bird, I cant hardly wait for the delivery.

    Btw. If some of our members is looking for the ideal expedition yacht with perfect facilities for helo ops and some great tenders, we have a yacht (inofficially) for sale here in Hamburg. From what the rumors tell, the Sister of Paul Allen would like to sell Octopus right out of the floating dock at Luerssen Hamburg. After its large and comprehensive refit, the perfect vessel for expedition type yachting in style.

    I should carefully ask my children wheather they would place me in a straight jacked, if I will make an offer:p.

    TBC
  2. German Yachting

    German Yachting Senior Member

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  3. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Sad indeed. Cline dated Tiger Wood’s ex-wife. YF member C4ENG worked for him.
  4. Chuckybas

    Chuckybas Member

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    The Eurocopter EC145 associated with Luna is up for sale if nobody's mentioned it yet. Interior photos available on a site associated with high end listings of all sorts of vehicles and homes.
  5. Ralph Holiman

    Ralph Holiman New Member

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    Are there any yachts that have just used a small seaplane that could be lifted and swung on board?
  6. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Yes, I know at least three and Golden Shadow had a Cessna Caravan onboard...
  7. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Probably a Caravan with amphibious floats?
    (Retractable wheels in the floats)
  8. unsinker

    unsinker Member

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    Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
    eco_plane.jpg

    Blohm & Voss Eco
  9. Ralph Holiman

    Ralph Holiman New Member

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    That definitely looks like a better way to go.