Helicopter Icing Trials - 1983

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CharlieOneSix
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Helicopter Icing Trials - 1983

#1 Post by CharlieOneSix » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:30 am

Back in 1983 the Bell 214ST helicopter was new to Aberdeen and came without any icing clearance - rather restrictive on North Sea ops. Bell sent over a Test Pilot and we provided pilots in the other seat for some in depth trials which resulted in the first Moderate Icing Clearance of a UK helicopter. I must find the Rotor & Wing article in which the photographs show just how much ice we hung on the machine - it was very impressive! Bell gave T-shirts to those of us who were involved in the trials...the skid landing gear shown was soon replaced by wheels as manoeuvring a 17,500lb helicopter in and out of the hangar on tiny clip on ground handling dolly wheels was problematic...

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Re: Helicopter Icing Trials - 1983

#2 Post by ian16th » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:41 pm

CharlieOneSix wrote: as manoeuvring a 17,500lb helicopter in and out of the hangar on tiny clip on ground handling dolly wheels was problematic...


At Dishforth we did it with Beverley's.
Sideways!
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Re: Helicopter Icing Trials - 1983

#3 Post by CharlieOneSix » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:25 pm

ian16th wrote:At Dishforth we did it with Beverley's.
Sideways!


That's impressive! The trouble with our mickey mouse handling wheels was they didn't quite provide enough clearance to get the skids over the lip at the hangar entrance and they usually either bottomed out the skids or the wheels came unclipped.

This is the skid version of the same 214 ST posted above that I took to Farnborough 1982 straight from the docks at Southampton - still factory fresh paint!

G-BKFN-Farnborough-82.jpg
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As a Cadet I used to enjoy my Air Training Corps air experience flights in Beverleys from Thorney Island in the very early 60's. The last time I saw one in flight was in December 1967 when I was flying a Wessex low level southbound to Sembawang, Singapore, from Jason Bay in Malaysia in reasonably crappy weather and I saw one going north, also low level to stay under the cloud. Although I can't be sure it was the same one, sadly a Beverley flew into high ground not long afterwards about 50 miles from where I saw that one.
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Re: Helicopter Icing Trials - 1983

#4 Post by ian16th » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:18 pm

A complicated funny story!

Dishforth January 1959.

Putting a Beverley into a hanger, sideways, was complicated and labour intensive.
The a/c was towed and positioned outside the hanger doors, side on.

It was then jacked up and wheeled 'skids' put under the main wheels.

A wheeled jack was used to lift the nose; this lowered the twin tail fins sufficiently to get the a/c through the hanger doors!

This lot was then towed very carefully into the hanger, and when considered to be in position, the nose was lowered and hopefully the tail fins rose between the girders of the roof.

All in all, a job not taken lightly.

Now one night I'm i/c the Radar & Wireless night shift when I get a call that a pre-flight is to be done on an a/c and where it was going. I get the appropriate VHF crystals from the cupboard and detail a couple of guys to do the job.

20 minutes or so they return asking me to check the a/c serial number, as the one I'd given them was not on the dispersal. So I phones and checks and I am informed that the a/c is on the dispersal.

We all go out with torches searching for a lost Beverley!

After a while someone notices that we do have an a/c that he thought should be in the hanger.

So the Land Rover is despatched to the Guardroom to get the hanger keys and we get the doors open and low and behold our missing Beverley was snug and warm inside.

Knowing the trouble and effort it took to get a Bev into the hanger; you'd think they'd make sure that it was the right one!
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Re: Helicopter Icing Trials - 1983

#5 Post by FD2 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:26 am

Slightly off thread, I remember some poor buggers were unlucky enough to get flown back from the Far East in a Beverley in the 1960s - it took quite a long time! It sounds like a nightmare to move around on the ground. X( I was very lucky to get a VC10. :)

I only once had a build up of ice on the 214 and all that happened was an increase in torque to maintain straight and level - the blades stayed more or less balanced, or there was no more than the usual vibration. Luckily we were at the top of the ILS for 17 and it soon shed as we descended into warmer air. The same thing had happened in an S61 a few years before and that was altogether more uncomfortable! Shedding ice from one or more of the five blades put the main rotor head further out of balance until it was all gone. Having to climb to get vectored to the ILS often put us into colder air than we had been flying in inbound.

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Re: Helicopter Icing Trials - 1983

#6 Post by Alisoncc » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:25 pm

FD2 wrote:Slightly off thread, I remember some poor buggers were unlucky enough to get flown back from the Far East in a Beverley in the 1960s.

Flew from Changi to Butterworth, thence to the Coco Isles, Port Hedland, Alice Springs and then to Laverton (Melbourne) in a Bubbly in 1967. T'was fun - Not.

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Re: Helicopter Icing Trials - 1983

#7 Post by Boac » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:33 pm

FD2 wrote:I remember some poor buggers were unlucky enough to get flown back from the Far East in a Beverley in the 1960s
- I hear they are expected at Brize mid December 2018 :))

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Re: Helicopter Icing Trials - 1983

#8 Post by CharlieOneSix » Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:49 pm

CharlieOneSix wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:30 am
........ I must find the Rotor & Wing article in which the photographs show just how much ice we hung on the machine - it was very impressive!.....
Almost a year on and whilst looking for something else in the loft I came across the above article. This was on the cover of that September 1983 issue of Rotor & Wing:
214ST1983.jpg
The photo below shows the amount of ice we accumulated on the nose. There is an ice detector (with no ice on it - probably burnt off with the heater) at the top centre of the photo. It was soon obvious that the best ice detectors were the windscreen wiper arms.
214 nose ice.jpg
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The next photo is of the ice build up on the starboard engine intake basket. This mod was experimental at the time but soon became standard. The port intake had no intake basket fitted so that any differences in performance could be measured between the two engines in icing conditions.
214 Intake Ice.jpg
One of the difficulties was trying to stay in icing conditions close to Aberdeen airport and then, when traffic and cloud base permitted, doing a dirty dive out of cloud to get down on the ground before the ice melted so photos could be taken to support the icing certification case. An ILS was just too drawn out. All good fun!
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Re: Helicopter Icing Trials - 1983

#9 Post by FD2 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:03 pm

Wow - great pics C16! The icing encounter I mentioned earlier had nowhere near that amount of ice on the aircraft, as far as we knew. Some edge of the seat moments for you and the other guys on the trial when you collected that lot.

Is that top photo near Trump's wonderful, amazing, best in the world, golf course at Balmedie? The one with the fine views of the wind farm...

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Re: Helicopter Icing Trials - 1983

#10 Post by CharlieOneSix » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:10 pm

The photo didn’t have a location description but, yes, it does look like the Balmedie coast. I think the wind farm is in position now but I haven’t been in those parts for ages. Due to the windfarm the outbound BALIS waypoint on the route structure has apparently been relocated.
The helicopter pilots' mantra: If it hasn't gone wrong then it's just about to...

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