VHA Shifts Priorities to 206 Main Rotor Blade Development
Monday, December 9th, 2013
Van Horn Aviation recently shifted its development priorities to focus on the 206 main rotor blade program after the MD500 main rotor blade flight test program was cut short by unexpected unavailability of the test aircraft.
From August through early December 2013, the VHA flight test team achieved successful track and balancing of newly redesigned MD530F main rotor blades, high-g maneuvers, and forward flights to 130 kts during flight testing on an MD530F at MD Helicopters’ Mesa, Ariz., facility. However, MD Helicopters determined they had other priorities for the aircraft and terminated the program before all flight testing required for FAA certification could be completed.
The knowledge and experience gained from the MD530F flight test program will be carried over to the 206 main rotor blade program. VHA intends to resume certification testing of the MD500 series main and tail rotor blades after purchasing its own test helicopter in fourth quarter 2014.
For more information, visit our MD500 Main Blade Development page.
VHA Completes First Set of Hover Tests on Gen3 MD530F Main Blades
Friday, August 23rd, 2013
Test pilot Greg Ashe and VHA president James Van Horn conduct hover tests on the new VHA Gen3 Composite MD530F Main Rotor Blades, August 22, 2013.
The third time seems to be the charm.
At the end of two days of ground run-ups and brief hovers in ground effect for track and balance, the VHA flight test team was able to hover the MD 530F out of ground effect with our new third generation (Gen3) composite main rotor blades. According to VHA founder and president James R. Van Horn during a company celebration at the end of the second day, the initial data looks very good with control loads similar to those currently generated by the metal blades.
“Two days after we first bolted on these new blades, we were able to get farther into testing and gather more data than we could get in four weeks of trying to balance the second generation blades,” Van Horn said. “It looks like we’ve fixed the issues and we’re ready for up and away testing in the next few weeks.”
The hover tests were conducted in the back lot at VHA’s Tempe facility. Flight tests involving translational flight, forward flight and side slips will be conducted at Mesa, Arizona’s Falcon Field.
To see a composite video of the day’s flight tests, click here. You can also find this video on the VanHornAviation YouTube channel.
MD530F Main Blade Flight Testing Kicks Off with Baseline Weight Measurements
Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
In late June 2013, representatives from MD Helicopters arrived at VHA’s Tempe, Arizona, facility to obtain baseline weight measurements of the MD530F test ship. The aircraft was weighed with the current metal main rotor blades and all test equipment to provide a baseline weight for flight testing, which is expected to begin in July.
The VHA composite main rotor blades will be individually weighed and the difference in weight accounted for during the flight tests. VHA personnel expect to conduct hover tests at the VHA facility, then move the fully instrumented ship back to the MD Helicopters facility at Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona, for transitional and high speed testing.
VHA Featured in A2Z Metalworking Magazine
Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
Responding to increased demands for its tail rotor blades and looking toward future production needs as main rotor blades continue to be developed, VHA has upgraded and purchased several new computer numeric controlled (CNC) machining centers over the past year. All of this activity caught the attention of A2Z Metalworker magazine, which ran an article on VHA, its facility, and its relationship with machine broker Ellison Machinery, in the May/June 2013 issue of its Southwest edition.
To download a PDF copy of this article, click here.
The Van Horn Way Highlighted in Vertical Magazine
Thursday, April 25th, 2013
Vertical magazine ran Jason Colquhoun’s article on “The Van Horn Way” in its April/May 2013 issue and as the lead for its April 22 Vertical Daily News issue.
The April/May 2013 issue of Vertical magazine featured a six-page story entitled, “The Van Horn Way.” Written by veteran helicopter pilot Jason Calquhoun who has logged more than 500 hours on a Bell 206 JetRanger fitted with VHA tail rotor blades, the story describes how Van Horn Aviation’s small business approach to solving problems has facilitated success in both product development and working with OEMs.
The print version of the article includes almost a dozen color photos of VHA projects, products and employees. To read a digital version of the photo-intensive print article, click here. Note that this version uses a flash player and may not open on Apple devices or slow Internet connections.
The article proved so popular that Vertical also posted the article on its website and used it as the lead in the April 22 issue of Vertical Daily News. To read the website version of the article, click here.
VHA Signs MOU with Bell Helicopter for Composite 412/212 Tail Rotor Blades
Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
VHA’s prototype 412/212 tail rotor blade.
Van Horn Aviation recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. concerning 412/212 rotor blades. Under the MOU, VHA will design, certify and manufacture composite tail rotor blades to supply the Bell 412/212 product lines. The VHA 412/212 tail rotor blades will also be available for purchase by current operators through Aeronautical Accessories, a Bell Helicopter brand.
“Our 412/212 tail rotor blades will share many of the same qualities of our proven 206 tail rotor blades, including a robust composite design and efficient airfoil,” said VHA president James Van Horn. “We have already completed the design and manufacture of the prototype blade and will be flight testing this summer.”
The certification process will require a bird strike test, which will be conducted prior to flight testing. VHA plans to conduct bird strike and initial flight tests during summer 2013.
Aeronautical Accessories Becomes Exclusive Distributor of VHA 206B/L Tail Rotor Blades
Friday, December 7th, 2012
Van Horn Aviation recently increased production of its 206B/L composite tail rotor blades in response to a new agreement with Bell Helicopters. The agreement, signed earlier this week, grants Bell subsidiary Aeronautical Accessories exclusive rights to distribute VHA 206B/L tail rotor blades. Beginning December 7, 2012, operators wishing to purchase 206B/L tail rotor blades should contact their local Bell Helicopter Service Center or Aeronautical Accessories at 1-800-251-7094.
VHA will continue to sell its UH-1 Huey composite tail rotor blade directly to operators through its distributor network.
VHA Receives Brazilian STC for 206 TR Blades
Friday, October 12th, 2012
Van Horn Aviation recently received a supplemental type certificate for its 206B/L tail rotor blades from the Agencia Nacional de Aviacao Civil (National Civil Aviation Agency) of Brazil. The Brazilian STC allows 206B/L owners in that country to legally install and fly VHA’s composite tail rotor blades on their helicopters. For a copy of the Brazilian STC, see our documents page.
VHA Featured in Helicopter Publications
Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
Two helicopter publications — HeliMX and ALEA’s Air Beat — featured Van Horn Aviation in recent issues. HeliMX editor Fred Polak visited VHA’s Tempe, Ariz., facility to interview VHA President James R. Van Horn regarding the general manufacture and repair of composite components. While at the facility, Fred took numerous photos that appeared in the article, and selected a photo of VHA painter David Beltran for the front cover of HeliMX’s August/September issue. To read the article, visit http://www.helimx.com/article/carbon-fiber-–-new-spin-main-and-tail-rotor-blades.
The Airborne Law Enforcement Association (ALEA)’s Air Beat magazine contacted VHA regarding a corporate profile to run in its July/August issue. VHA contacted several law enforcement customers for the article, including Lt. Michael Ingram of the Pasadena (Calif.) Police Department’s Air Ops Section and Sgt. Nick Cory of the Tulsa (Okla.) Police Department’s Air Support Unit, who were both featured in the article. ALEA members can find the article on pages 48-49 of the July/August Air Beat. If you’re not an ALEA member, click this link VHA corp profile Jul-Aug 2012 Air Beat to read the article.
VHA Begins Flight Test of New MD 530F Main Rotor Blades
Friday, July 27th, 2012
VHA began flight testing its newly redesigned MD530F main rotor blades on July 24, 2012.
Van Horn Aviation returned to flight testing this week as it celebrated a successful first flight of its MD 530F main rotor blades on July 24, 2012. The flight testing, held at the MD Helicopters facility in Mesa, Ariz., validated the design changes made to the blade since last year’s initial hover test and allows the program to move forward toward certification. VHA flight test personnel expect to continue through the various phases of flight testing through the third quarter 2012.