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Types of Helicopter


Linc
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Anyone have a government (FAA, CAA, etc.) reference on classification of helicopters by weight into light, medium, and heavy classifications and classification for light-, medium-, and heavy-lift? I get tired of reading a helicopter is light or medium with nothing to correspond to that description.

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IHOG

 

Here is one reference from the IHOG(Interagency Helicopter Operations Guide).

 

It breaks them down to Type 1, 2, and 3.

 

These are dubbed: Type 1-heavy, Type 2 medium, Type 3 light(see chart)

 

I'm still thinking of any other references. Good question.

 

Marc D.

 

IHOG glossary

 

In this IHOG glossary, scroll down to "light helicopter", "medium helicopter" etc., and it cross references the types.

Edited by Marc D
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On the fire side of the house the classifications breakdown to something like this:

 

Type-I (Heavy) - Skycrane / S-61 / 214ST

Type-II (Medium) - Bell 205

Type-III (Light) - Jetranger / Md-500

 

Helicopter Classification per USFS:

ICS-type I: 700 gal water, 16 seats including the pilot, allowable payload 5000 lbs. (e.g.: Boeing-234, S-64, AS-332, Vertol-107)

ICS-type II: 300 gal water, 10 seats including the pilot, allowable payload 2500 lbs. (e.g.: Bell-212, Bell-205, BK-117, S-58)

ICS-type III: 100 gal water, 5 seats including the pilot, allowable payload 1200 lbs. (e.g.: Bell-206B-III, Lama, MD-500, AS-355)

ICS-type IV: 75 gal water, 3 seats including the pilot, allowable payload 600 lbs. (e.g.: Bell-47, Hiller-12E)

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This all seems just geared towards helitack, not really a universal description of what an aviation governing body considers to be classifications of helicopters by weight or by lifting capacity. These definitions so far are just descriptions to help incident commanders and planners know what capability the aircraft have without having to know the specifics of each type of helicopter. I'm looking more for FAA or an international equivalent body's definition of these classes of helicopters that the helicopter manufacturers and, more specifically, the aviation press seems to use without really defining.

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I don't believe you will find anything else.

It's a Rotorcraft/helicopter and above 12,500lbs you need a type rating.

I think everything else is just slang derived from this Federal government handbook. I'm sure some people use the terms just because they heard them used somewhere else.

 

Marc D.

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Linc, as you didn't specify which industry you were looking at or something more specific I through out the Fire typing as I know it. Sorry if this wasn't what you were looking for!

 

But you leave an open ended question like that and you will get off the wall answers!

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brushfire,

 

My original question stipulated FAA, CAA as examples of the level I was looking for. Perhaps it is all bleed-over from the fire fighting entities that the rest of the helicopter industry even uses them. I don't blame you for sharing what you know, and you shouldn't take it personally that it didn't satisfy me, I just felt the need to redirect the question before I got a hundred wildland firefighting references. If I came off harsh in doing that, then I apologize for my direct style on the forum.

 

Gomer,

 

A 2004 report (pdf format) by the Congress Research Service, stating that there is no uniform classification in the industry, internationally or nationally. The CRS report developed its own arbitrary classification by weight; less than 12,000 lbs MTOW, 12,000-45,000 lbs MTOW, and greater than 45,000 lbs MTOW. However, this was a focus on military aircraft only.

 

PPRUNE forums carried a discussion that referenced a supposed ICAO classification using 3,175 kg (7,000 lbs) to divide between light and medium, and 5,700 kg (12,500 lbs) to divide between medium and heavy. According to another contributor to this discussion, FAA Part 27 uses 7,000 lbs and specifies nine passengers or less, and Part 29 uses above and below 20,000 lbs and references 9 or less passenger seats and 10 or more passenger seats, but refers to Category A and B, not necessarily light, medium, or heavy. I suppose that is the reference you were using?

 

Rotor & Wing references "Western classifications" of helicopters in discussing the several methods within the Russian helicopter industry/government. Rotor & Wing says that the divisions are 3.5 tons (7,000 lbs) and 10 tons (20,000 lbs), possibly displaying a bias to familiarity with the FAR Parts 27.1 & 29.1.

 

From the FAR, I guess the best we can go with are aircraft certification categories of Normal, Transport Category B, and Transport Category A; based on 7,000 lbs, 20,000 lbs, and whether or not the aircraft handles less than 10, or 10 or more passengers. The 12,500-lb type certification requirement of Part 135 is possibly based off of the ICAO standard?

 

Again, I voice my frustration at the use of light, medium, and heavy with respect to helicopters without a real definition tying it to either FARs or the ICAO standards.

 

Hedge,

 

What? No Helicycle as representative of the light class?

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I agree that there is no real standard. What I've seen used most commonly is the passenger seat criterion. Thus, everything with 9 or fewer seats is light, 10 or more (B412, S76, etc) is medium, and anything that requires a type rating is heavy. The 214ST, S92, etc seem to always be considered heavy. It's not necessarily a legal standard, but the default one, in common use.

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