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Long Line work in an R44


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I work for an Ag company and we are looking at getting into aerial seeding and it seems like the only way to do that with an R44 is with a slung bucket from Isolair.

Not sure about the 44, but Isolair make a dry system for the 206 that is hard mounted to the airframe and you operate under Part 137, not part 133, such as you would with a sling.

 

Side note, if you hold a part 137 certificate and you’re conducting agricultural operations with a rotorcraft equipped with external dispensing equipment, you can conduct such operations under Part 137 without a 133 certificate.

 

§137.11 - Notwithstanding part 133 of this chapter, an operator may, if he complies with this part, conduct agricultural aircraft operations with a rotorcraft with external dispensing equipment in place without a rotorcraft external-load operator certificate.

 

On the Part 133 end:

 

§137.11[d] - The holder of a rotorcraft external-load operator certificate under part 133 of this chapter conducting an agricultural aircraft operation, involving only the dispensing of water on forest fires by rotorcraft external-load means, need not comply with this subpart.

Edited by iChris
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First off, does the company own an R44 or are they considering this as a platform? I am an aerial applicator in CA and we use the Bell 206-I think you will find that the R44 is very limited in this application when it comes to payload and performance, especially in issues of high DA...

Not sure about the 44, but Isolair make a dry system for the 206 that is hard mounted to the airframe and you operate under Part 137, not part 133, such as you would with a sling. I'd be looking in the direction of a 206 for that kind of work...does the company operate normal ag (wet applications) ops in Part 137? Are there plans to? If so, the 206 is the best ship for such, as you'll get the payload capacity and a decent usable boom length of 26-28feet...

cost per hour is higher than the 44, but it'll be more robust in the long run.

 

 

Cropdusterman- We own an R44 II. We used it for "wet applications" this past seaon applying fungicide on corn and beans, and a few pumpkins. I know that the 206 may have been as far as performance goes but there were other factors to consider. We looked at cost per hour, acquisition cost, my experience (only a half hour of 206 time, a lot of 44 time), uses for the machine outside aerial application and we decided that the 44 fits our needs best at this point in time. If the aerial application side of the business grows as much as we think it will then we would love to add a turbine ship.

 

We were very happy with the productivity of the 44 this past summer. We see cover crop seeding as a niche market where we are at , that is why i am doing research into what spreading systems would be compatible with the machine that we have.

 

Do you guys do much cover crop seeding out there?

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Another question about the r44 performance. Hypothetically - DA of 5000 feet, while lifting a sling load out of some trees the RPM drops below 90%, what would happen? Would the engine quit like a lawn mower mowing through tall or thick grass? Or something else?

drops below 90%?? Your lifting capacity would be significantly decreased, your RPM would continue to droop, and unless you did something fast, like cut the load loose, you would be in a world of hurt.

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All this info has really educated me on long line ops. I appreciate everyone's comments.

 

What is the best way to go about gaining long line experience? Anyone know of any long line operators that would give instruction in the Midwest?

 

If you own the helicopter, just start practicing. You'll probably find someone on this forum with VRLL experience in your neck of the woods that will take your money to sit in the left seat while you figure it out. Shouldn't take too long until you get the idea and you can go off on your own.

 

There are some 141 schools that will take your money. That'll run you around $10k, since it's a 15 hr syllabus. I don't recommend it for you since your company should be able to let you train for less at cost, if they make you pay for it at all.

 

I'd only recommend doing VRLL at a flight school for two reasons. 1. You're already commercially rated and a vet with the GI Bill to burn and looking to get into utility work. 2. You are a self-pay student renting in order to accumulate hours for the commercial and you're looking to get into utility work eventually.

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Another question about the r44 performance. Hypothetically - DA of 5000 feet, while lifting a sling load out of some trees the RPM drops below 90%, what would happen? Would the engine quit like a lawn mower mowing through tall or thick grass? Or something else?

If your NR drops to 90% in any helicopter, you had better be putting the collective down. The problem won't be the engine, it's the rotor losing lift and rigidity by magnitudes. Can't speak to an R44 at 5000' DA, don't have experience or performance charts, but most helos have drive train power limits too. The engine will usually run hard enough to get you in big trouble with maintenance even if you pull the load out.

Edited by Wally
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Another question about the r44 performance. Hypothetically - DA of 5000 feet, while lifting a sling load out of some trees the RPM drops below 90%, what would happen? Would the engine quit like a lawn mower mowing through tall or thick grass? Or something else?

 

The helicopter would start mowing the trees, probably. A droop to 90% would be a significant life event. Since the tail rotor RPM about 6 times faster than the main rotor, you'd have a significant reduction in anti-torque without much of a reduction in transmission torque. On top of that, you'd have a load hanging underneath you.

 

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