Several months ago, we started a major inspection on our helicopter PK-HCY in Papua, Indonesia. A strange hydraulic problem was very hard to figure out. It ended up not being a problem with the hydraulics, but with the Main Rotor Blades. We had to send all three rotor blades to Singapore as the blades rubber protections had started to peel-off. This was a long process as, in countries like these, such shipments take a long time.
In the meantime, we upgraded the rotor head, changed bearings and performed a 1200-hour and a 48-month inspection. We also swapped engines with that of another machine going to Australia for a major overhaul. Also during this time, another of our helicopters had issues with its tail rotor blade while serving in the bush. We disassembled the tail rotor blades from the machine in the hangar, flew it to the machine in the bush and replaced the defective tail rotors in the field so that the helicopter was able to finish its mission.
Helicopters are inspected annually by the aviation authorities to renew the Certificate of Airworthiness (C of A). Without this document, the helicopter would not be allowed to fly (similar to the annual Inspection required for cars).
The same inspector came as in the years before. Our two mechanical apprentices, got to join in the whole process. They helped prepare all the paperwork and when the inspector arrived, they assisted him. The inspector was very impressed with how organized we were and how clean the helicopter was. He was very happy to see local guys excelling in their jobs. After only three hours he had completed the inspection.
It is a joy for me to see our local mechanics grow in their responsibilities. By the end of 2022 both of them should have completed all the exams and courses required so that they can officially sign maintenance papers and documents independently.
Matt, Mechanic and Pilot