Mornington Sanford Aviation

Published articles

I beg to differ – Rotor Torque article from winter issue 2017

Vuichard recovery courtesy of Rotor & Wing International

Confused about vortex ring? Even the professionals can’t entirely agree, says Richard Mornington Sanford

I do not seem to have raised my head above the parapet recently, which I am quite fond of doing as it tends to liven debate; and if that debate involves flight safety it’s worth sipping from the poisoned chalice.

The Summer 2016 issue of Rotor Torque carried an article on what is said to be a new, faster way to get out of the vortex ring state, known as theVuichard recovery system after the Swiss flying instructor who developed the technique. Continued in pdf


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Why your brain shuts down – Rotor Torque article from summer issue 2017

Flight Safety

Club member Richard Mornington Sanford has been harping on about safety all his working life, and we’ve given him a regular slot to spread his message

So you have made the decision to participate in an activity that is one, if not the most dangerous activity that you will ever do.

Riding a motorbike comes close.

It’s very easy to kill yourself and your passengers and there is a good chance that you will!

So how can we reduce the risk of this ‘dangerous activity’?

Well, given the fact that a very high percentage of accidents could have been prevented prior to take- off we must look at the pilot and, in the case of this harp, some (but not all) of the human factors involved. Continued in pdf


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Mornington Sanford Aviation Assists with the Certification of the First Robinson R66 Type in Thailand

Mornington Sanford Aviation and the first R66 in Thailand at Solaire

Richard Mornington-Sanford assists Solaire Heliluck Aviation Services (Robinson Helicopter Co. R44 and R66 dealer in Thailand) with the first of type certification of the Robinson R66 helicopter in Thailand.

Richard conducted the first Civil Aviation Authority Thailand (CAAT) approved R66 airframe and RR300 engine theoretical and practical type training course over a 15 day period and then conducted OJT training for a further 5 days.

This CAAT approved 20 day type training course for the Robinson R66 is one of the most comprehensive courses to date.

The assembly of the R66 formed part of the practical training.

The R66 is to be added to Solaire Heliluck Aviation Services AOC and will operate throughout Thailand.

This video was made during the assembly of the R66.

Mornington Sanford Aviation conducts the first Chinese (CAAC) approved Robinson R66 & RR300 engine type training course with Robinson dealer H&P

Mornington Sanford Aviation in Bejing, China

Richard Mornington-Sanford of Mornington Sanford Aviation delivers the first CAAC Approved R66 and RR300 engine course at H&P facility Beijing during March 2016.

The Robinson R66 Airframe and RR300 engine type training course was conducted at H&P facility in Miyun, Beijing, over 14 days which included elements of practical training.

The CAAC insisted that the training was to follow the EASA Part 147 standard which required some exceedingly good translating from their translater and staff member, Joanna. Congratulations to all attendees for passing the final examination.

Mornington Sanford Aviation assist another country (Indonesia) to gain certification of the Robinson R66 Turbine

Mornington Sanford Aviation in Indonesia

Richard Mornington-Sanford of Mornington Sanford Aviation conduct’s the first Indonesian Approved R66 and RR300 engine type training course to assist with certifying the first Robinson R66 Turbine in the country.

The Robinson R66 Turbine, registration PK-JBD, serial number 0620, was shipped from RHC via airfreight to Solaire Helicopter’s facility at Subang Airport, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where the helicopter was re-assembled and test flown.

PK-JBD will now be delivered to JHONLIN AIR TRANSPORT (JAT) base at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport, Jakarta and will be operated by JAT to transport the owner to his various company operating sites within Borneo.

Mornington Sanford Aviation returns to CASA

Mornington Sanford Aviation Returns To CASA

Conducting Robinson R66 with RR300 engine type maintenance training for field inspectors of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia.

Richard Mornington-Sanford returned to CASA at their aviation training centre at Brisbane International Airport in Australia during 16 to 20 February 2015.

Richard conducted theoretical type training on the Robinson R66 and the RR300 engine for 19 of CASA’s maintenance field inspectors responsible for continuing airworthiness maintenance standards throughout Australia.

Italy’s first of type R66 certification

Elifriulia Helicopter Service

Richard Mornington Sanford assists Elifriulia Helicopter Service to certify Robinson R66 serial number 554 registration I-RSIX to become Italy’s first of type.

Elifriulia Helicopter Service, Ronchi Dei Legionari, Italy, contracted Mornington Sanford Aviation to conduct an EASA (Part 66) approved Robinson R66 and RR300 engine course and assist with the certification of Italy’s first of type at their facility in northern Italy.

Elifriulia have been a dealer for Robinson Helicopter Company since the early 1980s.

It’s all in your head

Mornington Sanford Aviation conducts Robinson R22 & R44 type maintenance training for field inspectors of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia

Do you really understand the properties of your rotor? Read Richard’s latest article for Rotor Torque.

I am very often asked my views on the causes of Robinson helicopter accidents, and in particular, those where it has been reported that the aircraft suffered an in-flight break-up caused by what seemed to be the main rotor diverging from its normal path of rotation.

The aerodynamics involved in this emotive subject are complex and are not fully understood, as they are difficult for the design engineers and test pilot to simulate and still be around to discuss the results. I'm not trying to explain any more than the very basic aerodynamics, as I aim to provide some insight and understanding without over-complicating or overloading the pilot with minutiae.

Read complete article as a pdf →

MSA conduct training for Australian safety authority

Mornington Sanford Aviation conducts Robinson R22 & R44 type maintenance training for field inspectors of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia

Mornington Sanford Aviation conducts Robinson R22 & R44 type maintenance training for field inspectors of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia.

Richard Mornington-Sanford visited CASA at one of their aviation training centres at Brisbane international airport Australia during 4th to 8th August 2014.

Richard conducted theoretical and practical type training on the Robinson R22 and R44 for 19 of CASA's maintenance field inspectors responsible for continuing airworthiness maintenance standards throughout Australia.

MSA issued with first Robinson R66(250)
EASA Part 66 Type Rating

MSA Issued with first Robinson R66(250) EASA Part 66 Type Rating

UK Civil Aviation Authority issue the first Robinson R66(250) type endorsement into the Part 66 licence of Richard Mornington-Sanford.

Richard conducts EASA Part 147 approved theoretical type training courses for the Robinson R66 type plus the RR300 engine.

The R66 Type Training Course available are:

Course 1: Full R66 Theoretical Airframe Course plus RR300 Engine
This course is for those engineers who do not currently have the R22/R44 Type Rating in their Part 66 licence.

Course 2: R66 Theoretical Differences Course plus RR300 Engine
This course is available to those engineers who have the R22/R44 rotorcraft type rating and a minimum of a basic rotorcraft Turbine endorsement in their Part 66 licence.

Click here for further course information.

Robinson R66 Turbine gains EASA type certification

Robinson R66 Turbine gains EASA type certification

On 30th April 2014, some 4 years after the Robinson R66 Turbine was granted FAA certification EASA finally grants European Certification.

For a number of years, Mornington Sanford Aviation has held EASA Part 147 (Part 66) Type Training approval for the R66 and its RR300 Turbine engine.

There are two R66 Type Training Courses available:

Course 1: Full R66 Theoretical Airframe Course plus RR300 Engine
This course is for those engineers who do not currently have the R22/R44 Type Rating in their Part 66 licence.

Course 2: R66 Theoretical Differences Course plus RR300 Engine
This course is available to those engineers who have the R22/R44 rotorcraft type rating and a minimum of a basic rotorcraft Turbine endorsement in their Part 66 licence.

Click here for further course information.

Robinson R66 Turbine  EASA type certification

Robinson R66 Turbine  CAA certification

Robinson R66 Turbine  EASA type certification

Mornington Sanford Aviation and Heliluck Aviation Services complete Robinson R44 maintenance and pilot type training for the Thai army

Thai Army training

Richard Mornington Sanford of Mornington Sanford Aviation provides Robinson R44 type training for Heliluck Aviation (the Robinson dealer in Thailand).

The training provided was for Thai army maintenance and pilot personnel in readiness for the imminent arrival of their first army police R44 helicopter serial number 13525.

The RHC factory approved R44 maintenance training was conducted in Heliluck's new facility in Bangkok and consisted of five days theoretical training plus three days of practical work.

R44 pilot conversion training
R44 pilot conversion training

The Thai DCA approved R44 pilot conversion course was also conducted at Heliluck's new facility and consisted of four days of theoretical training, plus a minimum of five hours flight training per pilot.

Lost skills

South Asian Airlines of Dhaka, Bangladesh

On my very first helicopter solo flight in an R22 at Cranfield airfield, the low Rotor RPM horn and light came on during the downwind leg. My initial reaction to this was “bother”, followed by a well rehearsed ‘opening the throttle, lowering the lever and aft cyclic’. Even on a first solo, when my stress levels were elevated, this was a ‘non-event’.

I just wonder how the R22 or R44 pilot of today would react if the low RRPM horn and light came on in-flight?

Times have changed. The R22 in which I completed my flight training was without the engine governor we have today; therefore, the pilot had no option but to learn the skill of manually operating the throttle. The pilot was the engine throttle governor.

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Mornington Sanford Aviation assist another country to gain certification of the Robinson R66 turbine

South Asian Airlines of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Richard Mornington-Sanford of Mornington Sanford Aviation assist South Asian Airlines of Dhaka, Bangladesh to certify the first Robinson R66 Turbine in Country.

The Robinson R66 Turbine, registration S2-AFC, serial number 0237, was shipped from RHC via sea freight to Chittagong where the helicopter was re-assembled and test flown.

S2-AFC was then delivered to South Asian Airlines (SAA) base at Dhaka International Airport and will be operated by SAA to transport the owner to his various company operating sites within Bangladesh.

Why Martin and Simon died

Martin Rutty and Simon Lichtenstein

Few accidents have been so keenly felt in the Helicopter Club as that which befell Martin Rutty and Simon Lichtenstein.

They were energetic and inspiring members of the Club, we were their friends, we knew their families and we shared the pain the catastrophe visited on their loved ones at that awful time.

Little good can come of such tragedy and it’s profoundly depressing to pick over the details of what happened that day. But we can learn something from what happened – something that might make us think twice before flying, and might perhaps save a life in future.

Richard Mornington-Sanford, who assisted the French accident investigation bureau, the BEA, in establishing the cause of the accident, has analysed the BEA’s conclusions and written this article to highlight the lessons we should all take to heart:

Read complete article as a pdf →

Nigerian Air Force take delivery of their first two Robinson R66 (Turbine) helicopters

Nigerian Air Force

The helicopters are to be used for flight training at their base in Enugu.

The Nigerian Air Force Invites the World Famous ‘Pink Shirt’ (Richard Mornington-Sanford) to their base in Enugu to conduct a Robinson R66 with RR300 engine Type training Course and assemble their first two (2) R66 helicopters.
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Mornington Sanford Aviation gain Robinson Helicopter Company R66 Factory Maintenance Training Approval

Richard Mornington Sanford infront of a Robinson R66 helicopter

“excellentia semino excellentia”

The addition of the R66 type now completes the Robinson Helicopter Company stable and enhances the company’s ability to provide Worldwide maintenance training to either RHC factory training level or EASA Part 147 Type training level.

Mornington Sanford Aviation conducts first Robinson R66 airframe type differences course in Russia, hosted by Helico

Helico Helicopter

“excellentia semino excellentia”

Mornington Sanford Aviation has just completed the first Robinson R66 Airframe Differences Course at the premises of HeliCo situated in Pyatigorsk City, Southern Russian.

The R66 course with the RR300 engine directly followed an R44 with Lycoming engine course.

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Solaire Helicopters R66 with RR300 engine
Malaysian Type Certification

Solaire Helicopter

“excellentia semino excellentia”

Mornington Sanford Aviation assist Solaire Helicopters Sdn Bhd the Malaysian Robinson Helicopter Company Dealer, based in Kuala Lumpur and the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) in achieving Robinson R66 Type Certification (First of Type) in Malaysia.

Richard conducted a Malaysian DCA approved R66 Airframe and RR300 engine Type Training Course over 6 days at Solaire’s Facility at Subang Airport Kuala Lumpur.

Continue reading →

‘No ice, thank you’ FREE download

No Ice

Richard Mornington-Sanford examines the cold hard truth about carburetor icing in piston engine helicopters, and warns against failing to understand this potential killer.

'Carburetor ice has been linked as the fatal cause of possible accidents involving piston engine helicopters fitted with float-type carburetors. This lamentable fact needs to be better understood if the risks of power loss and even complete engine stoppage is to be avoided'.

In a continuing effort to help reduce the helicopter accident rates Richard has decided to make his very popular technical publication on the topic of carburettor icing ‘No Ice, Thank You’ available as a free download.

The publication is widely used as reference material by the AAIB, NTSB, RHC pilots flight safety course and flying schools world wide.

“Accidents that have been attributed to carburettor icing are still happening far too frequently. The Robinson helicopter series, fitted with piston engines, have a very affective carburettor heating system but there is still a fundamental misunderstanding about its usage and its effect on developed horse power. I hope the industry find it a useful tool; however, it should be used in conjunction with and not override the relevant manufactures published recommendations procedures and advice”

Download brochure now →

A new “centre of excellence” at Sloane Helicopters

Richard Mornington-Sanford teams up with Sloane Helicopters

“excellentia semino excellentia”

Mornington Sanford Aviation and Sloane Helicopters have embarked on a joint venture to establish a training centre dedicated to supporting the Robinson Helicopter Company’s products and their associated power plants.

This “centre of excellence” will be established at Sloane Helicopters’ facilities at Sywell Aerodrome, Northampton and will offer:

  • EASA Part 147 type training and Robinson Helicopter Company factory approved airframe type training on the R22, R44 with the Lycoming engine and the R66 with the RR300 engine.
  • European Robinson R22/R44 Pilot Flight Safety Courses.

Both companies have a long-standing and close relationship with Robinson:

  • Mornington Sanford Aviation in flight safety, product maintenance
    and pilot training.
  • Sloane Helicopters in sales, marketing, maintenance and pilot training.

This unique and outstanding combination of Robinson product knowledge, expertise and quality of service will produce a real European centre of excellence for owners, operators and pilots. It is envisaged that the capability will be extended to cover other products in the near future.

Personnel from Mornington Sanford Aviation and Sloane Helicopters will be available on the Robinson Helicopter Company stand at the Heli Expo, Dallas during 12th to 14th February 2012.

Contacts: info@morningtonsanfordaviation.com, action@sloanehelicopters.com

Sloane Helicopters Ltd
The Business Aviation Centre, Sywell Aerodrome, Northampton, NN6 0BN
Tel: +44 (0)1604 790595. Fax: +44 (0)1604 790988
www.sloanehelicopters.com

Read complete press release as a pdf →

FLY BETTER Robinson Flight Safety Course

Richard Mornington-Sanford and the Robinson R66

Safety first!

Even if you've flown a Robinson for years, there's still more to learn. Helicentre, in Leicestershire, offer a training course that will make even the most experienced pilot better...

The first words I hear on this course at Helicentre's are: "The majority of fatal helicopter accidents could have been prevented if the pilot had made the right decision on the ground."

Richard (Dick) Sanford's intro to the European Robinson R22/R44 Flight Safety Course sets the pace for the rest of the three- day event, a captivating statement backed up with detailed statistics giving an in-depth look at why helicopter crashes happen and how we can avoid them.

Pilots of varying experience are in attendance. Some, like me, are freshly hatched PPL(H)s, while others have significantly more time at the controls of an aircraft. A 747 pilot, Brett Easton, has over 20,000 hr under his belt and owns a R44...

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Mornington-Sanford Aviation first with the Robinson R66

Richard Mornington-Sanford and the Robinson R66

Never Say Never…

Heading into the circuit it's clear the R66 has huge power margins

Not so long ago, if I had asked Frank Robinson whether there would be a turbine-engine powered Robinson helicopter, Frank would have said: "You know, Dick, that turbine engine is just too damned expensive." The phrase 'never say never' comes to mind as I start a pre-flight inspection with Doug Tompkins, Robinson Helicopter Company's chief test pilot, prior to my pilot checkout in a Robinson helicopter with a turbine engine – the Robinson R66.

At the end of the pilot checkout, I have to say it's an absolute winner. Easy to start, easy to fly, powerful, fast, benign in autorotation, it's a step change up in safety from the R44, which was itself a major flight safety improvement on the R22 due to its docile handling qualities.

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Your finger on the trigger

The Airspace Hangar at IWM Duxford

Hayward Aviation Safety Seminar

The Hayward Aviation Safety Seminar for Helicopter Club members attracted a gratifying total of 90 people, and all of us should be safer for the experience if we absorbed the wisdom on offer.

Held in the Conference Centre in the new Airspace Hangar at Duxford, which houses aircraft as diverse as the York, Comet, and Concorde, the seminar coincided with Helitech, allowing the members to go on to the show after lunch, which was generously laid on by Hayward Aviation, Europe's largest helicopter insurance brokers with some 83 percent of the market.

The Seminar was opened by our chairman John Matchett, who briefly introduced the two speakers, Matthew Day and Richard Mornington-Sanford. Matthew Day is a director of Haywards, which was set up in 1992 with one client – Bristows – and has become the third largest such company in the world. Richard Mornington-Sanford is Robinson Helicopters' international air accident investigator and is a former RAF engineer, flying instructor and examiner.

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When safety is all in the mind

helicopter crash site

Worried about engine failure, or mechanical problems in the air? Forget it.

Richard Sanford is an air accident investigator who is finding it increasingly difficult to remain sanguine when he knows that the wrecks and the bodies he deals with are almost always the result of bad decision making, often on the ground before a flight even begins...

“Its ok I have a night rating”... how many times have I heard this statement from pilots when asked about the risks and suitability of their flight after dark ?'...

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Loss of tail rotor effectiveness

Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness
Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness (LTE) is a critical, low-speed aerodynamic flight characteristic which can result in an un-commanded rapid yaw rate which does not subside of its own accord and, if not corrected, can result in the loss of aircraft control.

LTE is not related to a maintenance malfunction and may occur in varying degrees in all single main rotor helicopters at airspeeds less than 30 knots. LTE is not necessarily the result of a control margin deficiency...

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Moscow's magnificent flying machines

The Central Air Force Museum at Monino near Moscow
Despite bad weather and a brutal hangover Richard Mornigton-Sanford enjoys his visit to The Central Air Force Museum at Monino near Moscow.

In December 2005 I visited Moscow as a guest of the National Federation of Helicopter Sport; you will better remember them as the World Helicopter Champions 2005.

The purpose of my visit was to conduct a Robinson R22/R44 Maintenance Course for nine of their engineers...

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Visibility minima opposed

Minimum visibility
The Helicopter Club of Great Britain is opposing proposed new visibility minima for helicopters on the grounds that new regulations would do nothing to improve safety and may in fact make matters worse.

The CAA wants to introduce minimum visibility of 3km for VFR flight in helicopters and to make VFR flight above cloud illegal, and has proposed to amend the ANO accordingly...

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Enough skill to kill yourself

helicopter crash
Are we making a good fist of teaching people to fly helicopters? Or are we instilling in them habits that are more likely to kill them, than save their lives?

The question is moot, but there's a body of empirical evidence mostly in the form of accident wreckage - to support the idea that we're not getting it absolutely right...

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From Russia with Love

Ekaterinburg, Russia
Richard Mornington-Sanford reports on the delights of backwards autorotation's with a poor non-flying Russian interpreter in the back seat.

Without doubt one of the great parts of my involvement with Robinson Helicopters is that they send me on missions to some very unusual places.

Like Ekaterinburg Russia and no, I had never heard of the place either. But after consulting my Boys Own Atlas I found it tucked away in the Urals... in other words, Siberia. and it was February!...

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Keeping your cool

Engine cooling
At the end of every flight the pilot has to sit and twiddle his or her thumbs, waiting for the engine to cool down.

Believe it or not, this is crucial for the safe and reliable operation not only of your engine but also your bank balance...

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Helicopter IMC dossier

Robinson instrument panel
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has compiled a dossier to present to European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in pursuit of its campaign for a review of the Joint Aviation Requirements (JAR) for five hours instrument familiarisation training for ab initio helicopter pilots.

The prime document in the dossier is an analysis by accident investigator Richard Mornington-Sanford of the counter-productive effects of instrument training, which he believes has led to a major increase in accidents involving continued Visual flight rules (VFR) into Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC)...

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The engineers tech log

helicopter engineer
I thought that I would kick off this new column by trying to clear some very muddy water relating to the overhaul periods for the Robinson R22 and R44 series helicopters and their costs.

There are two distinct requirements for the overhaul of this helicopter: When it has been operated for 2200hrs on the hour meter (for the R22 this is engine running time and for the R44 it equates to flight time). This is a "things wear out" overhaul. When it has been in service for 12 years, regardless of hours run/flown. This is a "things rot" (environmental overhaul).

When the helicopter has operated for 2200 hours it is completely overhauled, all components are zero timed and those items that do have a critical life are replaced with new and so when the helicopter is returned to service it will have a full 2200 hours and 12 years before the next overhaul...

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