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FEA TURE

Elvis

By Mike Coligny

the Aircrane until about 1994. One heavy lift application in the con- struction industry with the assembly and placement of transmission towers. Erick- son holds a patent on a guide system to accomplish this task. It allows the con-

Has Entered The Pattern

Oshkosh, Air Venture 2009

Transmission Tower Assembly

I was exploring the Rotorway exhibit when I heard the announcement that “Elvis” was entering the pattern. It was about 2:30 p.m. and I had an interview scheduled with the crew for their arrival at 3 p.m. By running out the door I managed to observe the water drop and the climbing turning bank with the rotor blades looking like a large disc in the sky. Written on top of the Horizontal Stabilizer for the entire world to see were the words “Elvis Rocks!” As in Las Vegas, “Elvis” was a show stopper. I marched to the flight line to meet with Randy Erwin, Assistant Chief Pilot and Training Director for Erickson Air-Crane. All that follows was extracted from Randy’s knowledge base, which as far as the Aircrane is concerned is encyclopedic!

Aircrane is the absolute correct name for this incredible piece of machinery. Up close and personal it is overwhelming in it’s size and is, in fact, as Igor Sikorsky envisioned it to be- “a flying crane.” This is further validated in writing by the FAA Type Certificate that defines the aircraft as an “aerial crane.” The Aircrane is

clearly not the most beautiful or fastest aircraft in the world, but instead designed to lift incredible loads and transport them with pinpoint accuracy to any location on the planet. When Jack Erickson started the company in 1971, primary use of the Air- crane was in the logging industry. Heavy lift capability was the primary function of

22 ROTORCRAFT PROFESSIONAL • August 2009

struction of the towers without any work- ers physically inside or on the tower. The construction is accomplished entirely by the crane pilots including one pilot who is facing rearward. For the record, the typ- ical weight for sections of 530kV and 650kV towers can be 16,000 to 20,000 pounds! Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52
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