The European maintenance hub: Helicopters Italia

The European maintenance hub: Helicopters Italia

Born in 1981 on the initiative of Aersud Helicopters, Helicopters Italia is in constant expansion: we took a look at their HQ in Trento and talked to the technical director, Daniele Gosetti

by Stefano Silvestre

Six maintenance bases in Italy, a solid presence in the Balkan Peninsula and the certainty of being one of the landmarks in Europe for two giants of the rotating wing: Airbus Helicopters and Safran Helicopter Engines.

Helicopters Italia is one of the most important European companies that takes care - among other things - of keeping in flight a large part of Italyís HEMS helicopter fleet, as well as guaranteeing technical and logistical assistance to operators throughout Italy and abroad.

Born in 1981 on the initiative of Aersud Helicopters, Helicopters Italia is in† constant expansion, and today counts on more than 40 professionals deployed on a maintenance center, a training structure (recognized by Airbus Helicopters and Safran), a CAMO structure for the management of continuous navigability of aircraft as well as an innovative Design Organization, approved according to EASA PART 21 - Subpart J.

We took a look at Helicopters Italiaís HQ in Trento and talked to the technical director, mr. Daniele Gosetti.

PHOTO: Francesco Sartori

Trento is one of the european helicopter maintenance capitals and Helicopters Italiaís offices manage a volume of about 400 inspection blocks per year.

It's a huge amount of work. Our secret lies in the strategic position of the Trento maintenance center, a place where virtually every single spare part of a helicopter is available in real time. The management costs are then lowered, the management of maintenance operations is more fluid, groundings are not prolonged beyond the due. This is why so many helicopters arrive in our HQ from abroad.

You manage maintenance requests also from Germany.

Thatís correct. We also get requests from Austria and also an important French provider relies on our services. However, Helicopters Italia has operations and bases also abroad: we have an important office in Tirana, Albania, where we serve the whole country, and we have a point in Podgorica. Then there is also a base in Istanbul, which allows you to manage the operations activated with a number of Turkish public bodies.

And you can count on a Design Organization office...

That's the place in which we take care of the modernization of avionic systems with the installation of up to date equipment, and of the upgrade of the cabin interiors, above all we speak of VIP and Corporate sectors. They are very requested features, especially abroad.

The entry in service of the H145 has been a big leap forward for the Italian helicopter and has in fact started the renewal of the fleet of our country. Is the H145 a simple helicopter to keep in line?

Simplicity is secondary to the ability to keep this machine available longer than in the past. The H145 can be available up to 800 hours of flight, thatís usually around three years of operation, and needs a lower amount of maintenance in general. Even routine operations, when necessary, take place in 3-4 days of grounding. It is a huge impact for operators, who save on labor costs, can make helicopters fly longer and in complete safety due to the periodic control checks that have made the obsolete the need for intermediate inspections checks.

Airbus's maintenance philosophy has been often compared to that of the automotive industry, and itís been one of the workhorses promoted by former CEO Guillaume Faury.

What has changed over the years, rather than the approach, is the structure of the helicopters as well as the very materials used for the components. There is less wear and tear, cracks are less frequent. For example, nowadays hydraulic leaks are no longer a constant problem for maintenance centers.

Airbus H160: what helicopter will be on the maintenance plan?

I can speak with certainty about look of the H160, which looks appealing and innovative and about the acoustic impact, really destined to change the face of the industry and the conception of that very weight category. On a maintenance plan I can only talk about what I saw in its transmission compartment and engines on the occasion of its passage to Trento in 2017: the space is well organized and not cramped. For us, it means saving time. For the operators it means efficiency.