Based in the scenic Arizona town that gives the company its name, Sedona Air Tours operates a fleet of four fixed-wing aircraft and five helicopters. After flying VHA tail rotor blades on their 206B3 JetRanger in the noise-sensitive area for several years, they were ready to bolt on the new VHA 206B main rotor blades. The work was performed by Flight Trails Helicopters at Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona, in March 2018.
Since our engineers and maintenance personnel were also out at Falcon Field for 206L main rotor blade flight testing, we offered to give Flight Trails our support for track and balance. It turns out that help was not needed as it was a “zero move” installation. Other than adding weight during static balance and ensuring the trim tab was set to zero degrees, no modifications were needed.
Flight Trails pilot Mike Poole and Sedona Air Tours representative Dennis Valdez conducted the ground tests and initial track and balance flights. VHA customer service rep (and JetRanger pilot) Josh Eastlee accompanied the duo on their initial off-airport flight.
“Loaded with three people and full fuel, it climbed like an angel,” said Poole after the flight. Valdez concurred, adding, “it felt smooth, right out of the box.”