With the Academy’s focus on acquiring the finest aircraft for the training of pilots, Guimbal’s Cabri G2 is said to be favoured by the Company’s instructors and students, for its unparalleled safety features, comfort and style.
With strict, consistent adherence to the Company’s Quality and Safety Management Systems, which lie at the core of Starlite’s values, the Training Academy’s Senior Instructor Stefan Fouché sited many reasons why the Company has chosen the Cabri G2 aircraft as their primary choice of helicopter for their ever expanding training fleet. He stated that the helicopter was selected, “Owing to its unparalleled safety features, in this helicopter type.” He went on to explain, that Guimbal’s Cabri G2 is certified by the EASA, “which is by far the most stringent certification ever achieved for an aircraft in this category.”
This sleek and stylish helicopter, surpassed the stringent airframe and fuel tank crashworthiness tests. Furthermore, the high inertia rotor allows for exceptional manoeuvrability and safety in autorotation, normally only found in heavier aircraft. “In terms of handling, the Articulated Main Rotor System is extremely impressive, as the normal dangers associated with a teetering rotor head is eliminated,” explained Stefan, “making it exponentially safer in turbulent conditions and or harsh control inputs.” The shrouded Fenestron® is another added safety feature for ground personnel and in confined areas, risk of a tail strike is reduced. The new improved Fenestron® also performs well in crosswind situations, unlike the older Fenestron® designs. The helicopter has proven lightning and magnetic radio interference resistance.
Stefan went on to explain, “At sea level, where we operate primarily, we are able to load two pilots weighing 80 kilograms each and 150 litres of fuel, which is remarkable, since the burn rate is typically 38l/hour, resulting in a staggering endurance of 3.6 hours including a 20min reserve.” The Cabri is said to operate with the same efficiency in hot and high conditions as other light helicopters equipped with the reliable Lycoming O360-J2A.
Lt Benjamin Ondeko from the Kenya Army, currently completing his pilot training at the Academy, echoed Stefan’s praise of this aircraft stating, “The manoeuvrability of the G2CA is exceptional. I am impressed with the electronic trim on the cyclic, reducing workload, especially on longer flights.”
From an instruction point of view, the training of students on the Cabri G2 has had its challenges, with instructors having to learn the intricacies of Fenestron® tail rotor and sensitive control inputs on the cyclic but the benefits of such a system is a huge advantage, as the larger helicopter types require similar control inputs due to hydraulic controls. Stefan confirmed that since these aircraft-specific learning curves have been addressed, the training process is streamlined and effective.
The G2CA’s new generation glass cockpit houses the EPM, the heart of the avionics, with a dedicated multi-function display monitoring 36 parameters of the helicopter and providing advanced functions; a smart power indicator, engine and rotor RPM, advanced fuel computer, automatic carburettor heating and gearbox chip detectors. The cabin is roomy, with leatherclad, high tech, energy absorbing seats, perfect all-round visibility and outstanding ergonomics, and rudder pedals that are easily adjustable.
The Academy is currently operating nine G2CAs. Since August 2014, this fleet of capable aircraft has flown some 4000 hours and exceeded the expectations of all instructors and students at the Academy.