Aerotech Helicopters launches into HUMS with Foresight MX

01 June 2024

GPMS International announced today that The Aerotech Group, South Australia’s largest privately owned aviation operator, has completed installation of Foresight MX HUMS on one of their UH-60 Black Hawks. Additionally, Aerotech has placed a follow-on order with options for additional aircraft.

Based in Adelaide, Aerotech operates a fleet of fixed and rotary aircraft performing agricultural, utility, and firefighting missions. “For nearly 60 years, we’ve been proud to service our customers both in South Australia and around the world,” said Sam McCabe, managing director of The Aerotech Group. “But providing our aerial assets to the South Australian County Fire Service (CFS) is sacred to us, as most of our employees, friends, and families are protected by their incredible efforts.”

Based on key findings from the Bushfires Royal Commission, Aerotech have purchased six Black Hawks to provide Australia with the permanent “Type 1” helicopter firefighting capability that’s required to support the ever-increasing bushfire threats around the country. McCabe continues, “We’re proud to be the first and only Australian operator of VH-registered Black Hawks. Their speed, superior water-drop capability, and ruggedness make it the perfect platform for this critical responsibility.”

According to Chris Boyd, HOFO for Aerotech Helicopters, maximizing the availability of their Black Hawks in support of the CFS mission was a big reason why they decided to invest in HUMS. “Being in Australia, especially with former military aircraft, getting parts when we’re AOG can be very difficult. Every hour that we’re down can put homes and lives at risk. We knew we had to move from being reactive to unscheduled maintenance events to proactive and predictive and there’s only one way to really do it. And that’s with Foresight MX HUMS.”

Health and Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS) utilize vibration monitoring and other capabilities to analyze and trend the health of aircraft and engine components. With the advanced capabilities of GPMS’s Foresight MX HUMS it goes much further, by not only identifying negative issues earlier than legacy HUMS, but with its advanced sensors and predictive analytics, it can notify operators 100+ hours ahead of a chip light.

“Most civil operated Black Hawks are no longer supported by the OEM, placing big responsibilities on the operators,” said Ronnie Ries, vice president of marketing at GPMS. “To maximize availability, they’re planning their supply chain out not in months, but in years. This is where Foresight MX can help. By identifying issues when they’re at a bearing level instead of a gearbox, the availability of parts is greater, replacement costs are lower, and the time to get the birds back in the air is significantly faster. Add in the remote monitoring capabilities, operators like Aerotech will have a better view of the health of their fleet, no matter where they are in Australia, or even around the world.”

“Aerotech is a leader in aerial firefighting in Australia and we’re proud to provide HUMS monitoring for their fleet,” Ries continues. “Their continued investment into technology, training, and most importantly safety are why they continue to win contracts, but their leadership and their culture are why they’re so successful and they continue to grow. And we’re looking forward to growing with them.”