Creating a sound solution for Cobham Helicopter Academy

The development of a new sound insulation blanket means Cobham Helicopter Academy now have a sustainable product in place.

Date: 13th August 2018
Categories: Helicopter interior design // Repair & overhaul // Refurbishment // Sewing shop

The Cobham Helicopter Academy, based in Newquay offers a range of training solutions for pilots including search and rescue, firefighting and medical evacuation. To meet customer needs, specially configured training helicopters need to be regularly updated with the latest equipment. This can involve making changes to the configuration of cabin interiors including adjustments to sound insulation blankets.

One of the Academy’s aircraft, the Agusta AW-139 required new sound insulation blankets. Due to the uniquely configured interior of the aircraft, a bespoke solution was sought.

Starling Aerospace were contacted to see whether they could provide a tailored solution to fit the shape of the helicopter interior and its equipment. Cobham Helicopter Services also wanted to find out if there was a more sustainable answer to a sound insulation blanket that could be easily modified with future upgrades.

With all the EASA approvals in place for every aspect of aircraft cabin interiors Starling Aerospace were confident they could provide a solution. To meet the requirements a new material needed to be developed which would easily mould around the contours of the cabin as well as provide sound insulation and an effective vapour barrier. The material also needed to be highly durable, easily cleaned and meet fire regulations.

Starling Aerospace developed the material using its in-house facilities and replicated the same thickness of foam density as the original sound insulation blanket. The material was then tested for durability and liquids to ensure it would prevent any condensation occurring inside the helicopter and could also be easily cleaned. Flammability testing was also carried out in-house to ensure the new material would meet stringent smoke density and heat release certification requirements.

Satisfied that the new material ticked all the boxes Starling Aerospace sent a team to pattern the helicopters. Each one had a different layout according to the equipment installed and therefore required careful measurement. Using this information Starling Aerospace were able to produce tailor made quilted insulation blankets for each helicopter.
Under their Part 21J and 21G EASA approvals Starling Aerospace produced service bulletin and modification documents for the new insulations blankets. The team then assisted personnel at the Cobham Helicopter Academy to install the blankets under their 145 EASA approval.

The development of this new sound insulation blanket means that the Cobham Helicopter Academy now have a sustainable product in place which will allow them to continue to upgrade and adapt their helicopters for many years to come. They also have the support of a UK based company who can provide a future proof turnkey solution.

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