Maverick pleases tourists with scenic Grand Canyon flights
Eurocopter EC130 T2 helos are new flagships of sightseeing fleet.
Maverick terminal lobby offers comfortable seating as well as shopping and snacks.
So that we could observe the EC130's flight characteristics, we landed in several offsite areas with steep and confined area approaches and departures. Winds were calm over the entire area.
Like the AStar, the T2 has minimal vibration through effective translational lift (ETL), both accelerating and decelerating. There were few yaw transients throughout the speed envelope—a testament to the fenestron's higher effectiveness in directional control.
In flight, I removed my headset to check cabin noise level. It was very close to that in the AStar, or about the same as a turboprop. There was little wind noise, thanks to the T2's tightened-up cabin.
HND maintenance facility
We landed at Maverick's HND facility and toured the maintenance base. The hangar was acquired recently from an airline bankruptcy situation and is nearly new. The maintenance floor can hold 3 aircraft at a time, with plenty of room for toolboxes and ancillary equipment around each one.
It is well lit and incorporates all the latest OSHA enhancements for a safe, efficient workplace. The workspace is equipped with the latest in wet coolers so that even during the hottest days in Las Vegas the shop is shirtsleeve comfortable.
Other major components of the maintenance complex include a paint shop next to the maintenance bay, which can hold an EC130 with blades off, although most of the work there is paint refurbishment on individual airframe panels and resurfacing of main and tail rotor blades.
The spares department stores over $3 million in airframe and engine parts. Maverick manages critical rotable component inventories to minimize downtime with scheduled and unscheduled replacements.
Maverick owns 4 spare engines and the engine shop is a Level 3 Turbomeca service center. This allows the company to perform all maintenance tasks except overhauls and, using its own engine inventory, ensure that no EC130 will be out of service awaiting powerplant maintenance.
We returned to LAS in the T2, and visited briefly with a couple of passengers anxious to get on their way to the helicopter ride of their lives. If their enthusiasm is any indication, Maverick will be hosting thousands more like them into the future. And the EC130 T2 will serve both Maverick and its customers as the perfect ride to the Grand Canyon.
Woody McClendon has written for Pro Pilot for 20 years. He flies jets and helicopters and is currently a sales manager for FlightSafety Intl.