Vector announces new project

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 3, 2016

Vector will soon be working on  a conversion that will help in Africa. | Vector photo

Vector will soon be working on a conversion that will help in Africa. | Vector photo

Helicopters will help in Africa

Local workers will soon complete technological upgrades that will help get aid to people in Africa.

Vector Aerospace announced this week it will be performing an Airbus Helicopters AS350 BA to B2 conversion for humanitarian aid aviation service provider Mercy Air South Africa. Vector will complete the conversion in Andalusia.

“This BA to B2 conversion is the first of many that we plan to perform at our U.S. helicopter services facility in Alabama,” said Craig Pluim, Vice President, Rotary-Wing Sales at Vector Aerospace. “Our global AS350 BA to B2 conversion capability has proven to be in high demand, this modification being ideal for operators seeking enhanced performance without the expense of buying a new aircraft.”

Benefits of the AS350 BA to B2 conversion program include improved power margins through the installation of a Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 engine, increased max take-off weight, payload and sling load, enhanced climb rates, reduced pilot workload and a higher resale value.

“Upgrading our AS350 BA to a B2 provides us with much needed safety and performance margin,” said Matthias Reuter, Mercy Air. “In Africa we face a harsh operating environment of high density altitudes and long distances between bases. We partner with a host of organizations that bring social, medical and spiritual help to people in remote areas of South Africa.”

Mercy Air South Africa is a Christian humanitarian relief organization operating in sub-Saharan Africa since 1991. Two AS350 helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft are used primarily to transport medical teams, development specialists, essential equipment, and emergency food supplies in support of international and local aid organizations and various nonprofit missions, including medical evacuations and disaster relief. Mercy Air is based in South Africa, with representations in Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.

The nonprofit organization is supported by donations that fund the relief flights to help Africa’s poorest.