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Bristow History with HUMS is Proof Point for Operational Excellence

August 30, 2013

For many years, Bristow has led the industry in the introduction and use of HUMS and since May 2013, Bristow has mandated that HUMS (Health & Usage Monitoring System) data be downloaded and assessed prior to each flight across its global operations. HUMS systems provide a method for collecting data about critical mechanical systems and components on an aircraft.

Bristow’s proactive collection and review of HUMS data is one example of the processes and technologies it uses to ensure safety, and is a proof point for the Company’s commitment to operational excellence. An article in Bristow World published early in 2012 talks about the extensive inspections and maintenance – including HUMS between flights in many parts of our operations – carried out by our licensed engineers.

“Bristow's proactive collection and review of HUMS data is one example of the processes and technologies it uses to ensure safety, and is a proof point for the Company's commitment to operational excellence."

Bristow’s industry-leading expertise in HUMS is based on years of experience. Bristow was first to develop and field HUMS for North Sea helicopters, working with partner GEC-Marconi. HUMS has become an industry standard for military, commercial and civil aviation, and is required by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for many applications in passenger transport helicopters.

In this interview, Global Fleet Support Manager Russell Gould provides more details about how HUMS is collected and used.

If you were talking to a client, what would you tell them about the accuracy and reliability of HUMS?
The existing HUMS systems are all being further developed to increase effectiveness of the systems. This includes advanced analyses carried out externally from the operating base. The operating systems are being constantly upgraded giving extra functionality to allow better detection rates of changing component behavior. With most fleet data now going to the manufacturer’s for further analysis, there is a better understanding of the data and trends and a faster response time to requests for detailed feedback.

Did Bristow routinely monitor for the types of shaft problems recently exhibited by the EC225?
The Eurocopter M’ARMS system (HUMS) fitted to the EC225 is very sophisticated and it was monitoring the shaft in question. The degradation of the shaft on the competitors’ aircraft was detected by the system in both shaft failure cases. For earlier detection, and a further enhancement to the system, changes in threshold settings and analysis procedures and techniques have been introduced by the manufacturer. These include onboard monitoring to give the crew an early indication of a potential fault and downloading between flights is now also mandated, something Bristow had been doing before.