How to lift a helicopter

Helicopters sometimes do not lift themselves / Verlinde hoists installed by Handel Sollevamenti allow carrying out maintenance on the Elifriulia fleet in total safety

(PresseBox) ( Vernouillet cedex, )
We instinctively think of helicopters as being perfectly capable of lifting themselves autonomously even in the most difficult operating conditions. And yet, now, and then they too need a little 'help'... while waiting to take flight. Elifrulia, the longest-established operator in the business operating in the Italian helicopter services and flight school market, tells us about it.

"We provide helicopter services for private individuals, large companies and public authorities, operating in an extremely demanding and competitive market that requires vehicles that are always perfectly efficient and maintained according to the strictest international standards," explains Claudio Girardi, Maintenance Manager at Elifriulia. "We recently turned to Handel Sollevamenti to help us optimise handling procedures related to helicopter maintenance activities, in particular, the replacement of engines, which are located in the upper part of the aircraft below the blades. Specifically, we were interested in creating a structure that would allow us not to be forced to dismantle the engines to carry out some of the more recurrent maintenance activities.

Federico Alcido, Area Manager of Handel Sollevamenti, continues: "The guiding principle of our company has always been to create solutions with attention to every detail and tailored to the individual needs of each of our customers. In this specific case, after a careful inspection and analysis of the requirements in collaboration with Elifriulia technicians, we opted for a gantry crane on steerable wheels equipped with eight motors: 4 dedicated to rotation/steering and another four dedicated to moving the structure from one hangar to another."

Handel Sollevamenti's objective was to design a structure that could comply with the stringent dimensional limits imposed by the configuration of the Elifriulia maintenance site, but at the same time ensure that operators could always work safely, thanks to the possibility of rotating on itself and positioning itself correctly for use according to the activities to be carried out on the helicopters.

The structure was built using a box girder with S355J2 sheet metal and consisting of two fixed upper heads and two lower heads for the motorisation housings, linked together by two diagonal legs and bracing made of tubular.

Since the entrance to the smaller hangar dedicated to helicopter maintenance is only 40 cm wider than the diameter of the blades. At the same time, the height of the door is only slightly higher than the maximum height of the helicopter, absolute precision, and reliability of the movements of the structure and the lifting system were essential prerequisites for the success of the project.

Alcido explains: "For the lifting unit, we used a EUROBLOC VT model Verlinde electric wire rope hoist with a capacity of 3200 kg. We chose it for its renowned reliability and for the lifting speed, which had to be minimal to avoid any kind of handling error during helicopter maintenance activities."

The entire structure is radio-controlled to make it easier for operators to manoeuvre it, through a series of PLCs that use drives and encoders on the motors to guarantee extreme precision in steering movements.

Girardi concludes Girardi: "The facility built by Handel Sollevamenti has met our expectations perfectly, facilitating our maintenance work to offer our customers a fleet of helicopters with the highest levels of efficiency. We also greatly appreciated Handel's expertise not only in customising the structure but also in choosing components of proven quality and reliability, of which the Verlinde hoist is an excellent example. Enjoy your flight with Elifriulia."

Elifriulia company profile
Founded in 1971, Elifriulia is the longest-established helicopter service company in Italy and is one of the top five helicopter operators nationwide. Since 1992, it has been the reference point in Friuli Venezia Giulia for the helicopter service, also at night, in addition to operations in search and rescue in hostile environments and in preventing and fighting forest fires. In addition to these institutional activities, the Ronchi dei Legionari company is also involved in aerial work and maintenance, passenger transport and aerial photography. Since 1982, moreover, Elifriulia has been involved in training activities of Flight school, aeroplane, and helicopter, with more than 300 qualified pilots. In recent years, the company has focused on internationalisation, setting up several projects abroad, mainly in the Balkans. In 2018, Habock, a Spanish company and one of the most important players in the country, joined the company's ranks, triggering further expansion into the European market.

Handel Sollevamenti company profile
Based in Porcia (PN), Handel Sollevamenti deals in design, construction and installation of overhead cranes, jib cranes, suspended plant, sling bars, special equipment as well as their maintenance. The company was founded by the father Gian Pietro Alcido in 2003, later joined by his sons Federico and Alberto, and with the arrival of little Enrico, it is already aiming at the third generation. Handel Sollevamenti has highly specialised staff and is always ready to face and resolve any technical lifting related problem, outlining and encouraging the solutions adopted in any product sector. The company aims to meet the demands and specific needs of its customers within a truly short timeframe.
The company is certified ISO UNI EN 3834-2006: extensive quality requirements for fusion welding of metallic materials for structural joinery elements, as well as UNI EN 1090-1:2012 execution of steel structures in execution class up to EXC3 with conformity declaration methods 3a - 3b. Since February 2019, the company has been UNI EN ISO 9001-2015 certified for the provision of maintenance and service for lifting installations.
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