“Human External Cargo” Demands Special Consideration
The former Goodrich Hoist and Winch business, now integrated into Collins Aerospace but proudly continuing to trade under the Goodrich name, is developing a next generation of its highly successful rescue hoist, according to company representatives at IDEF 2019 in Istanbul this week.
Fascinatingly, not to say a little bizarrely, the current hoist – installed on a comprehensive range of helicopters over the last decade or more – turns out to be, “the only HEC-compliant rescue hoist in the world,” according to Business Development Manager Amar Ganwani. When questioned, HEC turns out to be an acronym for ‘Human External Cargo’ which, rather than being an extreme case of political correctness, is an actual regulatory framework developed and administered by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
It makes perfect sense, of course, that hoists used for lowering and retrieving lighthouse, windmill or energy platform operators – or for performing similar services for medical, rescue or special forces personnel – be subjected to stricter, more performance-oriented manufacturing criteria than those used for hauling railway carriages, rare zoo animals or bridge sections. But ‘human external cargo?’ Really?
Be that as it may, the Collins solution has been well received in recent years, performing solid and often unobtrusive service in Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, a series of Japanese and Indian Ocean tsunamis and, more recently, hoisting passengers off a cruise ship in navigational difficulty.
The new generation solution will, Ganwani told MON in Istanbul, incorporate all the winning features of the current unit (pictured) but “with greater mission insight, better sensors, a lower maintenance footprint and capable of delivering better information to the operator. Presumably “one, two, three….HEAVE!” will in future be replaced by the sound of artificial intelligence making decisions.