A release by Ornge Media states they will be painting their fleet of helicopters during 2021.
Bringing “painting to new heights,” the release states.
One of the newly painted aircraft was at the helipad at Northumberland Hills Hospital on Sunday, April 11, 2021.
They will still be the same AW130 helicopters, but will take on a new look.
In the case of Ornge’s fleet of AW139 helicopters, paint is utilised by the manufacturer to protect the associated Surfaces and maintain their structural integrity from various forms of corrosion. Through the course of wear and tear, exposure to weather elements and oxidation, paint loss naturally occurs and exposes these areas states the release.
Paint does not just protect surfaces and help maintain their structural integrity. There is also an aerodynamic component that can be impacted. The erosion of the painted surfaces results in parasitic drag and the reduction of aircraft performance, and can even lead to slower flight times. With an air ambulance, you naturally want to ensure nothing slows you down.
As a form of corrosion control, Ornge uses “fresh” paint. This highlights the poor condition of the overall finish to the aircraft as the existing paint is heavily discoloured from UV light and oxidation. Further deterioration has also transpired over the last ten years of heavy use due to the engine exhaust adhering to the poor paint surface, evident as “sooting” visible along the helicopter tail. This adds additional risk to the maintenance of the aircraft as it has the ability to mask signs of cracking and loose fasteners. This is exacerbated at night or during poor lighting, adding a further challenge for flight crews and maintenance engineers during their walk around and inspections.
The accompanying video shows the paint modifications to the aircraft.