Cleaning helicopters with Interflon Eco Degreaser
First line maintenance
The ANWB Medical Air Assistance (MMA) carries out approximately 9.000 flights from five locations in the Netherlands. The pilots themselves carry out first-line maintenance such as cleaning of the helicopters from, among other things, soot deposits. This has been done with Interflon's Eco Degreaser for two years now. A cleaner that does not contain any harmful or hazardous substances and is therefore friendly to the environment and the user.
Most people have seen a helicopter from MMA flying at some point. In general this is one of the trauma helicopters used in several cases where doctors must be on site as quickly as possible. Think about serious traffic accidents, drowning, but also hypothermia, the resuscitation of a child or a threatened airway.
The MAA operates with two types of helicopters. The Airbus Helicopters EC-135 (H135) are used as a trauma helicopter and the Airbus Helicopters H145 helicopter as an ambulance helicopter. The trauma helicopters fly from four locations in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Volkel and Groningen respectively for the associated trauma centers. The ambulance helicopter flies for the Regional Ambulance provision for Fryslân from Leeuwarden Air Base. This is mainly used to bring patients from the Wadden Islands to the hospital on the mainland. In all cases, MAA supplies the helicopter and pilot and the hospital provides the medical team.
Major and minor maintenance
The head office is in Lelystad. This is where the reserve helicopters can be found, regular training is given and the second-line (medium) maintenance performed. Timon Kruisman is technical manager and responsible for the technical condition of the helicopters. He indicates: 'The helicopters have two engines that run at half power. If one engine fails, at least one engine will allow us to fly to a safe location. It is important that we regularly check these – and other – crucial parts.'
For this reason, the helicopters are checked at fixed points after a hundred flying hours; for example on lubrication, the rubbers and the suspension system. In addition, maintenance is carried out based on the input of a number of sensors that monitors the power of the engine and vibrations. This allows the technicians to see whether the motors are still in order, but they can also detect upcoming problems at an early stage.
Primary maintenance is carried out at the four locations by the pilots themselves. This includes cleaning the helicopters of soot deposits from the gas turbine engines. Previously, a relatively aggressive substance was used that, although effective, is not very environmentally friendly and, moreover, led to complaints among the pilots. First, it took the pilots time and again to put on the mandatory protective clothing before using the product. In addition, there were still reports of stinging eyes and irritated skin.
Timon Kruisman: 'So we were actually looking for a suitable alternative when Interflon came forward with the question whether they could do something for us. During a conversation, Interflon suggested the industrial degreaser Interflon Eco Degreaser as a possible alternative to the cleaning substance at the time.
A good proposal has now turned out to be. This product meets all our preconditions: ecological, safe and pleasant to use for our pilots. There are not even any hazard symbols on the packaging. In addition, it of course also meets the main requirement and the product is effective in removing especially the soot deposits. This without damaging the underlying paint layer.”
The people of MMA have been using this cleaner for two years now and it works well. Timon Kruisman: 'Sometimes we have the idea that you could possibly clean the paint a little deeper in some places, to bring the old soot deposits that have been deposited in the paint back to the surface again, but then you end up with the more aggressive substances that we want to stay far away from. So no reason to switch. It's especially important to remove the soot deposits as quickly as possible and that's easily possible with the Interflon Eco Degreaser. Clean is clean!
We are also very satisfied with the cooperation with our regular contact person at Interflon. I especially like the quick response. If we have a question, he always comes by at short notice to take a look, think along and propose solutions. And we like that speed as helicopter people!'