Northern Devon aerospace engineering company, Helitune opened its doors on 30 January to a host of local community groups from schools to sport clubs as well as its key suppliers, highlighting the specialist technology that is uniquely built at the company’s headquarters in Torrington.
Helitune, which has over 30 years’ proven track record within the arena of Vibration Health Monitoring Solutions, specialises in the design and manufacture of electronic systems for a helicopter’s Rotor Track and Balance (RTB). The company which was originally established in 1977 now forms an integral part of Condition Monitoring Technology Group (CMTG) Ltd.
Schools from across Devon, including Great Torrington School and Petroc were shown the critical work the company does in addressing the vibrations that can impact a helicopter’s airframe as the main rotor turns during flight. Students were provided a unique access to the cutting-edge technologies that help operators fly safely.
Helitune is passionate about the work it does and by providing young people with this insight into the company, the team are hopeful it will encourage students to consider engineering as a career through the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects they study during their education.
Forty percent of the 90 staff on-site at the company are formerly apprentices, some of these supported the open day and shared with the community their career path and what interested them in the aerospace engineering sector.
Peter Morrish, Technology and Customer Support Manager at CMTG, commented: “There is no better advocate than our people, we are proud to have more than a third of our employees rise through our apprenticeship scheme. We hope that by showing local schools the high-end engineering we undertake this will inspire and attract the next-generation of engineers to consider a career at Helitune.”
The students were also ‘wowed’ by the presence of the Leonardo latest-generation AW149 helicopter flying into Helitune’s HQ. This enabled the students to see up and close how the Northern Devon company’s technologies support aircraft with their flying activities.
Gabriella Ardessi, Campaign Manager at Leonardo Helicopters UK, said: “Helitune is a key South West company and an integral member to Leonardo’s Team AW149 UK. By the company opening its doors to local schools this will have a positive impact on overcoming the serious skills shortage in science and engineering not just in the South West but the UK. It will enable the next-generation to see the exciting world of engineering from the laboratory to the skies.”
More than 70 companies from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland form the onshore Team AW149 UK supply chain for Leonardo's latest-generation military AW149 helicopter, this aircraft is being put forward for the UK’s New Medium Helicopter requirement.
Leonardo and Helitune have been working together for more than two decades across the OEM's platforms. Helitune has a proven track record within the arena of vibration health monitoring solutions and specialises in the design and manufacture of electronic systems for rotor track and balance (RTB).
The optical rotor tracking device “RT-TipTrak” of Helitune spans the Leonardo Helicopters portfolio from the AW149, AW189, AW139 to the AW169. The RT-TipTrak cutting-edge technology monitors the individual blade heights and spacing to millimetre precision during flight, enabling the reduction of vibration, minimising stress and strain on the airframe.