With your help the people of West Africa have "a chance, not only to change their own lives and their own destinies, but to change the future of an entire generation".

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rotax 912 Powered Health Education

Last week was an amazing one. Patricia Mawuli Nyekodzi and I were honoured to be a part of the BRP Rotax launch of the latest aircraft engine in the 912 range of powerplants for LSA, UL and General Aviation aircraft, the 912iS, as invited guests of the aircraft engine gurus! As part of WAASPS ongoing commitments to providing a sustainable and world class light aircraft solution, they represent Rotax for much of West Africa - and Patricia and I represent the technical team for WAASPS. Part of that includes technical training on the Rotax range of engines, including the recently announced 912iS fuel injection engine. At the launch Patricia was show-cased as their first female iRMT as well as being the first woman to gain Ghana's National Pilots licence, and given a great round of applause for her achievements. (What the press and guests did not see was her practical engagement on the training rig in the Rotax Training centre!). The unveiling of the 912iS was cool - beautifully done, with style and technical excellence - as always - and we were thrilled to be invited to be a part of it. Although MoM and WAASPS are not looking to implement the use of the 912iS engine at this stage, it is clearly an engine that has potential to open up the developments in years to come (especially once we gain approval to use the Zenith CH750 airframe), hopefully within the next 18 months. The 912iS is beautifully made with new improved oil flow crank case, improved oil pump, new exhaust system (no more Argon Gas sourcing issues for installation in rural Africa), easier starting, using more readily available battery solutions in West Africa, it also boasts a new dual ignition, dual fuel injectors, dual generators, dual regulators, dual ECU, dual fuel pumps - in fact in Ghana we may well refer to call this engine as the 912 'Atta', meaning twin, since it has two of just about everything!

At 100Hp the iS is a technological leap forwards, and is not only economical, but also environmentally friendly and should reduce maintenance overheads! Able to run on a range of fuels, and soon to have a knock sensor implemented (it is already installed on the engine!), at some point in the not too distant future, we all envision taking the leap towards more eco-friendly and mechatronic power plants. We hope to obtain 25% more power over the 80Hp unit, for about the same fuel consumption - meaning that MoM can go further, faster and reach more people on the same amount of fuel!

Of course, the future is something to plan towards, but we must also focus on the task in hand - TODAY! So, we will still be flying the Zenith CH701 powered by the ubiquitous Rotax 912UL engines, which are incredibly reliable and have an outstanding track record of operations in Ghana (over 20,000 movements, and many thousands of flight hours). With MoM's soon to be announced bag-drop approval (we have a little secret to share later this week), and the clear path of future power solutions from BRP Rotax, it is clear that Health Education delivery in Rural Ghana will certainly remain Rotax powered for many years to come.... and that is something that BRP Rotax, WAASPS and MoM are able to share pride in, and those at the receiving end may just one day get one of their daughters selected for the AvTech training (which includes iRMT)... just like Juliet, Emmanuella, Lydia and the five girls from Kete Krachi who have just been offered partial scholarships to participate in the 2012 intake four year course - not to mention the 100+ children expected at next weeks Fly Me day from whom the next selection will start to be made, for entry to training in 2015!

Perhaps one day soon we will see 'Rotax Powered Health Education' spreading across the developing nations - and we will know that it started here - thanks to you and your support, and with special thanks to the Rotax Team for their developments, support and encouragement - for without that engine we really would not be able to do what we do in West Africa.

Well, I must fly, because the sky awaits, as always, a Rotax engine.... and we get to proudly take it there, changing lives, one flight at a time....

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