Saving Lives Against All Odds with SOLIDWORKS: The story of WestWind Technologies, Inc.

Death and taxes may be the only certainties in life, but of all the uncertainties, Mother Nature is perhaps the most uncertain and unforgiving.  It’s hard to turn on the news these days without seeing some sort of talk about climate change, natural disasters, or some sort of chaos. Mother Nature doesn’t mess around. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires or typhoons can tear a city apart and leave lives devastated in their wake. While there seems to be an increase in deadly inclement weather, technological advances have made it a little easier to deal with these uncontrollable forces. In this crazy day and age, aircraft-rescue missions have become increasingly common and continue to save more and more lives. Helicopters are particularly well-suited to access otherwise unreachable areas.


Whether a ferry is sinking in the freezing cold waters off South Korea, or Marines are making a rescue in a battle zone, time is of the essence. WestWind Technologies, Inc. (WTI) is a maintenance and systems integration provider for the U.S. Army’s rotor-wing aircraft fleet. WTI develops retrofits for Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters in addition to civilian S-70 aircrafts. Not only is this aircraft the U.S. military’s workhorse, it’s also the primary helicopter used by the U.S. Coast Guard and other search-and-rescue organizations for air-based rescues.

WTI understands the importance of efficient integration to deliver external hoist kits. External hoist kits are mounted outside the aircraft and used to conduct hoist operations in combat zones and disaster relief situations. WTI accepted the proverbial challenge to develop an external hoist kit with both civilian and military benefits in mind. With SOLIDWORKS, WTI saved customers $300,000 by avoiding a six-week installation period, cut simulation run times from eight to two hours, and reduced assembly validation time by 50 percent.  For a rescue team, the difference between life and death could be a matter of seconds. WTI makes this urgency their own.

“In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, during which rescue crews couldn’t find enough air rescue helicopters or add external hoist arms fast enough, our customers have clamored for a simple, inexpensive way to add a rescue-hoist capability,” Mechanical Engineer Richard Hall points out. “With SolidWorks, we designed a far better approach. If the aircraft is prewired, it takes just 20 minutes to install our system. Customers, ranging from the Army, National Guard, Navy, and Coast Guard to the Border Patrol and foreign military, have embraced our external hoist arm system.”

Check out the full case study here to find out more about how Westwind Technologies, Inc. utilized SOLIDWORKS to save money, time, and lives. Learn how your company can maximize efficiency through 3D CAD.


Asya Bashina

Asya Bashina

Subscription Services Marketing Specialist at Dassault Systemes SolidWorks
Subscription Services Marketing Specialist. Brand Marketing pro and travel enthusiast with a sense of humor.
Asya Bashina
Asya Bashina