Bell Helicopter formally launched the 525 “Relentless” super-medium twin, the largest civil helicopter in the company’s history, this morning at Heli-Expo. “Today, we celebrate with our customers–not only the launch of this new product–but the result of our collective efforts to define a new class of helicopter that raises the bar on innovation in the industry,” said Bell president and CEO John Garrison. Bell’s 525 is an 18,000-pound “plus” ship aimed squarely at the offshore market with a range of more than 400 nm, a speed near 150 knots and a ceiling of 20,000 feet.
AINalerts » February 12, 2012
Garmin announced the new G5000H helicopter avionics suite at Heli-Expo today, coinciding with the launch of the Bell 525 Relentless. The new helicopter is the launch customer for the G5000H. According to Garmin, the Bell 525 will feature a four-display system and incorporate Bell’s new awareness, reactive and control (ARC) cockpit. Garmin is displaying the G5000H in a 12-inch screen configuration this week at Heli-Expo, but displays are also available in 14-inch size.
AgustaWestland and Dublin, Ireland-based Lease Corporation International (LCI) yesterday at Heli-Expo signed an agreement covering purchase of a fleet of AW139, AW169 and AW189 helicopters. Including options, the deal is valued at more than $398 million. The agreement also includes aircraft maintenance and pilot training. Deliveries of the helicopters are planned to begin next year, starting with the AW139, followed by the AW189 in 2014 and the AW169 still later, after its certification.
At Heli-Expo today, Eurocopter unveiled the EC130 T2, an updated version of its venerable single-engine helicopter. It also announced orders for 105 of the new aircraft from seven launch customers: Maverick Helicopters, Papillon Helicopters, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Scandinavian Helicopter Group, Air Commander, Europavia and Enloe FlightCare. The EC130 T2 is powered by the Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine, which provides 10 percent more average power and lower specific fuel consumption than the original powerplant and has a higher time between overhaul interval.
Honeywell’s 14th annual Turbine-Powered Civilian Helicopter Purchase Outlook report that was released today offers a mixed review–in general, not so good in the short term, but not so bad in the long. While recent helicopter order rates have been healthy and near-term purchase plans remain strong, lingering tight credit conditions and significant inventories of used production models for sale continue to cast a pall on the industry, Honeywell said.
The X3 compound helicopter demonstrator is set to resume flights this month. Data analysis from the first two flight-test campaigns has prompted new questions, chief technology officer Jean-Michel Billig told AIN, and the launch of a third test campaign has been scheduled. The testing will explore the behavior of the main rotor at high speed. Some other goals relate to the Fadec and the link between rotor rpm and aircraft speed. Billing said the first product using X3 technology may appear in 2020 or 2021.
Sikorsky Innovations has completed wind-tunnel testing of an active rotor system equipped with “high-authority” flaps, thus paving the way for improvements in noise, vibration–and, marginally, efficiency–on future rotorcraft. The program, which started in 2008, is part of a broader program that encompasses leading-edge rotor blade devices. The tested system involved trailing-edge flaps and a closed-loop control.
Rolls-Royce has nearly completed development of its 475-shp RR500 turboshaft, but is still waiting for an aircraft manufacturer or modifier to specify the engine for a new project. Recent testing includes a 500-hour endurance run and simulated altitude trials. The engine will log about 1,000 test hours. Still to be performed is a 1,000-cycle test. Development testing is expected to be finished by the end of next month.
Robinson Helicopter recently delivered its 100th R66 single-engine turbine helicopter to long-time customer and South African-dealer National Airways Corp. Just 14 months after receiving FAA certification, Robinson has received more than 380 orders for the five-passenger Rolls-Royce RR300-powered R66, 70 percent of those from the export market. Customer response to the R66 has exceeded expectations, said Robinson CEO Kurt Robinson.
Italy-based Mecaer Aviation Group (MAG) introduced a new cabin design for AgustaWestland AW169 helicopters today at Heli-Expo. The six-seat cabin mockup was developed with a vision toward passenger comfort, noise reduction and inclusion of a state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system. The new cabin will be equipped with the Silens System, MAG’s cabin-noise and vibration reduction system, and the company’s IFeel cabin electronics package.