Bell Helicopter announced upgraded variants of its Model 407 and 412 helicopters today, and the Fort Worth, Texas-based company is displaying them this week at Heli-Expo, which opens tomorrow in Las Vegas.
AINalerts » March 4, 2013
Taking into account both civil and military markets, the yearly delivery value of rotorcraft is comparable to the $18 billion business jet industry, according to aviation analyst Brian Foley. In fact, he is forecasting some 24,000 rotorcraft deliveries over the next 10 years, including 12,000 civil turbines, 6,000 military turbines and 6,000 piston helicopters valued at roughly $250 billion–roughly the same outlook for business jet billings.
Garmin’s touchscreen GTN series GPS navcoms have been optimized for helicopters, with new features that eliminate the need for rotorcraft operators to install the fixed-wing GTN version. The new helicopter-optimized GTN comes in five configurations that meet vibration and temperature testing standards and offer optional NVG compatibility and optional H-Taws.
Wednesday will be a big day for helicopter OEMs and could shape the future of the industry for decades to come, when Phase One proposals are due into the Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate. The proposals will likely lead to the construction of Joint Multi-role demonstration aircraft (JMR TD) that could fly as early as 2017, with the start of production expected between 2025 and 2030.
Today at Heli-Expo, MD Helicopters unveiled its Next Generation Cockpit for the MD Explorer, featuring an integrated, single-pilot IFR-capable flight deck from Universal Avionics. The basic system has a two-screen display, with an optional third screen available for the copilot’s position, and is controlled via a center-panel-mounted CDU or via a cursor controlled by a point-and-click button mounted on the cyclic.
Rolls-Royce launched the latest version of its M250 turboshaft engine, the M250-C47E, today on the eve of Heli-Expo. The new variant replaces the -47B and -47M and incorporates the value improvement package upgrade kit that Rolls Royce introduced last year, as well as a dual-channel Fadec. As a result, the 700-shp engine boasts a 5-percent improvement in high and hot performance over its predecessor, an almost 8-percent improvement in takeoff power, to 700 shp, and reduced specific fuel consumption.
Phoenix Heliparts, with 1st Source Bank and Southwest Aviation Insurance Group, plans to offer financing and insurance options on its future MD 500 helicopter sales. The company aims to become the one-stop shop for MD 500 purchases by “providing a total service experience and simplifying the process of restoring and upgrading MD 500s.” This week at Heli-Expo, Phoenix Heliparts is offering a $10,000 credit to anyone who signs a purchase offer for one or both MD 500s currently undergoing complete refurbishment and places a deposit at the show.
Dart Aerospace is using the 2013 Heli-Expo show as a springboard for not only its new black and red logo, but also as the debut for the reorganization of all Dart sub-brands. These include Apical Industries, DAS, Dart Helicopter Services, Geneva Aviation and Red Barn Machine. According to Dart, it has more than 600 STCs and offers 5,000 products for sale across these subsidiaries.
Greenwich AeroGroup is offering demonstrations of LiveTV’s satellite communications LiveAero Wi-Fi broadband data and voice system this week at Heli-Expo. The LiveAero system uses Iridium’s OpenPort Aero broadband service. It allows users to stay connected via Wi-Fi to their smartphone, tablet or laptop from takeoff to landing anywhere in the world at data speeds up to 300 kbps. According to Greenwich, this unique satellite configuration and antenna design allows the signal to be received under the helicopter main rotor, permitting signal connectivity throughout the flight.
Universal Helicopters will award its Vision Award, a full scholarship valued at up to $12,000 for night-vision goggle (NVG) certification in a Robinson R44, to one lucky Heli-Expo attendee on Wednesday. The company’s NVG certification program–which is conducted at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott, Ariz. campus–includes a maximum of seven hours flight and 10 hours of ground training. Those who wish to be in the drawing must hold an FAA commercial rotorcraft helicopter certificate, enter at Universal Helicopters’ booth and be present to win.