Sikorsky expects the FAA to certify a higher mtow for its S-92 medium-twin helicopter this fall. The maximum allowable takeoff gross weight of the aircraft is being increased from 26,500 to 27,700 pounds, thus allowing operators to carry an additional 1,200 pounds of payload.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
Germany-based aeromedical and air rescue helicopter operator DRF Luftrettung took delivery of the first Airbus Helicopters EC 145T2 today during a ceremony at the aircraft manufacturer’s production facility in Donauwörth, Germany. DRF has a firm order for 20 EC 145T2s, which will gradually replace its BK 117 and Bell 412 fleets over the coming years. Two DRF pilots will soon ferry the new helicopter to the operator’s maintenance facility at Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden Airport, where the EC 145T2 will be outfitted with medical equipment.
Genesys Aerosystems’ HeliSAS helicopter stability augmentation system (SAS) and autopilot received STC approval for retrofit installation in Robinson R44s. HeliSAS’s two-axis autopilot allows for heading and nav hold, as well as vertical speed and altitude hold. The system operates during all phases of flight so it can maintain or recover a neutral attitude automatically when the pilot releases the cyclic; the pilot resumes full control simply through normal cyclic handling.
Sikorsky (OE3, OE4) here on Monday announced that it has begun delivering S-76 medium twin helicopters equipped for executive transport and search-and-rescue (SAR).
Among the features that executive transport operators will enjoy, the company said, is the ability to keep the rotors static, i.e. not rotating, while running an engine to power the air-conditioning. It also claims its active vibration control and Quiet Zone transmission technology provide smooth and quiet cabin conditions, allowing normal conversations.
The first level D flight simulator for the Airbus Helicopters EC175 medium twin has just received EASA certification, thus allowing the manufacturer to use it to train customer pilots. Designed by Spain-based Indra and located at the Helisim training center adjacent to the Airbus factory in Marignane, France, it features a 210- by 80-degree continuous field of view. Another EC175 full-flight simulator will be installed in the U.S. Airbus Helicopters is here at Outdoor Exhibit OE13.
Airbus Helicopters will lead the design of a compound rotorcraft demonstrator dubbed “LifeRCraft” (Low Impact Fast & Efficient RotorCraft) as part of Europe’s Clean Sky 2 Joint Technology Initiative, which was formally launched last week in Brussels. Preliminary studies, architecture and specification activity will start this year, with development and testing of components and subsystems envisioned in the 2016-2018 timeframe. Flight evaluations could start in early 2019.
AgustaWestland’s AW149 multi-role military helicopter received military certification on July 15 from the Italian Directorate of Air Armaments (Arma Aereo), following completion of trials with the country’s Reparto Sperimentale di Volo (RSV) test center at Pratica di Mare air base. According to AgustaWestland, operational tests are to begin shortly.
Unlike its sister ship the EC225, the EC175’s main gearbox has no backup lubrication system, which could present a problem should it experience a total loss of oil. To compensate for this, its components have been designed to withstand the absence of lubricant for a limited period of time. Airbus Helicopters so far has certified a 15-minute dry-run capability (which involved a 30-minute demonstration). Further tests are scheduled for 2015 in a bid to increase the certified duration to at least 30 minutes.
Certification in hand, Airbus Helicopters is endeavoring to ensure a faultless entry into service of its EC175 medium twin, a critical product for the company in the highly competitive offshore oil-and-gas market. The first delivery, to Belgium-based operator NHV, is planned for the second half of this year, almost five years after the first flight. Thanks to the unprecedented preparation at the company’s headquarters in Marignane, France, and at a customer base, program officials believe an EC175 will be able to operate immediately after delivery.
AgustaWestland last month received the 2014 American Helicopter Museum and Education Center’s achievement award for “advancements in rotary-wing technologies,” based on the Project Zero tiltrotor demonstrator program. Dr. James Wang, the manufacturer’s research-and-development vice president, accepted the award. Led by Wang, the Project Zero team designed, built and flew a 2,200-pound, all-electric vertical lift aircraft in six months. A few flights took place in 2011-2012.
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