Enstrom Helicopters (Booth No. 8842) may not attract the attention of its higher-profile competitors in the civil rotorcraft segment, but the company has proven impressively resilient throughout its long history and many difficult times. Today, the Menominee, Mich.-based manufacturer has found success in overseas markets, a trend that newly named company president Tracy Biegler says began with delivery of the first of 18 turbine-powered 480B helicopters to the Indonesian National Police in 2004.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
Airbus Helicopters saw stable revenues and profit last year: €6.3 billion ($8.7 billion) and €397 million ($546 million), respectively, according to the financial results Airbus Group unveiled on Wednesday in Toulouse. The company delivered 497 helicopters and recorded orders for 422 more, compared with 469 the previous year. However, the value of the orders increased year over year, by 7 percent, to €5.8 billion ($7.9 billion). The civil market accounted for 55 percent of revenues. The backlog, as of December 31, stood at 995 helicopters worth €12.4 billion ($17 billion).
Deliveries of the Airbus Helicopters EC135 T3/P3, an upgraded variant of the EC135 light twin, will begin in the fourth quarter of this year, instead of early 2014 asannounced last year,according to an Airbus Helicopters spokesperson.
The new helicopter offers several improvements over the current EC135 T2i/P2i, yielding a 66-pound increase in mtow and improved hot/high performance–an additional 440 pounds of payload at about 5,000 feet, ISA+20.
Airbus Helicopters plans to progressively equip all its models with a cockpit imaging and flight data monitoring (FDM) system, in a bid to improve safety with an affordable system. All 181 AS350 AStar/Ecureuil light singles delivered last year were equipped with the device, developed with Appareo Systems (Booth No. 329). Next in line for the FDM installation are the EC130T2 light single and the EC135 light twin.
FlightSafety International (Booth No. 5902) is upgrading its helicopter simulator graphics with its new Vital 1100 visual system and already has qualified it in several level-D units and for use in other advanced training devices. FlightSafety says the new system has five times the computing power of its Vital X predecessor and significantly enhances training by providing realistic mission-specific imagery with improved scene content and greater levels of detail.
While the safety and practical benefits of simulators are well known to the airline industry, they are still relatively new to civil helicopter pilots, instructors and operating companies. First, the student and instructor do not have to spend time flying to a particular place–for example, a hilly area, an offshore platform and so forth. With one click of a mouse at the instructor station, the helicopter and the crew find themselves teleported.
The civil helicopter industry is, at last, taking advantage of simulators in pilot training decades after the fixed-wing aircraft industry began to do so. Simulators are proliferating around the world and, after having been concentrated in the medium-twin segment, now also include light turbine singles. The emergence of rotorcraft simulators in recent years was prompted by a combination of factors: technology, cost, insurance and a realization that the industry must improve a poor safety record.
AgustaWestland gained EASA approval for its new AW189 medium-twin helicopter on February 7. The company said that delivery of the first two AW189s in offshore configuration to Bristow Group was “imminent.” More than 100 AW189s are on order. To date, Bristow has placed a firm order for 11 AW189s for use on a UK search-and-rescue contract and for offshore operations. Other large fleet customers include Gulf Helicopters and Era, with 15 orders each.
As part of its efforts to provide a more holistic approach to product support, AgustaWestland will this week introduce its new Leonardo customer portal. “This tool will link customers at every level to the company,” said AgustaWestland CEO Daniele Romiti.
- Page 1