That new aircraft are often derived from earlier models is no surprise, but hybrids of two separate bloodlines are rare. The Eurocopter EC 145 medium twin, derived from the venerable BK 117 and the much newer EC 135, is one such hybrid. But unlike many mergers, particularly in the corporate world, this one actually works.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
In the face of what market forecasters predict will be nearly another full decade of flat civil helicopter sales, manufacturers have been loath to risk precious capital to develop models whose market reception would likely be less than enthusiastic. The result has been a handful of new designs, some riskier than others. Herein, the details…
Providing proof that persistence pays off, Sikorsky Aircraft received in the week before Christmas a most welcome present: type certification of its S-92 medium-twin transport helicopter (initially limited to VFR operations).
Taking its place on Bell Helicopter’s Arlington, Texas, tiltrotor test stands for the first time last month, the long-awaited first of a planned four Bell/ Agusta 609 convertiplane prototypes began its engine runups in December. First flight is loosely scheduled for the first quarter of this year. The six- to 10-passenger aircraft will undergo a planned 40 to 50 hr of static testing before flight.
Carson Helicopters of Perkasie, Pa., has been granted FAA certification for new main rotor blades for the Sikorsky S-61. The design incorporates two airfoils and 12 degrees of twist, giving the venerable Sikorsky workhorse 2,000 pounds more lift in a hover and adding 15 knots to the cruise speed compared with the standard metal blades at the same power settings. Carson has signed a contract with NASA for exclusive use of the airfoils.
I have to admit that the Robinson revolution passed me by. I graduated from flight school in the U.S. Army in 1978, the year before the first R22 was certified. After seven years in the army, my civilian career path led directly to multi-engine turbine helicopters, a world apart from single-engine pistons.
Last year in Toulouse, France, Eurocopter completed two series of tests that demonstrated the feasibility of satellite-navigation precision approaches for helicopters. Europe, which lags behind the U.S. in creating satnav nonprecision approaches for helicopters, has almost completed some research toward addressing that imbalance.
The year since Heli-Expo 2004 has not been a bad one for the helicopter industry, all things considered. The industry put on a confident face at Heli-Expo in March last year, with companies logging a record number of deals at the show. Bell announced its intention to claw back market share from Eurocopter and within 48 hours had taken walk-up orders for 11 copies of the just-launched IFR version of its 427 light twin.
Bell 407, Newberry, S.C., July 13, 2004–The NTSB blamed the EMS helicopter accident on the pilot’s failure to maintain terrain clearance as a result of fog conditions. A contributing factor was inadequate weather and dispatch information relayed to him.
MacCarthy Interiors in Surrey, England, has delivered its first Sikorsky S-92 with an executive interior. The job for a private owner was part of a contract with Harrods Aviation (MacCarthy is a preferred interiors supplier for Harrods), and involved first stripping out the old interior. Among the upgrade items is a forward lavatory and new leather seats.