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).
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
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.
Eurocopter last year secured orders for 401 new civil/parapublic and military helicopters, up from 322 in 2004. Valued at E3.52 billion ($4.22 billion), the orders represent a year-on-year hike of 10 percent. Civil and parapublic helicopters accounted for 46 percent of the value.
FH1100 Manufacturing will offer all-turbine pilot training in the Florida panhandle beginning in May. Course content will range from ab initio through commercial and CFI-I. The commercial pilot curriculum can be tailored to individual pilot needs, will include training in elevated platform operations for potential offshore pilots and–at advanced levels–external load training might also be offered.