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.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
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.
Simplex Manufacturing has launched a new fire attack system for the Kamov Ka-32. The first system will soon be handed over to the Daego Fire Department in South Korea.
The Model 328 features a new computer-controlled door mechanism and a single six-inch AC electric hover pump with a refill rate of 1,000 gallons per minute. These features will also be included on kits as they are updated for other types.
Columbia Helicopters will send a second Boeing Vertol 234 Chinook to Papua New Guinea, to work on heli-rig contracts with local exploration company Oil Search.
Both aircraft will be used to lift components of oil and gas drilling rigs and ancillary equipment above areas of dense jungle to remote drilling locations that are inaccessible by road.
AgustaWestland is to supply 10 A109 Powers for border patrol duties in Libya, as part of an $87 million (U80 million) program intended to establish a domestic aerospace industry. The first two helicopters are planned for delivery at the end of this year and the beginning of next, with the remainder to follow between three and four years afterwards.
Robinson Helicopter and Rolls-Royce are making progress with their partnership on the Robinson R66. Rolls-Royce expects certification of the new engine, the RR300, early next year. There is an outside chance that the helicopter could be certified next year as well.
In a major deal announced at the Dubai Air Show last month, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of the Interior ordered 40 Sikorskys. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in March.