Kaman Aerospace has begun production flight-testing of the first of 10 refurbished SH-2G(I) Super Seasprites that were previously delivered to Australia, but have now been bought by the Royal New Zealand Navy. The milestone opens another chapter in the story of a design that made its first flight (as the HU2K-1) on July 2, 1959, and which became a stalwart of the U.S. Navy’s shipborne helicopter fleet until retired in 2001.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
The Japan National Police Agency has ordered another Agusta Westland AW139 medium twin helicopter, which is scheduled to enter service in 2015 for operations in Kagoshima Prefecture. AgustaWestland and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace announced the sale here at ABACE on Tuesday, noting that the new AW139 will replace an ageing Bell 412 in the police fleet.
Airbus Helicopters Japan inaugurated Japan’s first full flight simulator (FFS) for helicopters at its training facilities in the Kobe Airport vicinity on Monday. The EC135 P2+ simulator received level-C certification from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB). Such airworthiness authority approval allows training hours accumulated by pilots in the full flight simulator to count as actual flight hours.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has issued a validation type certificate for Sikorsky Aircraft’s S-76D helicopter, allowing the U.S. manufacturer to begin deliveries to Chinese customers. The move, announced on Monday at ABACE 2014 in Shanghai, follows the earlier CAAC validation of the S-76A and S-76C models. More than 30 of the twin-engine Sikorsky S-76 aircraft currently operate in China.
Aerochine Aviation, an independent representative of Bell Helicopter for China, Hong Kong and Macau, signed a purchase agreement for five more Bell 505 helicopters yesterday at ABACE 2014. Shortly afterwards Aerochine signed another agreement to buy two more Bell 407s.
The latest addition to AgustaWestland’s family of helicopters is the AW109 Trekker, which was introduced in February and will be the first of its light twin aircraft to offer skid landing gear.
With some long-awaited relaxation of the rules governing helicopter operations in China, prospects for the rotorcraft industry at last seem to be firming up. Last year the entire fleet (465 helicopters, 424 based in Mainland China) grew by 20 percent, according to the Asian Sky Group, which in February published the latest edition of its Greater China Civil Helicopter Fleet Report.
Earlier this month Russian Helicopters delivered the 3,500th helicopter of the Mil Mi-17 series. Assembled at the Kazan Helicopters plant, the machine is one of 151 that India has ordered. However, at the same time, tensions with Ukraine are threatening the supply of engines.
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.
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).