Turbomeca, the French helicopter turbine engine manufacturer, predicts the helicopter market overall will experience continued strong growth for the next two years before cooling somewhat. In that span, the company will be working overtime to keep up with demand.
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Soloy Aviation Solutions said it received approval from Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency for its Honeywell engine conversion for Eurocopter AS 350BA and B2 helicopters. “This approval opens the way for Brazillian operators to have the same engine options for these popular helicopters as currently enjoyed by our many existing customers,” said David Stouffer, Soloy’s CEO. Previous STC approval had been obtained from the FAA.
Turbomeca Engines has become a major player on a highly competitive field in recent years after decades spent primarily as a powerplant supplier to European helicopter manufacturers. As the chief provider of engines all across the Eurocopter line, Turbomeca has increased its North American presence on pace with American Eurocopter’s penetration of Western Hemisphere markets.
Honeywell Engines has adop-ted a pioneering role in the U.S. Army’s Small Heavy Fuel Engine (SHFE) development program, an advanced joint program started five years ago to develop and demonstrate turboshaft engines in the 700-shp class. The program has sought to achieve a number of lofty goals including a 20-percent reduction in specific fuel consumption, a 50-percent power-to-weight improvement and a 35-percent reduction of life-cycle costs.
Serving perhaps as a testament to the current strength of the world helicopter market, engine maker Rolls-Royce (Booth No. 1917) is celebrating the delivery of its 30,000th Model 250. This particular engine, a Model 250-C30HU, was installed in an MD Helicopters Model 530F. Approximately 16,000 Model 250s remain in service, according to the company.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) has admitted to the beginning of studies intended to result in a new family of light turbine engines derived from the basic PW200 core and intended to power an as-yet unannounced family of new light helos.
Honeywell is developing an advanced growth version of the LTS101 turboshaft. Designated the LTS101-950, it will maintain the same general shape and size as the present LTS101 but will provide up to 23 percent more power for takeoff and a 35-percent increase in power for single-engine conditions, thanks to an improved compressor.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has added 200 production workers and is opening a new assembly line for the PT6T TwinPac, the engines that power the Bell 212 and 412, at its Saint-Hubert, Quebec plant. The Saint-Hubert facility will also continue to operate as a major overhaul and repair facility.
Turbomeca is investing approximately $50 million to expand production and product support activities at its Grand Prairie, Texas facility.
The allocation includes approximately $10 million to fund a 67,000-sq-ft expansion that is expected to be fully operational by May. The expansion allows the company to continue to expand its maintenance, repair and overhaul activities, as well as assemble and test some Arriel and Arrius models.
St. Petersburg, Russia-based engine manufacturer Klimov is offering the VK800, a new turboshaft in the 600- to 1,000-shp range, as a low-cost alternative to Western helicopter engines. The company claims the engine is the first clean-sheet design since the Soviet era. Certification is pegged for 2009.