Bell Helicopter racked up orders and commitments for more than 110 helicopters at Heli-Expo as of this afternoon. The majority of these are for the company’s new Model 505 Jet Ranger X, which has garnered 94 letters of intent.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
MD Helicopters unveiled its new MD 530G armed aerial scout helicopter yesterday at Heli-Expo. It also revealed that it is already flying the new model and plans to have it certified in the second quarter, with deliveries slated for the third quarter. The company is now taking orders for the $4- to $5 million single-engine helicopter, which will come standard with Moog’s new weapons system platform.
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 today in Toulouse. The company delivered 497 helicopters and recorded orders for 422 more, compared with orders for 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).
AgustaWestland (AW) is performing customer demo flights aboard its prototype tiltrotor AW609 this week at Heli-Expo in Anaheim, Calif., but with the aircraft still early in the certification process few potential customers qualified to get on board. The FAA requires such passengers to be appropriately rated rotorcraft pilots, undergo simulator training in the company’s AW609 simulator, conduct a familiarization flight in the aircraft and receive a second-in-command rating.
Waypoint Leasing Services placed orders with Airbus Helicopters for 12 EC225s and 25 EC145T2s yesterday at Heli-Expo. Deliveries will commence this year and continue through 2017. Financial details of the order were not disclosed. Waypoint purchased two EC225s last year that are currently leased for offshore oil and gas operations in Australia. The helicopter leasing firm has $375 million in financing from two family funds and an additional $325 million in credit from Credit Suisse, CIT Bank and SunTrust.
Sikorsky Aircraft yesterday named Greenwich AeroGroup subsidiary Summit Aviation an authorized customer support center for its legacy S-76 helicopters. Since the type’s introduction in 1979, Sikorsky has delivered more than 800 S-76 models, which continue to add to the type’s six million-plus flight hours.
Call it the decade of “skies opening” in greater China, or, if you are a helicopter OEM call it the decade of sales opportunities. If you are involved with helicopters in greater China today the excitement and growth is palpable. Last year the entire fleet (465 helicopters, 424 based in mainland China) grew by 20 percent, according to the Asian Sky Group Greater China Civil Helicopter Fleet Report, released during Heli-Expo 2014.
Last year at Heli-Expo simulator manufacturer FlyIt Technology (Booth No. 2433) enlightened attendees about the advantages of flight simulation for helicopter training and proficiency. The display of FlyIt’s “Advanced Flight Motion System,” which replicates the feel of flying in a non-moving device, was a success. Deliveries began in July 2013, with simulators going to Russia, China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala and Angola.
Rolls-Royce has signed multi-year service agreements with four large fleet operators, encompassing operational support for more than 220 M250-engine powered rotorcraft. Yesterday at the company’s booth, Tim McGrath, the engine OEM’s vice president of customer business, signed the agreement with Mike O’Reilly, president of Calgary-based Eagle Copters, which specializes in sales, leasing, MRO and STC manufacturing and owns 15 M250-powered helicopters including the Bell 206B, 206L3 and 407.
Amid swirling dancers and projected rocky landscapes, AgustaWestland drew a crowd on the exhibit floor yesterday afternoon with the formal unveiling of the latest addition to its lineup, the AW109 Trekker, its first light twin to offer skid landing gear. Expected to receive certification and begin deliveries next year, the helicopter wore the colors of launch customer Dallas-based aeromedical transport provider SevenBar, which has also ordered another AW109 and a pair of AW119s as part of its first foray into rotorcraft operation.