Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and the Geological Survey of India are to deploy a Dhruv light twin equipped with geophysical equipment for mineral exploration. Capabilities include detection of oil, gas and minerals (gold, copper, thorium and other rare earth materials) as well as environmental and nuclear surveillance.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
Airbus Helicopters and PT Dirgantara Indonesia have signed an MoU for the latter company to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul on the manufacturer’s rotorcraft flying in Indonesia. In particular, the MoU targets the AS365 Dauphin, EC725 Cougar and AS350/AS555 Fennec the government operates. PT Dirgantara is already a licensed manufacturer of the BO105 light twin and Super Puma as well as a supplier of fuselage subassemblies.
Russia’s Aviation Register of the Interstate Aviation Committee has cleared Helivert, the joint venture between Russian Helicopters and AgustaWestland, to begin assembling AW139s at a new plant at Tomilino.
Europe is slowly progressing toward the use of simultaneous non-interfering (SNI) approaches for helicopters at airports. This would improve rotorcraft access to busy airports while reducing the environmental impact, promoters of a dedicated research project believe. Further in-flight demonstrations are planned for next year, eight years after the first series of trials.
Sun Valley, Calif.-based Helicopter Accessory Service will soon begin shipping strengthened TactAir servo actuator extension assemblies to handle increased hydraulic pressure on Bell LongRanger rotor heads, the company announced last week at Heli-Expo.
Troubled by an increase in the number of helicopter accidents in the last several years, the FAA has launched the Rotorcraft Safety Initiative (RSI), an effort to curb helicopter fatal accidents.
From Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2013, the U.S. helicopter industry experienced 38 fatal helicopter crashes, a 100-percent increase over the same period in 2011-2012. These accidents resulted in 76 fatalities, 95 percent more than the same period the year before and the highest number of fatal accidents since 1994.
The EASA is considering increasing the time in which a pilot is expected to respond to engine failure in a single-engine helicopter, to align certification standards with real-world human performance. The new standard, if adopted, would require helicopters to be designed so that the pilot has more time to respond before a decay in rotor rpm takes the machine into hazardous dynamic territory. A study by Dutch aerospace research center NLR shows that this would add weight and cost.
The EASA has published a new requirement in certification–“operational suitability data” (OSD)–mandating that aircraft manufacturers, including those building helicopters, submit data the EASA considers important for safe operations. OSD covers pilot, maintenance staff and simulator qualification; the master minimum equipment list (MMEL); and possibly other areas, depending on the aircraft’s systems.
FlightSafety International is upgrading its helicopter simulator graphics with its new Vital 1100 visual system and has already qualified it in several level-D machines and for use in other advanced training devices. Providing sharper resolution and a larger field of view, the new system has five times the computing power of its Vital X predecessor and significantly enhances training by providing realistic mission-specific imagery with improved scene content and greater levels of detail, says the training provider.
The long-simmering debate about how best to address the issue of helicopter noise above the Los Angeles basin has come to full boil. The parties that had been trying to collaborate on voluntary abatement measures have seen them become mired in a miasma of mistrust, skepticism, anger and a sense of betrayal on the part of just about everyone who flies a helicopter through the airspace, including–for the first time–law enforcement.