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.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
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.
Mike Hirschberg, executive director of AHS International, used a media presentation at Heli-Expo 2014 to not only highlight the educational and advocacy roles of his organization, but also to share his perspective on the state of future rotorcraft development.
For Sikorsky, 2013 was a mixed bag, according to company president Mick Maurer, who gave his company’s year-end summary presentation this morning. While the company reached a record backlog of more than $15 billion, it also recorded an 8-percent drop in sales, to $6.3 billion, the decrease driven largely by a drop-off in U.S. government orders on both the OEM side and the aftermarket side last year.
Enstrom Helicopter unveiled a mockup of a new, low-cost, two-seat, piston-powered trainer on the opening day of Heli-Expo 2014. The TH-180 is a scaled-down version of the company’s popular FX-280 three-seat model. Company officials said the TH-180 should post direct operating costs of $175 per hour and an hourly fuel burn of less than 12 gph. The launch price is $365,000. It will be powered by the 210-hp Lycoming HIO-390 and feature an engine governor and electric clutch switch. First flight is anticipated this summer and certification is targeted for 2015.
Rotorcraft Services Group Products (Booth No. 1206) announced during Heli-Expo 2014 that it is teaming up with Heli-One (Booth No. 1804) to collaborate on, produce, support and even co-market supplemental type certified products for their customers.
Initial STCs available through the partnership include a dual pivoting litter system for the AS350 and a rappel system for Bell 412 and 212 helicopters. Both STC’d products are on display at RSG’s booth at Heli-Expo.
Bell Helicopter has unveiled three refined mock-ups of its new, five-seat “short light single” (SLS) helicopter and officially named the new helicopter the “505 Jet Ranger X.” Bell previewed the SLS concept with an announcement and renderings at the 2013 Paris Air Show.