Rotorcraft

News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.

April 5, 2014 - 3:10am

On March 4 the FAA issued its final rule on Stage 3 helicopter noise certification standards for new helicopter type design and the upgrade of Stage 1 and Stage 2 helicopters when upgrading to Stage 3 via supplemental type certificate (STC). The rule standardizes FAA regulations with those adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2002 and follows the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the topic issued in 2012.

April 3, 2014 - 4:40am

The European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) four-year delay in, and disproportionately high fees charged for, certifying the Robinson R66 turbine single might suggest a bigger problem with the bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Europe that governs the certification of aircraft and components.

April 1, 2014 - 1:15pm

Marenco Swisshelicopter signed 11 letters of intent for its all-composite light turbine helicopter at Heli-Expo in February, the company announced on Friday. These signings brought the total number of LOIs for its single-engine SKYe SH09 to 59 units, for deliveries ranging from 2015 to 2017. The Swiss startup helicopter manufacturer brought its prototype to the show, which further delayed its first flight. Swisshelicopter said the SKYe will make its maiden flight “in the coming weeks.”

April 1, 2014 - 5:40am

The UK CAA has unveiled a series of dramatic measures stemming from the review it launched last September to improve the safety of offshore helicopter operations in the North Sea. Its primary goal is to improve the odds of passengers and crew surviving a ditching, but the exhaustive 293-page report also addresses pilot training, helidecks and a host of other safety topics.

April 1, 2014 - 5:25am

Top FAA regulators justified the new omnibus helicopter safety rule at February’s Heli-Expo convention. John Duncan, director of FAA flight standards, and Kim Smith, manager of the rotorcraft directorate, said the new rule is necessary in light of a recent surge in helicopter accidents, and they are confident that it will contribute to a significant reduction in the accident rate.

April 1, 2014 - 1:15am

There were some surprises in the new-helicopter department at the Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo show, held during the last week of February, but the big news this year was the crop of orders, especially from helicopter leasing companies.

April 1, 2014 - 1:15am

There were some surprises in the new-helicopter department at the Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo show, held during the last week of February, but the big news this year was the crop of orders, especially from helicopter leasing companies.

March 27, 2014 - 3:05pm

Bell Helicopter officially opened its composite manufacturing facility in Broussard, La., yesterday. The new 28,000-sq-ft facility was designed specifically for manufacturing and repairing composites for most of the helicopter manufacturer’s in-production and legacy fleet. Bell said it implemented lean manufacturing processes throughout the facility to improve efficiencies and reduce lead times.

March 20, 2014 - 3:00pm

NTSB investigators are examining the tail-rotor drive assembly following the fatal crash of a 2003 Airbus Helicopters AS350B2–registered as N250FB–that plunged from its sixth-floor helipad to a Seattle street on Tuesday morning. Pilot Gary Pfitzner, 59, and cameraman Bill Strothman, 62, were killed in the crash, and a person on the ground was seriously injured.

March 19, 2014 - 2:05pm
Boeing Phantom Swift

Darpa (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has now awarded prime contracts to all four participating companies to begin Phase 1 development for the agency’s VTOL X-Plane program. Boeing and Karem Aircraft received contracts this week, to join Aurora Flight Sciences and Sikorsky. While all four have submitted proposals for unmanned vehicles, the technology that is to be developed has equal application to manned VTOL aircraft.

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