New Engine for AStars
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
New Engine for AStars
Eurocopter test pilot Didier Delsalle (center) and president and CEO Fabrice Brégier (right) accepted the world record verification from Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) representative Jacques Escaffe (left) for landing the first helicopter on top of Mount Everest (elevation 29,035 feet). Delsalle performed the feat last May in a production Eurocopter AS 350B3 AStar.
As demand for new helicopters surpasses the manufacturers’ ability to deliver, marketing consultant HeliValue$ said that prices are increasing dramatically for virtually all used helicopters. This year many used helicopters could sell for more than new copies of the same model. In fact, this has already occurred with the Bell 407.
If deals closed are the standard by which a trade show’s success is measured, Heli-Expo 2006 was an unqualified triumph. During the event, held in Dallas on the last three days of February, the major manufacturers announced sales approaching $700 million.
Talk about making inroads. The FlightLogic synthetic-vision EFIS from Chelton Flight Systems has received STC approvals in several helicopter models recently, and no fewer than eight of the helicopters on display at February’s Heli-Expo in Dallas were fitted with the system.
Aircraft statistical and sales transaction information provider JetNet/AvData has introduced a helicopter database service. The Utica, N.Y.-based company can now provide data on some 25,000 rotorcraft worldwide, including owner/operator information, base location, photographs, airframe and powerplant specifications, and sales, trade and lease offerings.
A new rule will end the hundreds of mode-S installation exemptions currently in effect. Beginning next March 1, Part 121 and 135 operators will no longer be exempted to fly without a mode-S transponder. No new exemptions will be granted after that date, though mode-A or -C transponders can continue to be used until they can no longer be repaired, after which they will have to be replaced with a permanent mode-S unit.
Sikorsky has delivered its 600th S-76. More than 220 operators in 59 countries currently fly the type and, since the first aircraft was delivered in 1979, the fleet has accumulated more than 4 million flight hours. Strategy v-p Jeff Pino told AIN that the company could deliver the 700th helicopter by the summer of 2008.
About 3,600 Sikorsky Aircraft workers in Connecticut and Florida went on strike on February 20, voting a tentative agreement down 2,045 to 1,072 mainly because of increased health insurance costs. The workers–represented by IBT Local 1150–picketed at the company’s headquarters in Stratford, Conn., as well as at Sikorsky’s facilities in West Haven, Bridgeport and Shelton, Conn., and West Palm Beach, Fla.
In response to recommendations of the joint industry/ government International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST), MD Helicopters will include as standard equipment on all its aircraft wire-strike protection systems, cockpit voice and video recorders, health and usage monitoring systems and terrain awareness warning systems starting next year.