Genesys Aerosystems (née Cobham) announced a deal yesterday with Air Medical Group Holdings for 210 HeliSAS systems to be installed in the operator’s fleet of Bell and Eurocopter EMS helicopters at subsidiaries Air Evac, Med Trans, EagleMed and Reach. The HeliSAS two-axis autopilot and stability augmentation system will be fitted to Air Medical Group’s fleet of helicopters over the next three years.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
The AgustaWestland AW609 civil tiltrotor achieved another milestone on the road to certification, recently completing autorotation testing at the company’s facility in Arlington, Texas. Over the course of 10 flight hours in March and early this month, an AW609 test aircraft made more than 70 power-off conversions from airplane to helicopter mode.
The FAA said yesterday that it will delay by one year the April 22, 2014, compliance deadline to implement pilot training and qualification, airspace and other operational provisions in the new helicopter safety rule.
The EASA certified the Airbus Helicopters EC145T2, an upgraded version of the light twin with new engines and a shrouded tail rotor, late last week. The approval covers the helicopter’s full range of capabilities, the company said, including single-pilot, IFR, Category A takeoff and night-vision-goggles operations.
The certification comes a few months later than expected, delayed by the need to solve an aerodynamic issue in sideways flight. The Helionix avionics suite, developed in-house and featuring a four-axis autopilot, also contributed to the delay.
Bell Helicopter signed a purchase agreement with Xinjiang Tianyun General Aviation for a new Bell 407GX. The Chinese company will use the helicopter for sightseeing tours, executive transport and agriculture support. “We are delighted to select the Bell 407GX to be our first helicopter,” said Xinjiang Tianyun GA executive director Zhu Yue. “It is durable and versatile, exactly what our company was looking for to fit the missions we are planning.”
Speaking at the “Helicopter Operations” seminar today at ABACE 2014, Bell Helicopter China managing director Chris Jaran said the helicopter fleet in China has grown by an average of 20 percent annually from 2009 through 2014, to 465 aircraft from 227. The Chinese rotorcraft fleet is 35 percent piston-powered and 65 percent turbine, he noted.
The Japan National Police Agency ordered another AgustaWestland AW139, the Italian helicopter manufacturer and its distributor Mitsui Bussan Aerospace announced at ABACE yesterday. The medium twin is scheduled to enter service next year for operations in Kagoshima Prefecture. More than 40 AgustaWestland helicopters are currently supporting law enforcement throughout various Japanese prefectures. According to AgustaWestland, Japan already uses the AW139 for critical missions such as search-and-rescue, firefighting and disaster relief.
Shenzhen-based Avion Pacific sold seven Sikorsky S-92s and nine S-76Ds, as well as half a dozen Beechcraft King Airs, in China last year, it announced this week at ABACE 2014. The helicopters will be delivered by year-end. Eight of the S-76s are slated for Chinese government use and one for a private customer. Six of the S-92s will enter oil-and-gas industry service, and one was purchased by a private customer. Avion Pacific’s 50 employees serve a variety of aviation segments in China, with a particular focus on utility helicopters.
As in many parts of the world, the helicopter industry in China continues growing steadily and is not as subject to economic ups and downs that frequently hamper the fixed-wing segment of aviation. According to Chris Jaran, managing director of Bell Helicopter China, who spoke at yesterday’s Helicopter Operations seminar at ABACE 2014, it’s a well-kept secret that the helicopter fleet in China has averaged a 20-percent increase from 2009 through 2014, from 227 to 465 aircraft (of which 35 percent are piston-powered and 65 percent turbine).