Sometimes there are convergences in the world. Kismet some call it. For first-time Heli-Expo exhibitor Scheme Designers (Booth No. 3608) Harrison Ford’s decision to fly his own Bell 407 into the Anaheim Convention Center as one of the first helicopters to arrive for Heli-Expo 2014 was in fact a stroke of luck for Scheme Designers, the company that created the paint scheme for the actor.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (Booth No. 5406) has signed engine maintenance agreements with four U.S. aeromedical helicopter operators: Metro Aviation, Air Medical Group Holdings, TriState CareFlight and Life Flight Network.
Kaman Aerospace (Booth No. 4922) said it is soliciting customer interest here at Heli-Expo to resume production of the civil variant of its K-Max heavy external lift helicopter. The K-Max was certified in 1994, and autonomously piloted models have recently been flying for the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan. Civil versions of the aircraft have long been used in construction, firefighting and logging applications.
Anyone familiar with GPS-enabled, location-based services available on many smartphones will appreciate the benefits from the new geo-fencing condition capability, dubbed advanced variable response (AVR), offered by Blue Sky Network on its HawkEye 7200 portable satellite tracking unit.
Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. 5226) is displaying its new line of standard and optional glass-panel avionics options for all its helicopter models here at Heli-Expo.
The Garmin GTR 225B is now the standard com radio on all models. The company points out that it satisfies the new KHz channel spacing regulations. The GMA 350H audio panel is now standard for dual com installations.
Safran subsidiary Microturbo of Toulouse, France, and Houston’s Bristow Group announced at Heli-Expo 2014 signing the first support by the hour (SBH) agreement for Microturbo’s e-APU60. The Microturbo e-APU provides auxiliary power for the AW189 helicopter, which Bristow operates. Under the five-year agreement Turbomeca, Safran’s helicopter engine specialist, will provide integrated support activity for the Microturbo e-APUs installed on 11 search-and-rescue helicopters and six operating in the and oil and gas sector. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Component manufacturer Essex Industries (Booth No. 1430) announced it has been selected as a supplier for the Bell 525 helicopter program. The St. Louis-based company will design and manufacture the pilot and copilot cyclic and collective grip assemblies along with the complete control post assemblies for the midsize helicopter, which is currently under development.
Metro Aviation (Booth No. 415) recently completed a year-long approval process for a supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation of the Garmin GTN650/750 in EC135 helicopters, making the company the first to offer the touchscreen GPS, nav and com units available for installation on single-pilot IFR rotorcraft.
AgustaWestland (AW) unveiled its new vision and strategy for continued growth at its annual Heli-Expo press breakfast. Under a new “ThinkCustomer” banner, the company will streamline and simplify its operating model, diversify and grow its product offerings and increase its focus on customer satisfaction to respond to “a new market environment,” company CEO Daniele Romiti said. He reported the company had a 13.6-percent increase in revenues for the first nine months of 2013 (€3.012 billion) over the similar period in 2012 (€2.976 billion).
In the military segment, while clearly concerned with continuing budget constraints, Sikorsky expects to achieve two milestones this year with the first flights of the CH-53K, the latest version of its heavy-lift military transport, and the S-97 Raider.