Eurocopter launched its new EC175 helicopter four years ago at the Heli-Expo show in Houston, Texas, showing a fuselage mockup of the new helicopter. Last month, AIN editor-in-chief Randy Padfield had the opportunity to fly one of the EC175 prototypes at Eurocopter’s main facility on Marseille-Provence Airport in France. This is his report of that flight.
The X3 compound helicopter demonstrator is to resume flights this month. Data analysis from the first two flight-test campaigns has prompted new questions, chief technology officer Jean-Michel Billig told AIN, and the launch of a third test campaign has been scheduled. The testing will explore the behavior of the main rotor at high speed. Some other goals relate to the Fadec and the link between rotor rpm and aircraft speed.
Rolls-Royce (Booth No. 9040) has almost completed development of the 475-shp RR500 turboshaft but is still waiting for an aircraft manufacturer or modifier to specify the engine for a new project. Meanwhile, the Indianapolis-based engine manufacturer has moved into full-rate production with the 300-shp RR300 turboshaft, which powers the Robinson R66 light single. Improvements are also underway on the M250, to which both of the newer engines trace their roots.
Sikorsky Aircraft has named 35 suppliers participating in an industry-funded effort to build two prototype S-97 Raider helicopters for evaluation by the U.S. military.The Raider is a follow-on to the company’sX2 technology demonstratorwith coaxial contra-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller.
Sikorsky said it will invest about 75 percent of the Raider program’s expected cost, with suppliers investing 25 percent. Last June, Sikorsky and General Electric signed an agreement under which GE Aviation will provide its CT7-8 engine for the Raider.
Agusta Westland Tilt Rotor Co. (AWTR) flew an AW609 (née BA609) tiltrotor at Arlington Municipal Airport yesterday. The company also provided an update on the program, which comes in the aftermath of AgustaWestland’s taking over full ownership of the 609 project when former partner Bell Helicopter relinquished its half last November.
AgustaWestland established AWTR to complete certification and bring the AW609 to market, with its U.S. headquarters based at AWTR’s new office-hangar complex at the airport.
Honeywell’s 14th annual Turbine-Powered Civilian Helicopter Purchase Outlook report was released today and there was little in it that encourages breaking out the champagne or ordering a new Bentley. In short, it was a mixed review: in general, not so good in the short term, not so bad in the long.
While recent order rates have been healthy and near-term purchase plans remain strong, lingering tight credit conditions and significant inventories of used production models for sale continue to cast a pall on the industry.
Airwolf Aerospace of Middlefield, Ohio (Booth No.10243) announced it has received FAA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval for its recently PMA-approved Torsion-Tension-(TT) Straps for Bell 206 JetRanger, 206L LongRanger and OH 58 helicopters, as well as STCs from the European Aviation Safety Association (EASA), Brazil’s Agencia Nacional de Aviacao Civil (ANAC) and Transport Canada.
These STCs will allow installation of the straps in regions of the world that do not otherwise permit use of PMA parts for flight critical components.
A Bell Helicopter spokesman said the company is “working on” solutions to deal with the aftermath of an FAA Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) that could impact 697 of its 206L series helicopters on the FAA registry.
On February 1, the FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (2012-02-51) that mandates the immediate replacement of main rotor blades on select Bell 206L, L-1, L-3 and L-4 helicopters after 1,400 hours, as opposed to the current 3,600-hour time-in-service limit, due to concerns about fatigue cracking.
The families of the two Colombian men killed in the July 2011 crash of a Robinson R66 have hired the high-profile Los Angeles law firm, Baum Hedlund, to represent them. Last month the law firm issued a press release featuring photos of the men with their families and blasting Robinson for placing “profit over passenger safety.”
Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. 9840) recently delivered its 100th R66 single-engine turbine helicopter to long-time customer and South African-dealer National Airways Corp. Just 14 months after receiving FAA certification, Robinson has received 380 orders for the five passenger Rolls-Royce RR300-powered R66, 70 percent of those from the export market.