The X3 compound helicopter demonstrator is set 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. Billing said the first product using X3 technology may appear in 2020 or 2021.
New York’s Helicopter Flight Services (HFS) has joined the Tour Operators Program of Safety (TOPS, Booth No. 4015). HFS operates as HeliNY from the downtown Wall Street Heliport. The operator flies a Bell 406 and recently took delivery of three new 407GXs equipped with the Garmin 1000H avionics suite. HFS began service in 1986.
Sikorsky Innovations has completed wind-tunnel testing of an active rotor system equipped with “high-authority” flaps, thus paving the way for improvements in noise, vibration–and, marginally, efficiency–on future rotorcraft. The program, which started in 2008, is part of a broader program that encompasses leading-edge rotor blade devices. The tested system involved trailing-edge flaps and a closed-loop control.
Rolls-Royce has nearly completed development of its 475-shp RR500 turboshaft, but is still waiting for an aircraft manufacturer or modifier to specify the engine for a new project. Recent testing includes a 500-hour endurance run and simulated altitude trials. The engine will log about 1,000 test hours. Still to be performed is a 1,000-cycle test. Development testing is expected to be finished by the end of next month.
Sagem Avionics, part of the Safran group, is at Booth No. 7517 celebrating Slave Lake Helicopters’ selection of Sagem’s Integrated Cockpit Display System (ICDS) for its new Eurocopter AS350 B3e. That machine joins three others in the Slave Lake fleet, an AS350 B2, an EC120 and a Bell 206 B3, all with the Sagem ICDS.
Sandel Avionics has been selected by Sikorsky to provide a new MIL-STD version of its HeliTAWS wire and terrain alerting system for forward-fit installation aboard the new S-70i Black Hawk helicopter in mid-2012.
The model ST3453H, like Sandel’s commercial model ST3400H HeliTAWS, protects against terrain, wires and obstacles, and is the only terrain avoidance system certified for nuisance-free operation below en route altitudes, according to the company.
Honeywell’s new Sky Connect Tracker III arrived at Dallas Executive Airport (RDB) aboard the company’s Eurocopter AS350 AStar demonstrator, just in time for a flight around the south suburbs, augmented by the company’s helicopter Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS).
Garmin announced the new G5000H helicopter avionics suite at Heli-Expo yesterday, coinciding with Bell’s launch of its largest-ever helicopter, the 525 Relentless. The new helicopter is the launch customer for the G5000H.
The Bell 525 will feature a four-display system and incorporate Bell’s new awareness, react and control (ARC) cockpit. Demonstrations of the G5000H in a 12-inch screen configuration are available at Garmin’s Heli-Expo booth (No. 9432). G5000H displays are also available in 14-inch size.
Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland and Lease Corporation International (LCI) of Dublin, Ireland, have signed an agreement covering purchase of a fleet of AW139, AW169 and AW189 helicopters, a deal which, including options, is valued at more than $398 million.
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.