Busy times for helicopter manufacturers bringing new rotorcraft to market are keeping engine maker Pratt &Whitney Canada (P&WC) busy as well. Among the new turboshafts approaching certification is its PW210A engine for AgustaWestland’s new AW169 twin. At the same time, the PT6C-67E will soon be powering the service entry of the new Airbus Helicopters EC175.
For a close-up look at what tomorrow’s helicopter cockpits might look like, stop by the Thales booth (No. 1202) to see the company’s Avionics 2020 cockpit of the future. This version is Thales’s third iteration of its Avionics 2020 concept; earlier helicopter versions were unveiled at last year’s Paris Air Show and at the NBAA Convention.
As CFM International and Pratt & Whitney progress toward the entry into service of their competing engines on the Airbus A320neo, the rival powerplant makers are at odds over which engine will deliver the best performance in terms of turbine temperatures.
For the first time since 2008, worldwide deliveries of business jets were higher than the previous year, according to 2013 year-end numbers released yesterday by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Airframers handed over 678 business jets last year, six more than in 2012.
On February 11 a U.S. Navy Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet made the type’s first flight equipped with an infrared search and track sensor. Developed by Lockheed Martin, the IRST sensor is intended to give the Block II Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler a long-range, passive detection and tracking capability against multiple air targets to augment the aircraft’s APG-79 AESA radar and other sensors. Fleet fielding is scheduled for 2017.
A pair of STCs announced late last week by Eclipse Aerospace add anti-skid braking and autothrottle capabilities to new-build Eclipse 550s. The approvals also bring the company closer to first customer deliveries of the very light jets.
The Challenger 350 is on track to enter service in the middle of this year, Bombardier Aerospace confirmed on Thursday. As of the end of last year, 75 percent of the flight-test program had been completed and the new interior was certified on December 17, the company said.
Quest Aircraft received FAA approval for a 565-pound maximum landing weight increase for its Kodiak to 7,255 pounds, the same as the turboprop single’s mtow. This allows operators to carry extra fuel–“a significant benefit for those flying to remote regions,” said Quest president and CEO Sam Hill. The upgrade is standard on all new-production Kodiaks and an option for in-service aircraft without requiring any structural upgrade.
Bell Helicopter has sold two Bell 412EPIs and two 407GXs to Chongqing General Aviation, marking the first Bell helicopters to be used in China for parapublic missions, including firefighting and search-and-rescue. The four aircraft will serve the Chongqing Fire Fighting Department. “We are pleased to collaborate with Chongqing in its efforts to further its parapublic offerings,” said Chris Jaran, managing director for Bell Helicopter in China.
On February 17 the co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 hijacked the aircraft single-handedly and flew to Geneva airport to seek political asylum. Although both Italian and French aircraft were scrambled to escort the 767, the fighters of the Swiss Air Force remained firmly on the ground. A Swiss air force spokesman confirmed that no interceptors were on alert at the time, as the air force operates to office hours only, or by special notification. However, the air force was keen to point out that it could have generated interceptor sorties given more warning.