Airbus Helicopters and PT Dirgantara Indonesia have signed an MoU for the latter company to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul on the manufacturer’s rotorcraft flying in Indonesia. In particular, the MoU targets the AS365 Dauphin, EC725 Cougar and AS350/AS555 Fennec the government operates. PT Dirgantara is already a licensed manufacturer of the BO105 light twin and Super Puma as well as a supplier of fuselage subassemblies.
Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma
New Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury and the head of its U.S. arm, Marc Paganini, were visibly penitent when discussing the company’s traditionally problematic customer service at today’s annual company press breakfast here at Heli-Expo. Faury left no doubt that he is committed to focusing more company resources and attention on product support. “It is time for new priorities,” he said. Paganini echoed that sentiment, admitting, “We need to do better.”
PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Booth E35), also known as Indonesia Aerospace (IAe), delivered its first complete main fuselage assembly for the EC225/725 helicopter series to Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) last December. The company had previously supplied five upper fuselage sections, as well as 23 tail booms, in a $43 million long-term deal struck in 2008 that called for a total of 125 component sets. Now IAe has been entrusted to supply integrated fuselages. This year, it will supply one every 10 weeks, and one tail boom every three weeks.
A UK inquiry into the April 2009 fatal crash of a Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma in the North Sea begins today in Aberdeen, Scotland. Operated by Bond Helicopters, the rotorcraft suffered a main rotor gearbox failure and crashed into the sea off the Aberdeenshire coast while returning from an oil platform. The accident killed the two pilots and all 14 passengers aboard.
UK Royal Air Force (RAF) crews have begun training on the Eurocopter Puma Mk 2, although the two squadrons will not be cleared for service until 2015. Under a contract signed in 2009, Eurocopter is upgrading 24 of the 40-year-old helicopters with new engines, glass cockpits, digital autopilot and other improvements. Seven have been redelivered to date.
Heli-One, the maintenance subsidiary of operator CHC, has won a contract to modify two second-hand Eurocopter AS332L1 Super Pumas for all-weather search-and-rescue operations in the Arctic region. Norway-based Lufttransport AS will operate them from Svalbard, midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, starting next spring. There, at 78 degrees north, one of the main challenges is around-the-clock darkness in winter, the two companies emphasized.
The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has released a further update on its investigation into the August 23 ditching of a Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma off the Shetlands islands. The latest document reveals that during the approach the pilot’s attention was drawn several times to a too-low-height warning.
The fatal crash of a CHC Scotia-operated Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma on August 23 off the Shetland Islands in the UK has created an outcry among passengers and is puzzling experts. Investigators have found no evidence of technical failure so far, nor have they hinted at human factors. Meanwhile, a pilot based in the North Sea noted that the helicopter seriously deviated from the expected course, two nautical miles from its destination, Sumburgh Airport.
While the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch is still probing the Eurocopter Super Puma fatal accident that killed four in August, the country’s CAA, its Norwegian counterpart and the European Aviation Safety Agency have launched a wider safety review of North Sea helicopter operations.
In the UK AAIB’s second update on the investigation into the August 23 Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma fatal accident, it appears the helicopter was “intact,” with “both engines delivering power,” when it struck the sea. The attitude was near level pitch with a slight right bank.
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