The rarefied offshore energy market continues to be the prime driver for development of new civil helicopters, but the training and entry-level market is also heating up, with Bell and others announcing or hinting at new models. Various studies predict that worldwide civil helicopter production will double between now and 2020 in terms of overall sales value as OEMs focus on delivering larger and more expensive helicopters.
Certification of the EC145T2, an upgraded version of Eurocopter’s light twin, is now expected next spring rather than this year, as originally planned. Program leader Manfred Merk attributed the delay to longer-than-expected aerodynamic and avionics development work.
“It took us one month to solve a problem that was appearing in sideways flight,” Merk said. The helicopter was shaking, a certification red flag, so the engineers recontoured the edge of the vertical tail fin and the mod proved successful.
American Eurocopter (Booth No. C11606B) selected a unique EC145 to show off at its booth during NBAA 2013. The twin-engine helicopter was outfitted to customer specifications for Chandler, Ariz.-based businessman Ron Pratte. Interior features include a spacious passenger cabin, ideal for carrying business partners and family.
Eurocopter has announced that its American Eurocopter subsidiary will upgrade its Columbus, Miss. facility, allowing it to serve as a final assembly and test site for the AS350. The AS350 work will offset a reduction in assembly operations on the UH-72A Lakota military helicopter and also help Eurocopter increase AS350 sales in the U.S. The model is the bestselling civil helicopter in the U.S.
Gerry Block founded Sandel Avionics in 1998 to bring high-performance color graphics avionics to unserved general aviation customers by exploiting the emerging technology of rear projection to produce compact panel-mounted electronic cockpit displays. On Wednesdsay at NBAA 2013, Sandel Avionics is celebrating its 15-year anniversary from 3 to 5 p.m. at Booth No. C9340 with a hosted bar, refreshments and prize drawings.
Eurocopter is now anticipating that its EC145T2, an upgraded version of the EC145 light twin, will be certified next spring, instead of by year-end. Head of program Manfred Merk told AIN that the first delivery is now slated for the middle of next year.
Eurocopter announced yesterday that it will upgrade the American Eurocopter plant in Columbus, Miss., to accommodate final assembly of the AS350, which it said is the top-selling civil helicopter in the U.S. market. AS350 production is expected to start at the plant in the fourth quarter of next year and will ramp up to 60 of the light single-engine helicopters annually by 2016.
A2B Heli Maintenance, an EASA Part 145 independent commercial helicopter maintenance company, has formally opened its doors at London Oxford Airport. A2B Heli chose London Oxford as an expanding business aviation airport with close links to co-owned Barclays London Heliport in Battersea (20 minutes’ flying time from Oxford) and other strong transport links.
Faced with tough budget decisions on new weapons programs, the U.S. Army appears to be delaying a decision on the $6- to $8 billion Armed Aerial Scout program while concurrently moving forward with the potential $100 billion joint multi-role (JMR) initiative.
Eurocopter (Booth 7050) unveiled a mockup of the executive version of its EC175 medium twin helicopter at EBACE and is also offering an even more luxurious VIP version.