Russian airframer Irkut has begun exploratory talks with Bombardier over plans to cooperate in providing customer support for its planned MC-21 narrowbody airliner. Irkut wants to tap the Canadian group’s expertise in setting up customer support infrastructure.
A round of upgrades is set to make the French air force’s two EC725 helicopter squadrons even more effective. One of them, based at Cazaux, designated EH01.067 and named after the Pyrenees Mountains, has already built a strong reputation for combat search and rescue (CSAR) missions in numerous overseas deployments.
The Russian defense ministry awarded TANTK Beriev a contract worth Rouble 8.408 billion (U.S.$267 million) for six Be-200 amphibian jets. The first two airplanes delivered in 2014-16 will be the factory-standard Be-200ChS version (the ChS suffix is the Russian acronym for Emergency Situations). The other four will be Be-200PS search-and-rescue versions. The Russian MoD signaled its intent to place a follow-on order for eight more aircraft after this initial contract is fulfilled.
The FAA is proposing to supersede an airworthiness directive for the Sikorsky S-64E (type certificate currently held by Erickson Air-Crane). It requires inspecting and reworking the main gearbox second-stage lower planetary plate.
After a year-long delay, the Airbus Military A330MRTT has gained its “release to service” as a tanker in the UK, allowing the Royal Air Force (RAF) to start operational refueling. The service had been obliged to extend the service life of its aging VC10 and TriStar tankers in the meantime. The recent deployment of RAF Eurofighter Typhoons to Malaysia relied on Italian Air Force Boeing KC-767s to refuel the aircraft en route.
Bombardier is expanding maintenance capacity at its Tucson, Ariz., service center for its Q400 and Q400 NextGen twin turboprops. The airframer has added three additional lines of maintenance staff in southwestern U.S. facility, supplementing capacity already available to regional airline customers in Bridgeport, W.Va., and Macon, Ga.
The FAA is superseding an existing airworthiness directive for the Bell 212 and adopting requirements for Bell 204B, 205A, 205A-1, 205B and 210 helicopters with certain part-numbered main rotor hub inboard strap fittings. The AD requires magnetic particle inspection of the fittings for a crack, and if a crack exists, replacing the fittings with airworthy fittings.
State-owned Aviation Industry Corp. of China (Avic) brought its Avicopter rotorcraft unit to Heli-Expo for the first time.
Portland, Ore.-based Simplex (Booth No. N2511), known for its unique, easily convertible aerial firefighting spray booms, announced that it is teaming with Advanced Helicopter + Rescue Techniques (AH+RT), also Portland-based, to provide rotary-wing aerial firefighting and technical rescue training, including turnkey solutions for customers.
Bell Helicopter is on a mission, to diversify its business model. CEO John Garrison wants to increase the company’s share of revenues from the civil sector, now estimated at 40 percent of its overall 2012 results of $4.2 billion.