The August 2008 fatal crash of a Carson Helicopters Sikorsky S-61N has triggered several federal criminal investigations and renewed scrutiny of private aircraft on public use contracts.
The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) has received five AKV cycle counter systems for its Bell UH-1 fire-fighting and utility helicopters from Dart Helicopter Services. Dart handles worldwide distribution for AKV.
Sikorsky Aerospace Services last month announced the acquisition of LifePort and the simultaneous creation of an “accessories business segment.” The Woodland, Wash.-based aircraft accessories manufacturer specializes in air medical systems, lightweight armor, interior furnishings and galley equipment for both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. LifePort will retain its name and current executive management team, Sikorsky said.
In the wake of a stinging critique issued by the Los Angeles County Fire Department after last year’s Station Fire, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is reviewing its ban on most nighttime aerial fire fighting. The Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest raged for nearly two months before it was contained, but not until it had destroyed 250 sq mi of forest (160,000 acres) and 96 homes.
Erickson Air Crane was called in to drop snow on the Vancouver winter games after a week of rain and unusually warm weather melted the white stuff at some elevations below 4,000 feet. Erickson has been using one of its S-64 Air Cranes to move 13,000-pound loads of snow to cover bare ground at several area ski and snowboard venues, including Cypress Mountain and Mount Black.
Russian Helicopters has begun marketing the Ka-32A11BC coaxial helicopter for more U.S. firefighting work. The helicopter has been used successfully in Chile and Mexico in this role, and one based in Canada was summoned last year to help battle a blaze in Idaho.
The threatened pink workstations are a nonstarter, but Nancy Lematta has her hands firmly on the controls of Aurora, Ore.-based Columbia Helicopters. Her late husband, Wes, who founded the company with his brothers, charted a course that she plans to follow.
The Canadian Air & Space Museum of Toronto has launched a fundraising drive to acquire a Sikorsky S-58T with almost half a century of service in the U.S. and Canada under its rotors. The museum has set an initial fundraising goal of $35,000 to acquire the helicopter and all associated spare parts and finance its transport to the museum.
Helitech will once again be staged at Airport Cascais, Estoril, Portugal, on October 5 to 7 after the success of its inaugural event in Portugal in 2008. Organizer Reed Exhibitions said this year’s event is going to be bigger, with more than 50 percent of the exhibition space already sold.
Glenn “Wes” Lematta, 83, the founder of Columbia Helicopters, died December 24. Lematta and his brothers started Columbia in 1957 with a single used Hiller UH-12B in which they offered rides at county fairs. The company grew into a global heavy-lift helicopter operator that today employs 600 and operates a fleet of 30 Vertol 107 II and Boeing 234 Chinook tandem-rotor helicopters.