To some, helicopters are the essence of noise; to others they make the music of commerce. Regardless, helicopters are known to rumble and clatter and roar and whine, all the while thrashing the air about amid a whir and blur of rotor blades, making cabin noise a foregone conclusion, and normal conversation difficult at best. But that is about to change, according to Ed Bolden, president of Heritage Aviation.
Future transport aircraft will have to meet a revised reference stall speed. Effective with type certificate applications filed after December 26, the reference stall speed is redefined as a speed not less than the 1g stall speed instead of the minimum speed obtained in a stalling maneuver.
Carson Helicopters of Perkasie, Pa., has been granted FAA certification for new main rotor blades for the Sikorsky S-61. The design incorporates two airfoils and 12 degrees of twist, giving the venerable Sikorsky workhorse 2,000 pounds more lift in a hover and adding 15 knots to the cruise speed compared with the standard metal blades at the same power settings. Carson has signed a contract with NASA for exclusive use of the airfoils.
Rotorcraft design has reached a plateau and advancements are taking place in incremental steps rather than as major breakthroughs. That was the prevailing message of a day-long workshop about the past, present and future of rotorcraft held at the University of Maryland’s Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center.
Aerion now has commitments covering at least 20 of its proposed supersonic business jet (SSBJ) since it started signing letters of intent with prospective customers in November. The letters of intent come from 20 different clients in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America; operators committing to the program most recently include Pakistan-based executive charter firm Princely Jets and an undisclosed customer from India.
Even with a dedicated hangar at its Little Rock, Ark. completions facility, French aircraft manufacturer Dassault is not meeting scheduled delivery dates of its new 5,950-nm Falcon 7X trijet. “The ramp-up has been a little slower than expected,” Dassault Falcon president John Rosanvallon told AIN, because of higher-than-planned cabin customization requests that have placed more demand for new parts and engineering design work.
MITSUBISHI MU-2B-60, FERNDALE, MD., MAY 14, 2004–At 7:24 a.m., Mitsubishi MU-2B N755AF, operating as Epps Air Service Flight 101, was destroyed when it crashed in Ferndale while approaching Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI). The ATP pilot was killed. VMC prevailed for the flight, which had been operating on an IFR plan from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).
RAYTHEON BEECH 1900D, ALBANY, N.Y., OCT. 16, 2003–During the takeoff roll of a Beech 1900, operated by CommutAir as Continental Connection Flight 8718, the flight crew was unable to rotate the airplane and aborted the takeoff uneventfully. Examination revealed that when the elevator trim wheel in the cockpit was positioned to neutral, the elevator trim was actually in the full nose-down position.
LOCKHEED 1329-23E JETSTAR, HOUSTON, TEXAS, MAY 15, 2004–JetStar N57NR sustained minor damage when the left flap assembly detached while the airplane was on approach to Hobby Airport. The airplane was operated by Aircraft Trading Center of Tequesta, Fla. The two ATP pilots and two passengers were not injured.
Aerospace OEMs are increasingly turning to the Nadcap safety auditing program to verify the standards of manufacturing processes down the supply chain. Twenty-three major manufacturers, including leading business aviation players such as Cessna, Raytheon Aircraft, Airbus, Boeing, Honeywell, GE Aircraft Engines, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Sikorsky and Bell Helicopter, are now using the cooperative system.