Under pressure from its competitors, Eurocopter–still the number-one manufacturer in the civil helicopter market–is working hard to cope with a rapid production ramp-up of its own helicopters at a time when rivals are introducing a dizzying array of new models.
Keystone Helicopter, a subsidiary of Sikorsky Aircraft, signed an agreement to provide maintenance and completion services to Seacor’s aviation division, which includes Era Helicopters, Era Leasing and EraMed. The Seacor fleet includes AgustaWestland A109s, A119s and AW139s; Eurocopter EC 135s, EC 145s and AS 350s; and the Sikorsky S-76++.
Senior Táxi Aéreo of Brazil plans to begin operating three AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters in an off-shore transport role beginning in May. It will mark the entrance of the medium-twin, with a passenger capacity of 15, in support of the Brazilian offshore oil and gas market. Senior Táxi Aéreo, based in Rio de Janeiro, operates a fleet of medium-size helicopters and is one of the leading operators in the Brazilian off-shore transport market.
A CMC Electronics SureSight M-Series infrared enhanced-vision system (EVS) sensor has been installed on an AgustaWestland AW139 for a corporate customer by Edwards & Associates, a subsidiary of Bell Helicopter. The avionics installation specialist expects to receive the FAA STC for the installation soon.
AgustaWestland flexed its market muscle yesterday, announcing orders for 46 helicopters and emphasizing that the commercial helicopters division of parent company Finnmecanica is now a separate business unit reporting directly to AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi.
Eurocopter and its Chinese partner Harbin Aircraft are designing a new medium twin helicopter, dubbed the EC 175, to fill the gap between the EC 155 Dauphin and the EC 225 Super Puma. They are to unveil details of the EC 175 design at the Paris Air Show in June. Nevertheless, Eurocopter (Booth No.
Revered as one of the most venerable and versatile helicopters in the history of vertical flight, the Sikorsky S-61 has served for nearly a half century around the globe in a variety of roles, from VIP transport to heavy lifter. Coulson Group CEO Wayne Coulson sees no reason the iconic machine should enter retirement anytime soon.
Based in British Columbia, Coulson owns and operates one of the world’s largest civilian S-61 fleets.
Pratt & Whitney Canada has won the contract to power Eurocopter’s EC 175, a new 6.7-metric-ton helicopter that will fill the gap between the EC 155 Dauphin and EC 255 Super Puma. The PT6C-67E turbine engine selected for the helicopter will be the first dual-channel Fadec-controlled PT6 from Pratt & Whitney Canada, noted company president Alain Bellemare.
Bell/Agusta AB139s seem to be headed far and wide at the moment. Deliveries of the new medium twin to the Namibian government and, most recently, to philanthropist the Aga Khan (see sidebar) are recent milestones, as the companies announce orders from Canada, New Zealand and the U.S. (The U.S. Coast Guard’s Deepwater order for up to 35 aircraft was a particular coup.) At press time, Bell/Agusta reported orders for more than 80 aircraft.
Following the first Bell/Agusta AB139 delivery to Helilario, production is now ramping up to meet deliveries to international customers later this year. The company said it already has a “sizable” order book for the helicopter, corresponding to two years of production. Preparation of AB139 customer-support and training activities is on target to meet introduction-into-service dates.