Provincial parliament committee hearings into Ontario’s air ambulance service, Ornge, will continue into the summer, thanks to a last-minute deal struck among Canada’s three major political parties. Progressive Conservatives had accused Ontario’s Liberal-led government of trying to stymie the ongoing probe into Ornge by the Select Committee on Public Accounts and threatened to retaliate by blocking Ornge’s $150 million annual government funding.
The FAA has approved the Sikorsky S-92 for sea state 6 (SS6) conditions, meaning up to 20-foot waves. Thanks to additional sponson floats, the S-92’s emergency flotation system becomes the first one to be FAA certified for SS6, according to Sikorsky.
“This system was designed by the S-92 landing-gear design group, with close coordination with electrical and airframe design and structural analysis,” said Ben Del Monte, chief of propulsion/landing gear/mission systems.
Simplex received FAA STC approval for an enhanced belly-mounted Fire Attack system for the AgustaWestland AW139. The new system, which increases capacity by 20 percent to nearly 500 gallons and is certified for higher speeds, is the result of a partnership with AgustaWestland to take advantage of the AW139’s speed and increased payload capacity. The aerial firefighting system also uses the helicopter’s multifunction displays and cameras on the tank to allow the pilot to see the hover pump and door operation without the use of mirrors.
Simplex has received FAA STC approval for its Fire Attack system on the AgustaWestland AW139 to take advantage of the AW139’s increased mtow and flight speed. With hover pump installed, the new system is certified to fly at 140 kias. Without the hover pump deployed, the system is certified to fly at 150 kias.
AgustaWestland’s Grand New helicopter has received European certification for conducting area navigation (Rnav), global satellite navigation (GNSS) and vertical approach guidance (SBAS/LPV) approaches. The AW109 family member is the first helicopter to receive these approvals from the European Aviation Safety Agency.
The European Commission (EC) is allowing France and Italy to grant aid for the development of two medium-twin helicopters in the 10,000-pound class–the Eurocopter X4 and the AgustaWestland AW169.
Eurocopter will receive €143 million ($186 million) as a repayable advance. It will be repaid in full when an unspecified “pre-defined sales target” is reached. Each additional delivery beyond this target will trigger the payment of a royalty fee to the French state.
The U.S. Navy’s latest attempt to replace the aging Presidential helicopter fleet has been delayed. The Pentagon rejected an analysis of alternatives (AoA) for the VXX program because no “cost-effective” solution was identified, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
A helicopter operating in the South China Sea suffers a lightning strike that forces it to take refuge on an oil platform, blocking its only landing pad from other movements. Within seconds of the engines shutting down, staff at AgustaWestland’s logistics center at Lonate Pozzolo near Milan are aware of the problem and a response plan is swinging into action that will see technicians assessing the extent of the damage and dispatching a replacement rotor within a few hours so that the aircraft can return to base to complete repairs without further disrupting operations.
AgustaWestland and Honeywell have introduced a new “Phase 7” version of the Primus Epic avionics suite for the AW139 rotorcraft. The upgrade, which will be available soon for new-build aircraft as well as for retrofit, marks a step-change in the manufacturer’s approach to developing the cockpits of its growing family of aircraft.
AgustaWestland has stepped up its product portfolio with the unveiling earlier this week of its New Generation Helicopter Family, consisting of the existing A109 Grand New and AW139 flagships and the in-development AW169 and AW189 models.
The strategy is clear. AgustaWestland wants to give operators options to build their fleet through the different weight classes it will soon cover.