That new aircraft are often derived from earlier models is no surprise, but hybrids of two separate bloodlines are rare. The Eurocopter EC 145 medium twin, derived from the venerable BK 117 and the much newer EC 135, is one such hybrid. But unlike many mergers, particularly in the corporate world, this one actually works.
I have to admit that the Robinson revolution passed me by. I graduated from flight school in the U.S. Army in 1978, the year before the first R22 was certified. After seven years in the army, my civilian career path led directly to multi-engine turbine helicopters, a world apart from single-engine pistons.
Bell 407, Kalispell, Mont., Nov. 2, 2006–The Bell 407 lost power soon after departing from the Kalispell Regional Medical Center on an EMS flight at night in VMC. The commercial pilot and two medical crewmembers were not injured but the helicopter’s tailboom was substantially damaged during the forced landing.
An EC 130 operated by New York City’s Liberty Helicopters made a forced landing into the Hudson River last month during an otherwise routine sightseeing flight. According to the NTSB’s preliminary report, the pilot, who was flying at between 300 and 400 feet, reported hearing a loud bang, saw debris fly by her windshield and then lost all yaw control.
Bell 206L-1 LongRanger, Peach Springs, Ariz., May 2, 2005–The NTSB was unable to determine the reason for the loss of power that caused the LongRanger to crash during a long-line sling load operation. The helicopter was carrying fuel cans in a net from a landing strip on the rim of the Grand Canyon to the canyon floor to refuel tour boats on the Colorado River.
EUROCOPTER EC 120B, JONESBORO, GA., JAN. 24, 2004–At 4:50 p.m. Eurocopter N125MG hit the ground during a practice autorotation at the Hampton/Clayton County/Tara Airport (4A7) near Jonesboro. The VFR instructional flight was operated under Part 91 and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.
fter flying the Bell/Agusta AB139, it is easy to see why Amedeo Caporaletti, president of Agusta and CEO of AgustaWestland, believes that this helicopter sets new standards for medium twins. The 13,227-pound-mtow AB139 meets the stringent standards imposed by both the European JARs and FAR Part 29, including all amendments.
Atlantis Systems International (ASI) of Ottawa, Ontario, has developed what it calls a helicopter vocational trainer for autorotation (HVT) and is demonstrating its finesse in Heli-Expo Booth No. 4401. Ian McIntyre, v-p of marketing and sales for ASI, said the HVT provides a small-footprint, completely immersive environment to train pilots in difficult maneuvers or to simulate the most dangerous landing sites.
Poor execution of autorotation landings, onto rough or too-soft terrain and into objects, accounted for a disproportionate number of injuries and deaths in helicopter accidents last year, according to safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. Powerplant, accessory, tail rotor shaft, bearing and gearbox malfunction led to a major portion of those accidents, according to a Breiling report.
Bell 206B JetRanger, Gentry, Ark., Feb. 21, 2005–An Air Evac Lifeteam JetRanger crashed shortly after takeoff while transporting a patient to a hospital in Springdale, Ark. The helicopter was substantially damaged, the patient was killed and the three crewmembers were seriously injured. The sky was clear and visibility was 10 miles.