Although already deployed on operations to meet urgent needs, the Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned surveillance helicopter has reliability and sustainability problems that have delayed its regular fielding. An updated selected acquisition report (SAR) obtained by InsideDefense.com reveals that both the initial operational capability and the full-rate production decision have been delayed by about two years until May or June 2014.
Bell Helicopter has announced a substantial investment in its support of operations in China. The OEM has signed a memorandum of understanding to assist with the establishment of a maintenance training facility in Guangdong Province. The MOU with Guangzhou Civil Aviation College focuses on training for the Bell 206L and Bell 407 and includes access to training-course materials, electronic training systems and continued support throughout training.
Bell Helicopter announced purchase agreements for 15 new helicopters at the recently concluded Airshow China 2012 in Zhuhai. The agreements cover two Bell 429s, 11 Bell 407GXs and two Bell 206L4s. Also at the show, Bell announced the signing of a MoU with Guangzhou Civil Aviation College to assist with the establishment of a maintenance training facility for the Bell 206L and Bell 407. In addition, it appointed Shanghai Kingwing General Aviation Co. and H&P General Aviation Service Co. as authorized customer service facilities.
Bell Helicopters signed several agreements and appointed a new managing director in China, Chris Jaran, during Airshow China 2012, which is being held this week in Zhuhai.
The company inked an agreement to engage H&P General Aviation Service Co. (H&P) in Guangzhou, China, to be a Bell Helicopter-authorized customer service facility (CSF). The agreement, celebrated during the airshow, allows H&P to perform field maintenance on Bell 407 helicopters.
Bell Helicopter has delivered two Bell 407GXs, the first of that model operated in a sightseeing capacity, to Helicopter Flight Services, a New York-based operator. Helicopter Flight Services flies a fleet of five Bell 407s and the two new 407GXs, offering tours, charters, aerial photography, lift work and custom projects.
Bell Helicopter signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) this week to open an authorized flight training school in China. The Fort Worth, Texas-based helicopter manufacturer will partner with Guanchen Aviation, which already manages an established Civil Aviation Administration of China-approved flight training school in Anyang, China.
Bell Helicopters (Stand 7091) has delivered six of its newest aircraft–Bell 407GX and Bell 429–in Europe and Ukraine, it announced at EBACE. “The Bell 407GX is attracting interest from corporate, private and utility operators due to its speed, range and state-of-the-art Garmin G100H flight deck, which maximizes pilot situational awareness,” said Danny Maldonado, executive vice president of commercial sales and marketing.
Eagle Copters of Calgary, Alberta (Booth No. 3717) said development and testing of its Bell 407 HP engine-conversion program was proceeding and that the company expected Transport Canada and FAA approval next year. Mike Mallon, Eagle Copters director of maintenance, said the company had yet to set a price for the conversion, but was striving to keep costs down by using as many original 407 components as possible, including cowling inlets and drive shafts.
Bell Helicopter formally launched the 525 “Relentless” super-medium twin, the largest civil helicopter in the company’s history, this morning at Heli-Expo. “Today, we celebrate with our customers–not only the launch of this new product–but the result of our collective efforts to define a new class of helicopter that raises the bar on innovation in the industry,” said Bell president and CEO John Garrison. Bell’s 525 is an 18,000-pound “plus” ship aimed squarely at the offshore market with a range of more than 400 nm, a speed near 150 knots and a ceiling of 20,000 feet.
Honeywell’s 14th annual Turbine-Powered Civilian Helicopter Purchase Outlook report was released today and there was little in it that encourages breaking out the champagne or ordering a new Bentley. In short, it was a mixed review: in general, not so good in the short term, not so bad in the long.
While recent order rates have been healthy and near-term purchase plans remain strong, lingering tight credit conditions and significant inventories of used production models for sale continue to cast a pall on the industry.