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.
North Flight Data Systems (Booth No. 7841) has announced it will integrate and certify its lightweight aircraft recording system (Lars) in the Bell 407. In cooperation with helicopter services giant PHI and Rolls-Royce, North Flight will be integrating its voice, video and flight-data recording systems into a Bell 407 airframe.
The Bell 407GX earned EASA certification yesterday, following similar approvals by Transport Canada and the FAA earlier this year.
The largest privately held offshore oil and gas helicopter operator in the Gulf of Mexico announced a sweeping restructuring last month that includes refinancing, rebranding and the appointment of a new CEO. Rotorcraft Leasing will now be known as RLC. The company announced that it has secured a “strategic investment” of an undisclosed amount from Sankaty Advisors.
At this year’s Heli-Expo, Bell CEO John Garrison was adamant that the company could afford a new civil helicopter program. “Capital-wise we have the ability to invest in new platform development. That is not a constraint. We just have to pick and choose,” Garrison said, declining to identify the market sectors Bell was considering. “The business has the ability to fund it.”
Bell Helicopter unveiled two new versions of its 407 single here at Heli-Expo yesterday. The 407GX features a Garmin G1000H glass cockpit, while the 407AH is a $5 million commercially available armed helicopter developed primarily for the export market. It will be available to qualified customers directly from Bell, as opposed to via contracts from the U.S. Defense or State Department.
Honeywell is here at Heli-Expo Booth No. 3021 highlighting engine upgrades for the Eurocopter BK117 and the Bell 407. It has partnered with Airwork New Zealand (ANZ) to offer the LTS101-850B-2 engine to upgrade the BK117-B2 light twin to a BK117-850D2. ANZ received an STC from New Zealand’s civil aviation authorities last May. At last count, Honeywell had shipped 12 engines for six aircraft.
It’s Heli-Expo, and that means it’s also Honeywell forecast time. The 13th edition of the diversified aerospace manufacturer’s best estimate on what the rotorcraft industry can expect in the next five years predicts that global deliveries of new civilian-use turbine-powered helicopters will lie somewhere between 4,200 and 4,400 through 2015, and that represents a 5-percent gain over the delivery tally from 2006 to 2010.