Bell Helicopter signed a memorandum of understanding with Van Horn Aviation to develop a composite tail rotor blade for the Bell 212 and Bell 412. Under the agreement, Van Horn will design, certify and manufacture the rotor blades, with Bell Helicopter Engineering participating in the design and certification processes. When certified, the blades will be distributed under Bell Helicopter’s Aeronautical Accessories brand.
The Japan Civil Aviation Bureau and EASA have approved applications of BLR Aerospace’s FastFin system. The Japanese agency approved installation of the FastFin on the Bell 412EP, and EASA on the Bell 205. The FastFin upgrade is also EASA approved on the Bell 212. An EASA certification program is under way for the Bell 412, according to BLR (Booth No. N3724).
Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA) is convinced that its decision to expand globally, driven partly by local competition in the offshore oil and gas industry, is proving correct. The company now has contracts in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Spain, Pakistan, Eritrea, Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Australia, India, Afghanistan and Indonesia, and more in the pipeline.
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.
The FAA issued an STC for installation of Sandel’s HeliTaws on the Bell 412EP.
Offshore oil and gas operator Bristow is divesting its holdings in Nigeria’s Pan African Airways (PAAN) to Nigerian ownership to comply with the country’s new Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry Content Development Act. PAAN’s helicopters, mostly Bell 412s, 407s and 206s, will now operate under separate livery and out of company and customer bases in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri and Escravos.
Bell Helicopter gave expectations a boost on the opening day of Heli-Expo 2011 by bagging 13 orders from five customers, followed by an additional 10 orders on day two of the show. “These orders signify the continuing involvement of the helicopter industry and the relevance of [Heli-Expo] as a venue to conduct commercial helicopter business,” said Larry Roberts, Bell senior v-p of commercial business.
“Bell Loves BLR” might sound like street graffiti, but it’s not far from the point.
The BLR FastFin is a major part of Bell’s recently announced enhancements for the 412EP medium-twin. FastFin will be standard on all new 412s and available via retrofit on existing aircraft. More than 600 already are in service on the UH-1, 205/206 and 212/412, according to Dave Marone, BLR vice president. Those aircraft have logged more than one million flight hours with the system.
Iran appears determined to not only maintain its enormous fleet of hundreds of Bell helicopters in the wake of the ongoing U.S. arms embargo against it, but also to make indigenous and unauthorized copies of them. In 2006, Bell filed suit against Iran for making unauthorized knock-offs of several models including 206s and 205s.
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