Eurocopter is now anticipating that a solution to the main gearbox problem that has grounded the North Sea fleet of EC225s will be available in April. According to Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling, the solution will at least be a “safety barrier.”
Brazilian Air Force
Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has a corporate culture that emphasizes giving back, and some 1,600 graduates of its Colégio Embraer Juarez Wanderley, in São Jose dos Campos, are evidence that the industry–and the company–benefit from the effort. With that in mind, the company is opening its second school, in Botucatu.
With an eye to increased air traffic with soccer’s FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016, Brazil’s air navigation service provider DECEA (Departamento de Control do Espaço Aéreo) is upgrading its technology.
Offshore operator Bristow “entered into an agreement” yesterday to order 10 Sikorsky S-92 medium-twin helicopters and secured options for another 16. The move emerges as the operator is keeping 16 Eurocopter Super Pumas on the ground, following two controlled ditchings that affected the EC225 type in just six months. Both ditchings were caused by a failure of the main gearbox.
The busy North Sea oil and gas rig transportation sector lost nearly a third of its capacity on October 23, after CHC Helicopter suspended all flight operations using the Eurocopter EC 225. The ban, pending further investigation, came after a company Super Puma ditched in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland the day before. CHC competitors Bond and Bristow also grounded their Super Pumas after the incident.
The aircraft suffered a cracked gearbox shaft, according to the UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch.
The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) published a further “special bulletin” late last week in its investigation into the controlled ditching of a Bond-operated EC225 medium twin in May in the North Sea, confirming an earlier hint by Eurocopter that the emergency lubrication system gave the pilots a false failure warning.
For a journalist, the best part of attending the annual EAA AirVenture extravaganza in Oshkosh, Wis., is that often serendipity reigns, and the result is an entirely unexpected bonus, in this case the opportunity to fly Embraer’s EMB-314 Super Tucano light attack turboprop.
Embraer Defense and Security delivered the first of three EMB-145 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to the government of India on August 13. The aircraft, fitted with an Indian-developed airborne early warning radar, was delivered at Embraer’s headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil.
Embraer and Boeing signed an agreement here yesterday to collaborate on the integration of new weapons on the A-29 Super Tucano single-engine turboprop trainer.
Embraer will soon freeze the design of its first purpose-built military transport, the KC-390, for tactical missions. Although the first flight is planned for 2014, some details remain sketchy. But at least the program seems well funded, with the Brazilian government providing most of the $2.2 billion needed for development.