The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is generally seen as the next big market for the helicopter industry–OEMs, operators, training schools and maintenance operations alike. But can we expect the skies over China to be black with whirling blades any time soon?
Instrument-rated helicopter pilots are an expensive resource, particularly in the UK. Making the jump to a helicopter instrument rating (IR) has always demanded a significant investment in instructor and aircraft time, primarily because a lack of suitable simulators meant the vast proportion of the training–in the UK at least– could only be carried out aloft.
Bell 412 EP, Eket, Nigeria, Aug. 3, 2007–The pilot of the Bristow Helicopters Bell 412 was killed when the helicopter crashed while maneuvering over Qua Ibom Terminal Airfield in Nigeria. Witnesses reported that the helicopter did a series of “torque turns” over opposite ends of the airfield before going down in a nose-down attitude.
The Alerts (aircraft logging and event recording for training and safety) system, designed jointly by Appareo Systems and Bristow Group subsidiary Air Logistics, is now STC certified. Alerts, which is currently certified only for the Bell 206 and 407, consists of a lightweight inertial sensor suite and a recorder capable of storing more than 100 hours of flight data. It also includes a 3-D graphic flight replay software system.
The first production Eurocopter EC 225 medium twin made its maiden flight in late June. Eurocopter said the “flawless” event lasted just over two hours. The EC 225 is powered by two Turbomeca Makila 2A modular turboshafts, an engine that has just been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Each of the powerplants generates 2,413 shp in contingency mode–14 percent more than the previous model.
Houston-based Bristow has exercised options to acquire four more Sikorsky S-92s. As part of the agreement, an earlier order for nine S-76s has been converted to options on the smaller rotorcraft. In addition, Bristow has taken options on 10 more S-92s, bringing the total number of options for this model to 14. –Thierry Dubois
The prodigal sons of the North Sea oil-support community, brothers Stephen and Peter Bond, have returned to the fray more than eight weeks early. The first operational flights by Bond Offshore Helicopters (BOH) took off last month. Managing director Geoff Williams said there are several reasons behind the move, but it was always their intention to start flying in advance of the contracted date of August 1.
Bristow Helicopters has ordered two Eurocopter EC 225s, with a scheduled service entry of spring next year. The order for this latest addition to the Super Puma family is valued at approximately E32 million ($40.3 million), and Bristow has options on an additional two aircraft.
Bristow Group president and CEO Bill Chiles announced that his company will buy helicopter flight training outfit Helicopter Adventures for $15 million plus debt (approximately $5 million) on April 1. After completing the purchase, Helicopter Adventures will be renamed Bristow Academy.
After a year in which only 29 EC 225 Super Pumas were sold, industry leader Eurocopter announced yesterday two separate deals for the helicopter, totaling 19 aircraft in all with an option for an additional eight. CHC Helicopter Corp. of Vancouver, British Columbia, ordered 16, while the Bristow Group of Houston bought three and took options for eight more.