A pair of California Highway Patrol helicopter pilots saved the life of a hiker who was being stalked by a mountain lion just before sunset in the hills about 50 miles northeast of Sacramento. The hiker called for help after trying to scare the cat away by throwing rocks and shouting at the big animal. When the CHP arrived they found the cat standing face-to-face about 20 feet away from the hiker. The pilots flew low over the cat and scared it off, allowing for the hiker’s rescue.
The Canadian government is adopting new rules for offshore helicopter operations in the wake of the March 2009 fatal Cougar Helicopters crash near St. John’s, Newfoundland that killed 17. The proposed rule changes include mandating flotation devices and emergency breathing apparatus for all aboard and that crewmembers wear specialized survival suits when flying over cold water. Operations would be prohibited when sea state conditions exceeded safe ditching levels.
Aerovironment revealed that 19 countries have now bought “thousands” of Puma, Raven and Wasp hand-launched UAVs. At the Satory arms fair in Paris, the company announced new orders from Sweden for the Puma and Wasp, and from Denmark for the Puma. Denmark acquired the Raven in 2007.
With the procurement of the RQ-20A Puma AE for the first time, the U.S. Marine Corps has adopted four different small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufactured by AeroVironment, of Monrovia, Calif. The service placed a $5.5 million order for Puma systems under an existing Army contract, with delivery planned in two weeks, AeroVironment reported.
Sikorsky has settled a $20 million lawsuit brought by Cougar Helicopters and its insurers following the fatal crash of an S-92A off St. John’s, Canada, in March 2009. The helicopter crashed 11 minutes after losing main gearbox oil pressure. Cougar is still suing Transport Canada for improperly certifying the S-92A.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board has completed its draft report of the March 2009 fatal crash of a Cougar Helicopters Sikorsky S-92A off Newfoundland that killed 17. The final report likely will be released next year.
Eurocopter AS 332-L2 Super Puma, off Crimond, Scotland, April 1, 2009–A Bond Offshore Super Puma crashed in the North Sea while transporting offshore oil workers. The helicopter went down 35 miles east of Crimond, killing all 16 people on board. The pilot radioed a Mayday before the crash. The accident followed the nonfatal ditching of a Bond Offshore EC 225 Super Puma in the North Sea on February 18.
Marking the company’s third consecutive Sikorsky S-92 purchase in five months, VIH Aviation Group, based in Victoria, British Columbia, yesterday signed for the sixth S-92 the company will place in the fleet of its subsidiary, Cougar Helicopters. Shown here following the signing at Heli-Expo are company executives (from left) Didier Moinier, international manager; Ken Norie, president; and Charles Hodgins, CFO.
With 75,000 dead confirmed so far, relief efforts following October’s earthquake in Pakistan are moving into a new and more hazardous phase. Thierry Lakahinsky of Belgium’s Skytech said that with winter setting in, the death toll will probably rise. “Everybody is anxious to see how the flying conditions will be affected by the incoming weather.”