Certification in hand, Airbus Helicopters is endeavoring to ensure a faultless entry into service of the EC175 medium twin, a critical product for the company in the highly competitive offshore oil-and-gas market. The first delivery, to Belgium-based operator NHV, is slated for the second half of this year, almost five years after the type first flew.
Airbus has finished assembling the first A320neo, the company announced Tuesday. The airplane, MSN6101, rolled out of its paint hangar in Toulouse, France, after receiving its Airbus house livery and installation of its Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM engines. The company started final assembly of the first A320neo in mid-March, with the attachment of the forward and aft fuselage sections, made in Airbus facilities in St. Nazaire, France and Hamburg, Germany, respectively.
Despite recently acquiring the GA-ASI Reaper UAS from the U.S., the French air force has extended the service of its predecessor UAS, the Harfang, until at least the end of 2017. The Harfang UAS consists of IAI Heron 1 UAVs that are equipped with a communications and control system designed by Airbus Defence & Space (previously EADS Cassidian) in France. The French defense procurement agency, DGA, has recently signed contracts with main contractor Airbus D&S, and with IAI, for the upgrade and continued maintenance of the Harfang system.
Airbus Helicopters’ retired X3 compound helicopter demonstrator entered the Air and Space museum at Paris Le Bourget Airport today. The airframe had reached its life limit, as it was previously a prototype AS365 Dauphin used for high-speed evaluations before it was fitted with two side-mounted propellers and a modified tail in 2010 to become the X3. The X3 set an unofficial speed record of 255 knots a year ago, but no follow-on program has since been announced by Airbus Helicopters.
The first EC725 to be fully assembled in Brazil was handed over to the Brazilian navy on June 17, Airbus Helicopters said. The previous 11 EC725s received by the Brazilian armed forces were only partially assembled in Brazil, or supplied direct from Airbus Helicopters’ production line in France.
Airbus Defence and Space has teamed with Textron to offer the Shadow M2 tactical UAV for a French army requirement that is expected to be launched in the coming weeks. France has been deliberating over a UAV for the army for some time, and has tested the Thales Watchkeeper extensively. Meanwhile, Sagem has offered the Patroller UAV. However, the ministry of defense has indicated it will shortly issue an open tender. Under the teaming agreement, Airbus D&S will install French mission equipment in the Shadow.
Retired Brazilian soccer star Fernandao Lúcio da Costa and four others died June 7 in central Brazil in the nighttime crash of a Helibras HB350BA Esquilo helicopter. The privately owned helicopter took off in calm, clear skies at 1:25 a.m. from a river beach in Araunã, 220 miles from the state capital Goiânia, and traveled less than 1,000 feet before crashing with sufficient force to separate the cabin and tail. On June 13, a Cessna CitationJet carrying mourners to a funeral mass for Fernandao crashed at Araunã, but everyone on board survived.
On June 6 Airbus Defence and Space’s Military Aircraft division handed over the first of three C295 medium transport aircraft to the Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana. The aircraft have been ordered for a range of military and humanitarian transport missions, and will be particularly useful in supporting populations in remote and mountainous regions of the country. All three C295s are to be delivered before the end of the year, and their arrival will allow the last elderly Avro 748s to be retired.
Landmark Aviation named Ted Hamilton COO, Patrick McGuiness executive v-p and CFO, Charlotte Cheatham senior v-p of marketing and customer service, Robert Hiegel senior v-p and chief accounting officer and Matt DeLellis senior v-p of strategy and corporate development.
Sales of single-aisle airplanes completely filled the May order books for both Airbus and Boeing this year, increasing narrowbody backlogs for both companies despite feverish production activity. The European airframer added 70 aircraft to its order book in May through transactions with both airline customers and leasing companies for its A320 product line, while U.S. manufacturer drew orders for ninety-nine 737s, primarily from unidentified customers.