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.
EASA has certified a redesigned vertical bevel gear shaft for the Airbus Helicopters EC225, which was grounded for nine months in 2012 and 2013 after a series of in-flight failures. Manufacture of the redesigned gear shaft is under way for production aircraft and retrofits, with first installations (for both applications) planned for this year’s second half.
The new design provides corrosion resistance, compensates for residual stress and eliminates stress hot spots, eliminating all three factors that, combined, caused two unexpected vertical shaft failures.
Airbus has suggested civilian operation of the A400M airlifter for disaster relief flights. At a media briefing during the ILA Berlin airshow last week, Norbert Kolvenbach, vice president for public affairs Germany, noted that the aircraft is already certified by EASA. He floated the idea of a “supranational” operator, such as the United Nations. “The A400M could be interesting,” said Birgitte Stalder-Olsen, head of logistics for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), at the same briefing.
The organizers of this week’s ILA Berlin airshow claimed 1,200 exhibitors from 40 countries, and were expecting 200, 000 visitors, including public spectators on the last three days. The show had plenty to offer in the fields of civil aerospace, space and environmental solutions. However, defense exhibitors and attendees at ILA Berlin are mostly focused on German requirements. The problem is, the Germans are not buying anything.