The FAA has issued a final rule to adopt a new Airworthiness Directive (AD) for the sliding doors on the Eurocopter AS350B, AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350C, AS350D, AS350D1, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N and AS355NP. The AD does not apply to aircraft that have modification AL 4262. The AD, which requires removing specified nuts and washers from the lower ball-joint bolt, was prompted by a report of a sliding door detaching from the helicopter in flight.
Bell Helicopter is developing a new “short, light single” (SLS) that will be powered by a Turbomeca Arrius 2R turboshaft engine, John Garrison, president and CEO, announced yesterday morning at the Paris Air Show. The “clean sheet” aircraft, which Garrison expects will fly next year, will be the first Bell helicopter to be powered by a Turbomeca engine. Certification of the new helicopter will take place “as quickly as possible” after the first flight.
Early in December, Eurocopter and the EASA published an additional emergency service bulletin and accompanying emergency AD. All AS350/AS355 Ecureuil (AStar and TwinStar) models are affected. Although no evidence of laminated half-bearing deterioration has been found on pre-B3e models, inspections are mandated. However, as the inspection interval is 10 hours, the AD will probably cause less inconvenience than those affecting the B3e.
Russian operator UTAir has secured a seven-year loan from British bank HSBC, on a security of French insurance agency Coface. It has thus become “the first Russian airline receiving insurance wrap from an international export agency for purchasing helicopters,” claims UTAir. The contract is for 19 Eurocopter AS350/AS355 Ecureuil/AStar singles.
RTE (Réseau de Transport d’Electricité), the company managing France’s network of electric power lines, took delivery of its second medium twin, a Eurocopter EC225, last month. It recently created a new subsidiary, Airtelis, that offers specialized aerial-work operations to third parties. In more than 250,000 flight hours over decades of operations, RTE claims to have developed patented techniques to use helicopters in power-line building, maintenance and surveillance.
Simplex Aerospace (Booth No. 6917) received an FAA supplemental type certificate for a powerline insulator and windmill cleaning system for the Eurocopter AS350 and AS355s. Simplex’s Aerial Cleaning system includes a 180-gallon water tank, a nozzled boom that extends past the rotor tips and a power-assisted operator control. “This new system will allow operators to accomplish the powerline and windmill cleaning mission with enhanced productivity and safety,” said Simplex president and CEO Mark Zimmerman.
Seeing a need for on-demand business transportation in two specific locations, data-storage entrepreneur and pilot Moshe Yanai is now in operation with his Boston Executive Helicopters in Norwood, Mass., and Tel Aviv Executive Helicopters in Israel.
The FAA has issued a Final Rule amendment superseding an existing airworthiness directive for specified Eurocopter AS350s and AS355s with certain tail-rotor pitch-control rods installed.
A new entrant to the infrared enhanced-vision system (EVS) market, Lexavia, is about to receive FAA certification of its first camera/display installation, on a Eurocopter AS355 TwinStar law-enforcement helicopter. Chuck Crompton, business development director for the Pensacola, Fla.-based integrated systems house, said the STC will soon be followed by several others.
Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services-North America (Booth No. 2137), a subsidiary of Vector Aerospace, came into Heli-Expo 2011 on the heels of “another banner year.” The Canadian MRO specialist saw the 2010 opening of new facilities in Huntsville, Ala.; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Lanseria, South Africa.
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