Sagem Avionics, part of the Safran group, is at Booth No. 7517 celebrating Slave Lake Helicopters’ selection of Sagem’s Integrated Cockpit Display System (ICDS) for its new Eurocopter AS350 B3e. That machine joins three others in the Slave Lake fleet, an AS350 B2, an EC120 and a Bell 206 B3, all with the Sagem ICDS.
Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling, who two years ago was hoping to see a diesel-powered EC120 flying in 2011, in January said this may take place “in a few years.” He cited a need for more progress in reliability. He said power and weight were relatively easier challenges. AIN earlier learned that Eurocopter had difficulties finding the right partner in diesel development.
Two years ago Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling said he hoped to see a diesel-powered EC120 flying in 2011, but this past January he conceded that that milestone event might still be “a few years” in the future. While the company has made progress toward the necessary power and weight reductions, he cited a need for more progress in reliability.
British Columbia-based Associated Aviation has acquired Timber Wolf Aviation of Ottawa, Canada. Timber Wolf, an MRO specializing in helicopter maintenance, holds approvals for Eurocopter’s AS350 and EC120. “The company is well positioned to support our European and South American markets,” Rod Youngberg, Associated Aviation’s president, told AIN.
Heliportugal and Groupe SAF, two Portuguese and French operators that quietly merged in 2008, are announcing a common name and expansion plans. Now called United Helicopter Services (UHS), the company operates 63 aircraft, including 59 helicopters, and has a 300-strong workforce, of which 100 are pilots. Annual revenues are said to be close to €70 million ($98 million) and flight hours are about 30,000 annually.
Blue is the new green. Prompted by environmental concerns–regulatory and otherwise– Eurocopter took advantage of the Heli-Expo platform to formally launch its Bluecoptor program.
Bluecopter first emerged from a demonstrator EC120 modified to use a “high compression” diesel engine instead of the usual 504-shp Turbomeca Arrius turboshaft engine. The helicopter OEM is expecting a 40-percent reduction in fuel consumption.
HeliValues (Booth No. 3401) president Sharon Desfor said on Sunday here at Heli-Expo 2010 that values of used helicopters may be nearing the bottom. “It could be the middle of this year,” she said, “depending on how much credit loosens up. That has been holding back the market more than any other single factor. If you can’t get money, you can’t buy anything, so the used inventory keeps escalating.”
The European helicopter industry has until February 23 to answer a call for proposals under the Clean Sky joint technology initiative, a public-private partnership aimed at making aviation greener. The initiative comprises six integrated technology demonstrators, one of them called Green Rotorcraft. Targets include reductions in noise, carbon dioxide (CO2) and pollutant emissions.
There are surprisingly active developments in the single-engine helicopter field, with new rotorcraft on the way such as the turbine-powered Robinson R66 and Sikorsky S-434. Kit manufacturer RotorWay is even coming to market with a planned certified turbine helicopter, the 300T Eagle, announced at last year’s EAA AirVenture show. The Russian Helicopters Mi-34S2 Sapsan will also offer turbine power.
Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Westcor Aviation has been certified a Turbomeca-approved maintenance center.
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