Bristow Helicopters, the largest global helicopter provider, is set to become the U.S. launch customer for the not-yet-certified Eurocopter EC175. Representatives of the operator and manufacturer are expected to sign the purchase agreement at Eurocopter’s Heli-Expo booth (No. C2922) at 3 p.m. this afternoon, here in Las Vegas.
In just over a month, more than 20,000 rotorcraft enthusiasts will fill the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center for four days of networking, learning and, every business hopes, buying of services, parts, accessories and helicopters. While the exhibit halls open on a Tuesday this year (10:30 a.m. on March 5), early activities begin with professional education courses starting on February 28.
In Greek mythology, when Achilles was a baby, it was foretold that he would die young. To improve his chances of immortality, his mother, Thetis, took Achilles to the River Styx, which was supposed to offer powers of invulnerability, and dipped his body into the water. But Thetis held Achilles by the heel… The rest of the myth is well known. If the mother of the helicopter concept ever dipped it into the River Styx, she probably held it by the main gearbox.
Eurocopter has postponed its expectation for certification of the EC175 medium twin to this summer, citing longer-than-expected development of the Helionix avionics system. Deliveries will start in September instead of “late in 2012,” as initially planned.
Honeywell Aerospace and China’s Avicopter signed a “strategic cooperation framework agreement” to consider equipping the latter company’s helicopters with Honeywell engines and avionics. Rishi Singh, Honeywell’s business and general aviation leader in the Asia-Pacific region, told AIN that his company is slated to provide avionics and engines for Avicopter’s proposed “next-generation single/twin,” which has yet to be given the green light to proceed.
Lease Corporation International (LCI) has assigned several of the new-generation AgustaWestland helicopters that it ordered in February this year and expects initial deliveries to begin early next year. The company, which already has a diverse airliner leasing portofolio, is planning to place fresh orders with other rotorcraft manufacturers, according to CEO Mike Platt.
The Eurocopter EC225 medium twin now has a traffic collision avoidance system (Tcas) II integrated into its autopilot, eliminating the need for pilot input in emergency avoidance maneuvers. The first such standard-equipped EC225 was delivered earlier this year. Offshore operator Bristow previously STC’d a Tcas II installation on the AS332 Super Puma; Eurocopter claims to go one step further, with more integration.
AgustaWestland has clearly looked to the example set by leading airliner-makers Airbus and Boeing when it comes to instilling its so-called New Generation Helicopter Family with a strong sense of both commonality and flexibility in terms of applications.
The Eurocopter EC175 is making progress toward certification. Transport Canada has certified Pratt & Whitney Canada’s 1,775-shp PT6C-67E turboshaft. Meanwhile, the airframer has revealed the precise mtow for the helicopter: 16,535 pounds, for a useful load of 7,271 pounds. The radius of action, for two pilots and up to 16 passengers, is given as 135 nm (oil and gas configuration, JAR OPS 3, fuel reserves 30 minutes plus 10-percent contingency fuel, ISA conditions).
The Eurocopter EC175 medium twin helicopter is making progress toward certification, with its engine type now approved and more performance numbers released.
Transport Canada has just certified Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6C-67E turboshaft, the engine manufacturer announced this week. “We can now transition from development to production as we prepare for the first delivery of the EC175,” marketing v-p Richard Dussault said. The 1,775-shp PT6C variant features a dual-channel Fadec.