A cornucopia of copters and rotorcraft-related gizmos, conference sessions and conversations awaits attendees at the Helicopter Association International’s annual Heli-Expo, to be held in Dallas February 11 to 14. This year, HAI is expecting more than 18,000 visitors, 65 helicopters and 600 exhibitors at the Dallas Convention Center.
Sikorsky is developing a next-generation main gearbox (MGB) with enhanced lubrication capabilities with built-in redundancy systems such as chip detectors and oil scavenge systems, according to Spencer Elani, Sikorsky’s S-92 program manager. “We are continuing to make a lot of improvements to the current gearbox, and to automate some of the features,” Elani said.
Eurocopter is upgrading most of its product range, with the goal of providing improved performance and reduced costs. The manufacturer is reporting progress on the developments of the AS350B3e Ecureuil (AStar), EC135T2e/P2e, EC145T2, AS365N3e and Super Puma L1e/C1e. All were announced at Heli-Expo 2011 in February.
Heli-Union, an offshore oil and gas operator based in Toussus-le-Noble, near Paris, celebrated its 50th anniversary and simultaneously inked a firm order for four Eurocopter EC175s. Deliveries are to start in 2013. Meanwhile, it took delivery of two Sikorsky S-76C++s.
Eurocopter released details late in April about the development of the seven-metric-ton-class EC175 twin, confirming plans for type certification this year but clarifying that a complementary certification for the offshore oil-and-gas configuration is expected by the middle of next year. This configuration has features such as emergency flotation gear, life rafts, radio navigation system and dual FMS, Tcas II and air conditioning.
Eurocopter confirmed that it plans to gain type certification for the EC175 medium twin this year while clarifying that it expects complementary certification for the offshore-oil configuration by the middle of next year. This configuration is that of the second prototype, which has been flying since December.
Russian helicopter operator UTair signed an agreement to purchase 15 Eurocopter EC175 medium utility rotorcraft at Heli-Expo yesterday, three years after signing a letter of intent at Heli-Expo 2008 when the aircraft was first introduced. Deliveries of the 16-passgenger EC175 to UTair will commence in 2013 and the order will be completed in 2014.
Russia “hearts” helicopters. That was the message from the Moscow-based Helicopter Industry Association of Russia (HIAR) at its press conference at Heli-Expo 2011 yesterday.
Four of Russia’s leading helicopter operators: UTair, Vertical-T, Pahn Helicopters and Aviashelf provided proof with a snapshot of their operations, opportunities and challenges.
Pratt & Whitney Canada landed at Heli-Expo 2011 (Booth No. 421) with two new engines to display and $1 billion in research and development funds available to invest over the next five years.
“We plan to stay number one,” said Raffaele Virgili, v-p of customer service, “and to do that, we need to invest in the future.”
Engine manufacturer Turbomeca is working 50-50 with Avic Engine, its Chinese counterpart, on the WZ16 turboshaft that will power the Avicopter AC352 medium twin, formerly known as the Z-15 (developed jointly with Eurocopter). Avic Engine is in charge of the compressor and accessory gearbox. The France-based company is responsible for the combustor, turbines and control system.