UK Royal Air Force (RAF) crews have begun training on the Eurocopter Puma Mk 2, although the two squadrons will not be cleared for service until 2015. Under a contract signed in 2009, Eurocopter is upgrading 24 of the 40-year-old helicopters with new engines, glass cockpits, digital autopilot and other improvements. Seven have been redelivered to date.
A new artist rendering of the in-development Eurocopter X4 medium-twin helicopter appeared today during a presentation made at the EASA Rotorcraft Symposium in Cologne, showing design changes made since 2011. A horizontal empennage with a two-level lifting surface is visible on the tailboom, forward of the shrouded tail rotor. The fuselage, aft of the cabin, includes a “skirt,” the role of which is still unknown.
Marenco Swisshelicopter unveiled the first prototype of its all-composite SKYe SH09 light single helicopter on Thursday at Mollis Airport in Switzerland. First flight is expected early next year and production should start in 2015, the company said.
Targeting the higher end of the light single segment, the SH09 features a carbon-fiber airframe, a five-blade main rotor to cut vibration and a 1,020-shp Honeywell HTS900-2 turboshaft. A compact instrument panel and extended transparencies afford the helicopter exceptional visibility for the crew and passengers, Marenco said.
A Eurocopter EC135T2i light twin helicopter, operated by Bond Air Services for Police Scotland, crashed into a busy pub in Glasgow on Friday night, killing nine and injuring more than 30. Among the nine fatalities are the helicopter’s three occupants–a Bond pilot and two police officers.
The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is investigating, along with Eurocopter engineers. Eurocopter asserted that since the four main rotor blades are still attached to the main rotor mast, a crack in the mast is unlikely to have caused the accident.
The Canadian Federal Court of Appeal unanimously upheld Eurocopter’s right to seek punitive damages against Bell Helicopter for patent infringement related to the sleigh-style “Moustache” landing gear design on the Eurocopter EC120 and EC130.
The Eurocopter EC175 medium twin has set two new time-to-climb records as it zeroes in on certification, four years after its first flight. It climbed to 6,000 meters (19,670 feet) in 6 minutes 54 seconds and to 3,000 meters (9,840 feet) in 3 minutes 10 seconds. The Fédèration Aéronautique Internationale ratified both records, said Eurocopter.
At the Monaco Yacht Show in September, Eurocopter exhibited a “collectable art” EC135 helicopter with a distinctive zig-zag, blue-on-white livery aboard the 282-foot super-yacht Quattronelle.
Helicopter MRO Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services North America (HSNA), a subsidiary of Vector Aerospace, has signed a five-year agreement with Era Helicopters to repair and overhaul dynamic components for Era’s Sikorsky S-76 and Eurocopter AS350 fleets.
Under the terms of the five-year agreement, HSNA will provide Era with inspection, repair, overhaul, testing, modification and other services, including on-site rental assets for Era’s S-76 and AS350 fleets.
An airworthiness directive for the Eurocopter AS332C, AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2 and EC225LP requires inspecting the intermediate gearbox (IGB) fairing for a crack and inspecting the IGB fairing gutter for a crack, separation or interference. The AD was prompted by reports of cracks, separation of the IGB fairing from the gutter and attachment supports, and subsequent interference with the tail-rotor inclined drive shaft, which could result in subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
Eurocopter used the Helitech show to highlight some recent contracts. First, the UK-based Avincis group announced a firm order for three EC225s. The first two aircraft will be delivered next month, with the third slated to arrive in next year’s second half.