Eurocopter is making further strides toward its aim of certifying a helicopter to make IFR approaches to a hover, over a given point on the ground and at a defined height. By the end of this month, a second phase of flight tests involving a specially modified EC 155, currently under way near the OEM’s Marseille headquarters in southern France, will be complete.
Although the shadow of the September 11 atrocity in the U.S. was evident at Helitech, the major American companies participated fully, and some praised both the exhibition and its new venue. Previously held at Redhill Aerodrome, conveniently close to London Gatwick Airport but all too often waterlogged, Helitech moved this year to Duxford Airfield’s hard runway and concrete apron–a switch that was widely welcomed.
The only survivor of an August 10 sightseeing helicopter crash at the Grand Canyon has filed suit against Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters of Grand Canyon, Ariz., its four principals and a mechanic, as well as American Eurocopter (maker of the AS 350B2 helicopter), Turbomeca Engine Corp. and Zuni LLC, a Washington-based helicopter retailer.
Ceres Group of Davidson, N.C., has announced CopterShares, a by-the-hour helicopter membership program. Flight time will be sold in increments of 25 hours and membership will include an annual maintenance and service fee. Ceres Group president Joseph DePaulis expects clients to include banks, corporations, race teams and drivers. Ceres plans to start operating the service with two Eurocopter EC 120s in the first of quarter next year.
Eurocopter AS 350B2, Juneau, Alaska, Aug. 16, 2007–The door of the Northstar Trekking AS 350 opened on takeoff from Juneau International and the helicopter made a hard landing. Damage to the helicopter was reported as substantial. The pilot and five passengers were not injured.
Air-tour operator Blue Hawaiian Helicopters has ordered four more Eurocopter EC 130B4s to augment its existing fleet of eight AS 350B2 AStars and nine EcoStars. Blue Hawaiian began operations on Maui in 1985 with one helicopter and today is the state’s largest helicopter tour company. The company was the launch customer for the EcoStar in 2001.
Eurocopter is considering introducing fiber placement for helicopter composite fuselage manufacturing as a way to replace manual lay-up and reduce costs by an estimated 20 to 25 percent. A research project has yielded the first EC 155 rear section (tailcone and fenestron vertical tail) made by fiber placement. Engineers are testing the part at the firm’s Marignane, France research and development facilities.
American Eurocopter has received an FAA aircraft production certificate to manufacture its U.S. Army UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter and EC 145 commercial variant at the company’s plant in Columbus, Miss.
The first helicopter produced under the certificate was delivered to the Army on August 27.
Eurocopter and the house of Hermès revealed their “l’Hélicoptère par Hermès,” an EC 135 with a decidedly up-market interior, yesterday morning here at the convention.
Eurocopter and Hermès officials met at EBACE in Geneva in May last year, held discussions for six months and decided to cooperate on a joint project that culminated in the special edition of the EC 135 on display here at Eurocopter’s booth (No. 4351).
Eurocopter and the house of Hermès revealed their “l’Hélicoptere par Hermès,” an EC 135 with a decidedly up-market interior, today at the NBAA Convention. The new helicopter came about after officials from both companies met at EBACE in Geneva in May last year, held discussions for six months and decided to cooperate on a joint project that culminated in the special edition of the EC 135 on display at the NBAA show this week.