Since the dramatic cancellation of the stealthy Comanche attack helicopter in 2004, U.S. Army aviation has used the released funds to embark on a major rejuvenation by modernizing and augmenting the existing AH-64, UH-60 and CH-47 fleets, as well as procuring two new types.
Eurocopter AS 350-B3, Apache Junction, Ariz., Dec. 14, 2004–The NTSB could not determine the reason for the loss of control the PHI AS 350 experienced on its final approach. The pilot was attempting to land in a parking lot to pick up an accident victim. The helicopter overflew the landing area in right turns, and during its final approach at 100 feet agl it became unstable.
Eurocopter AS 350-B3, Yellow Pine, Idaho, Aug. 13, 2006–The AS 350 was destroyed and the commercial pilot and three passengers killed when the helicopter crashed 18 miles west of Yellow Pine. The helicopter was being operated by Evergreen Helicopters, of McMinnville, Ore., under contract to the U.S. Forest Service. The helicopter had flown from Krassel Helibase to take a relief fire lookout to Williams Peak lookout tower.
Atlanta-based Precision Aviation Group (PAG) has agreed in principal to acquire Pegasus Aircraft Components of Richmond, British Columbia. The purchase will allow PAG to upgrade services to its customers operating Bell, Sikorsky, Eurocopter and MD/Hughes helicopters in the expanding Canadian market.
Eurocopter is still talking to the Romanian privatization agency, AVAS, about taking over 65 percent of helicopter and light aircraft manufacturer IAR Ghimbav. The state-owned company is based in Brasov. AVAS rejected the helicopter manufacturer’s December bid, a decision Eurocopter challenged. In April AVAS said Eurocopter failed to meet some key criteria, including the commitment to invest.
Eurocopter is to issue a Service Bulletin that should solve a fleet-wide problem with the EC 145’s tail-rotor controls. In April, the FAA had issued an airworthiness directive (AD) calling for inspections and possible part replacement. The AD followed an in-flight incident that caused severe vibrations.
The European general aviation industry on May 22launched a counterpart to the U.S. General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Dubbed EGAMA, the European general aviation manufacturer group will be a “high-level sectoral group” inside the AeroSpace and Defense industries association of Europe (ASD).
Paris-based operator Trans Helicopter Service (THS) has its twin-engine Eurocopter AS 355 Ecureuil II available here at EBACE 2007 for demo flights of Safe Flight’s helicopter powerline detection system (PDS). The system has just been awarded certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on the AS 355. THS conducted the certification work on behalf of Safe Flight, based in White Plains, New York.
The market for executive/VIP helicopters is growing, according to Eurocopter representatives here at EBACE, but the biggest challenge to sales is still cultural.
Spain-based Gestair Private Aviation is planning on buying up to $60 million worth of new business jets in the 2007 to 2010 time period, general manager Fernando Flores told EBACE Convention News here on Tuesday. These aircraft will be midsize and very light jets (VLJs).