The prodigal sons of the North Sea oil-support community, brothers Stephen and Peter Bond, have returned to the fray more than eight weeks early. The first operational flights by Bond Offshore Helicopters (BOH) took off last month. Managing director Geoff Williams said there are several reasons behind the move, but it was always their intention to start flying in advance of the contracted date of August 1.
Eurocopter has developed its own concept of a modular helicopter to meet what it believes are the security requirements of the new generation of EU members. A basic “green” version is equipped with mission packs for one of a wide range of airborne tasks.
Canadian firm Heli-Lynx Helicopter Services launched the TwinStar 355FX mod at Heli-Expo last month. The program, which has received Transport Canada approval and was awaiting FAA certification at press time, essentially modifies an IFR Eurocopter AS 355F2 TwinStar into a twin-engine version of the VFR AS 350 AStar.
A deluge of orders for new helicopters during HAI’s Heli-Expo, held in Las Vegas last month, surprised even seasoned industry watchers on the floor. By the end of the show’s second day, an estimated 110 airframes, conservatively worth $600 million, had been spoken for by domestic and international customers.
EUROCOPTER EC 120B, JONESBORO, GA., JAN. 24, 2004–At 4:50 p.m. Eurocopter N125MG hit the ground during a practice autorotation at the Hampton/Clayton County/Tara Airport (4A7) near Jonesboro. The VFR instructional flight was operated under Part 91 and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.
Bristow Helicopters has ordered two Eurocopter EC 225s, with a scheduled service entry of spring next year. The order for this latest addition to the Super Puma family is valued at approximately E32 million ($40.3 million), and Bristow has options on an additional two aircraft.
Eurocopter’s new boss believes that last year’s good sales figures should not hide
the need for some changes in the company culture. Speaking to the press in Paris
on January 21, president and CEO Fabrice Brégier, 42, said the helicopter manufacturer’s customer service still needs improvement. However, “Eurocopter is now in working order, according to the new frame I have defined,” he stated.
Eurocopter EC 120B, Gulf of Mexico, La., Feb. 12, 2007–The commercial pilot and his passenger were killed and the Era Helicopters EC 120B substantially damaged when it crashed into an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The pilot had announced on the radio that he was approaching for a landing. Personnel on the platform heard the helicopter approach and then felt the platform shake.
By launching the IFR version of its 427 model at Heli-Expo, in Las Vegas in March, Bell Helicopter finally acknowledged its mistakes in introducing the type in the first place, almost 10 years before.