American Eurocopter has sold its first EC 145 in the U.S., to the Lee County (Florida) division of public safety/EMS. The launch customer will use the EC 145 primarily to support Lee County’s EMS operation, which encompasses the cities of Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Bonita Springs as well as 625,000 acres of coastal area and barren islands.
Eurocopter AS 355/EC 130, New York, March 22, 2008–A Liberty Helicopter Eurocopter AS 355 struck an idling Liberty Eurocopter EC 130 on takeoff from the West 30th Street Heliport. The AS 355’s skid hit the main rotor of the stationary EC 130. Damage was not substantial enough to be classified an accident and no injuries were reported for the AS 355 pilot and four passengers or the EC 130 pilot and five passengers.
Less than two weeks after the July 16 crash of a Bristow Sikorsky S-76A+ (G-BJVX) that killed all 11 passengers and crew when the helicopter apparently lost a main rotor blade and plummeted into the waters of the North Sea, the FAA issued an emergency AD covering all S-76As, -Bs, and -Cs.
The European Aviation Safety Agency has granted approval of a recent FAA-approved rotor blade tape installation STC for Robinson R22s and R44s. Airworthiness Directive 2007-26-12 was issued to address delamination of the helicopters’ main rotor blades.
Helicopter manufacturers are exploring a number of technologies to reduce noise, both that perceived from the ground and inside the cabin. European manufacturers are working on several demonstration programs to reduce noise by changing the helicopter’s airframe dynamics.
AGUSTA A109E, DALLAS, TEXAS, SEPT. 3, 2003–The Agusta twin-engine helicopter (N143CF) was substantially damaged at approximately 7:50 p.m. CDT during an aborted takeoff from the Methodist Dallas Medical Center helipad. The commercial pilot received minor injuries and the flight paramedic and flight nurse were uninjured.
Two European helicopter manufacturers, Eurocopter and AgustaWestland, are the coleaders of the Green Rotorcraft research program in the European Commission’s Clean Sky joint technology initiative, which was launched in Brussels on February 5. The aim of Green Rotorcraft is to reduce the impact on the environment in all phases of the lifecycle of a rotorcraft, from manufacturing to operation and eventually disposal.
Guimbal Hélicoptères has plans to take on the ubiquitous R22 in the training market. The company, launched by a former Eurocopter employee, has made headway, having secured orders from several European companies, including Eurocopter.
An airworthiness directive issued by the FAA on Thursday warns of tightening torque loss on the main-rotor-hub (MRH) to main-rotor-mast attachment bolts on Eurocopter AS 365 and SA 365 helicopters, which could lead to an in-flight loss of the main rotor head. The AD, which affects 36 U.S.-registered AS 365N/N1/N2/N3 and SA 365C/C1/C2 helicopters, becomes effective March 6, but the FAA is accepting comments on AD 2008-04-03 until April 21.
Van Horn Aviation (VHA) is showing a prototype of its new composite tail-rotor blade for Bell 206-series helicopters at its Heli-Expo’08 booth (No. 3307).