The European Aviation Safety Agency in late August certified the Eurocopter EC 225 twin-turbine helicopter for unrestricted operations in icing conditions. To be able to fly in such conditions, the 11-ton, $17 million helicopter is fitted with an optional duplex-architecture protection system. The five main rotor blades are deiced cyclically by mats heated by metal resistors.
Bell Helicopter has initiated an engineering study with a number of partners for a rather unconventional aircraft that designers say would be especially well suited to urban operations. The Bell X-Hawk would feature two shrouded main rotors in tandem configuration, fore and aft, and two smaller shrouded rotors acting as thrusters. Although Bell is targeting military applications, a civil variant is under consideration by its partners.
For years, Robinson Helicopter president and CEO Frank Robinson has delighted in leaking tidbits of information on the subject of his next helicopter, the R66. This year the company’s amiable founder all but launched the program by admitting that he has begun detailed design work and selected an engine supplier.
Eurocopter and its Chinese partner Harbin Aircraft are designing a new medium twin helicopter, dubbed the EC 175, to fill the gap between the EC 155 Dauphin and the EC 225 Super Puma. They are to unveil details of the EC 175 design at the Paris Air Show in June. Nevertheless, Eurocopter (Booth No.
AgustaWestland is introducing an enhanced Koala, the AW119 Ke light single, as an evolution of the A119 Koala introduced in 1995 and certified in 2000.
A Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB SW-07-16) issued February 9 warns operators of possible debonding of the main rotor blades on Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters. Robinson issued a safety alert.
A Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) issued today warns owners and operators of Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters that the rotor blade skin might begin to debond at the skin-to-spar joint on the lower surface at the tip. Robinson has issued a safety alert warning of this condition. This SAIB applies to main rotor blades part number A016-4, C016-2 or C016-5.
Boeing’s Phantom Works has sent its canard rotor-wing (CRW) prototype aloft for flight test. The unmanned 80-second flight, controlled by former USAF special operations pilot Stetson Cowan, took place at the company’s Yuma, Ariz. test facility on December 3 and is reported to have gone well.
While Eurocopter remains the leader in unit sales of civil helicopters, its competitors are honing their products. The company’s management team is well aware of the pressure, as one official recently expressed concern about new competing products from Western manufacturers. He stated that they will soon be as capable as, and less expensive than, Eurocopter’s.
An ongoing investigation into the August 10 fatal crash of an S-76C+ in the Baltic Sea has led the NTSB to ask the FAA to take “urgent” action on several recommendations. Flight-data recordings show that the twin-turbine helicopter “pitched up and rolled to the left, followed by a series of rotations to the right before striking the water,” killing all 14 aboard.