A recent report by the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) shows that the pilot of the Robinson R44 flying from a private strip in southern Scotland to Manchester, England, found that hills on his track were obscured by an area of low cloud. Recordings from his GPS showed that as he turned to avoid high ground he increased speed and entered a rapid descent.
Eurocopter EC 120B, Fair Oaks, Calif., July 13, 2005–The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Eurocopter lost power and crashed in steep hilly terrain, killing the commercial pilot and seriously injuring the student-pilot-rated observer trainee. The helicopter was substantially damaged.
Tempe, Ariz. manufacturer Van Horn Aviation is showing two new Bell UH-1 Huey products, an all-composite tail-rotor blade and a competitively priced main rotor blade. Owner Jim Van Horn said the tail-rotor blade that is currently undergoing certification is 90-percent carbon fiber and 10-percent fiberglass and uses a Boeing VR7 airfoil with 30 percent longer chord for increased thrust.
Bell’s new high-performance main rotor system flew for the first time at Mirabel, Canada, at the end of February. By flying the system, the OEM met a 2005 commitment to demonstrate seven key features of the 429 light twin within 12 months.
Bell 206B JetRanger, Cleveland, Ohio, June 25, 2005–A failure of the main drive shaft for undetermined reasons, the NTSB concluded, caused the total loss of engine power in the Bell 206B JetRanger. A factor in the accident was the pilot’s improper flare.
After spending five years flying Eurocopter’s EC 130B4 Ecureuil “EcoStar,” Dave Chevalier, president of Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, still thinks it’s the best choice for pleasing his air tourists and mitigating noise complaints, but he has candid criticisms about elements of the model’s operating costs and performance.
Sikorsky will sell two S-76Ds to Premier Aviation Services of Ireland, for VIP and business travel use. Premier–the first European customer for the -D model–plans to operate its aircraft from Weston Airport outside Dublin.
Maverick Helicopter Tours, which specializes in aerial tours of Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, has bought 14 more Eurocopter EC 130 turbine helicopters. The new aircraft will bring Maverick’s EC 130 fleet to 35. Maverick cited as one of the helicopter’s attractive features the safety and relative quietness of the fenestron tail rotor.