Bell is planning to add the second 429 prototype to its flight-test effort next month. The first example of the new light-twin helicopter has already convinced design engineers that they can stay with a four-blade tail rotor.
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.
Helicopter manufacturers have come to EBACE 2007 riding high on the wave of some $732 million in new orders announced at the industry’s Heli-Expo held in Orlando, Florida, in March. They will be looking to chase more business here in Geneva, mindful of the latest market report from avionics and engine maker Honeywell, which has forecast an increased fleet replacement rate of 20 percent among European operators over the next five years.
McDonnell Douglas MD-369FF, Haena, Hawaii, March 11, 2007–The Inter-Island Helicopters MD-369 was destroyed and a passenger was killed when the helicopter crashed into trees during a sightseeing tour. In cruise, the tail-rotor output shaft and the tail-rotor blades separated from the tail-rotor gearbox and fell into the ocean. The pilot autorotated to a campground near the beach.
The Bell 429 has received its production rotor blades. They replace the prototype blades that supported the first flight on February 27. In addition, engineers have loaded new software for the cockpit displays. Bell said the new software is more representative of the production aircraft.
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.
fter flying the Bell/Agusta AB139, it is easy to see why Amedeo Caporaletti, president of Agusta and CEO of AgustaWestland, believes that this helicopter sets new standards for medium twins. The 13,227-pound-mtow AB139 meets the stringent standards imposed by both the European JARs and FAR Part 29, including all amendments.
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.