Yesterday the FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (2012-02-51) that mandates the immediate replacement of main rotor blades on 697 Bell 206L, L-1, L-3 and L-4 helicopters after 1,400 hours, as opposed to the current 3,600-hour time in service limit, due to concerns about fatigue cracking. Special flight permits are prohibited under this EAD, effectively grounding hundreds of helicopters.
Eurocopter announced today that its 2011 revenues reached a record €5.4 billion ($7 billion), a 12-percent increase over the previous year. However, deliveries totaled 503 helicopters, short of the 527 handed over in 2010.
Last year, the manufacturer received net orders for 457 rotorcraft, prompting CEO Lutz Bertling to declare that the helicopter market has now recovered. He emphasized the low number of cancellations last year–only 15.
Sikorsky is now anticipating FAA certification of the S-434 light single for early next year, slightly later than the previous target date, which was this month. An improved Schweizer S-333, the S-434 sports a four-blade rotor, a new tail-rotor blade design, a structurally enhanced landing gear, a new trim system and an improved Kaflex driveshaft. The main rotor and its transmission come from the unmanned Fire Scout. The S-434 and the S-333 use the same Rolls-Royce 205-C20W turboshaft, which provides 320 shp.
Sikorsky announced yesterday that the third prototype of the S-76D medium-twin helicopter joined the test fleet, having made its first flight probably in July or August, AIN understands. Sikorsky had planned to reach this milestone early this year. “D3” will be used for avionics and electrical system certification.
Sikorsky’s X2 technology demonstrator, a high-speed semi-compound helicopter, flew for the last time on July 14 at the company’s West Palm Beach, Fla. test center, in front of a number of the manufacturer’s military and commercial customers. The sortie took place without the central hub fairing (also known as an “aero sail”), which will not be tested in flight.
Sikorsky flew its X2 technology demonstrator for the last time at its West Palm Beach, Fla. test center last week in front of some of the company’s military and commercial customers. Contrary to previously announced plans, the semi-compound helicopter, which features two contra-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller, flew without its central hub fairing.
Sikorsky Innovations has completed wind-tunnel testing of an active rotor system equipped with “high-authority” flaps, paving the way for what it says will be improvements in noise, vibration–and, marginally, efficiency–on future rotorcraft.
Eurocopter has delivered what it hopes will prove to be the X-Factor to this year’s Paris Air Show. The daily flying display this week features its new its X3 (“x cubed”) compound helicopter demonstrator, a modified AS 365 Dauphin with a conventional main rotor, two propellers on wingstubs and a conventional empennage.
The Eurocopter X3 (“X cube”) compound helicopter demonstrator is to appear for the first time in public next week at the Paris Air Show. Jean-Michel Billig, the company’s executive v-p for research and development, promised late last month that F-ZXXX will impress showgoers with its maneuverability, just like the military Tiger wowed them in the 1990s when it began performing loops.
The pair of “low-observable” Sikorsky Black Hawks used in the raid by U.S. forces against terrorist Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani compound May 2 were kitted with a variety of stealth and radar-defeating features that had been in development since the 1970s, and maybe longer. The helicopters came to light after one had to be left behind and intentionally detonated after apparently clipping a compound wall and making a hard landing.