A Sino-Russian effort to develop a new advanced heavy helicopter was discussed during the recent visit to Shanghai by a Russian delegation headed by President Putin. According to Russian Helicopters general director Alexander Mikeyev, his company has been discussing the project with China’s Avicopter since 2008. “The main parameters of the project have been agreed on. But the work is not yet complete,” he said.
Menominee, Mich.-based helicopter maker Enstrom doubled its workforce over the last year and recently completed a major plant expansion and remodel as it ramps up export sales of its 480B light turbine single and begins assembly and prepares for the first flight of its new TH180 piston trainer. The company employs more than 200 people, 30 of them engineers.
FlightSafety International cut the ribbon on the major expansion and renovation project at its Teterboro, N.J learning center yesterday. The expansion increased floor space by 50 percent and refurbished the entire facility, including a new lobby area and café.
Preliminary Report: Jet Overruns Florida Runway
Cessna Citation CJ3 525, Spruce Creek, Fla., April 27, 2014–Unable to stop on the 4,000-foot Runway 23 at Florida’s Spruce Creek airport, a Cessna CJ3 ran off the hard surface and came to rest partially submerged in a pond off the departure end of the runway. The aircraft remained intact after the accident. None of the three people aboard was injured in the accident.
Preliminary Report: Helicopter Drops Ship’s Pilot During Transfer
Cabin Comfort Systems is expanding its capabilities to include helicopter customizing, refurbishment and maintenance services for third-party operators. In addition to expanding facilities and service centers in Hagerstown, Md., and Philadelphia, it has named Grayson Barrows as the director of marketing and sales for its cabin comfort systems division. “Grayson’s responsibilities will include business development for new helicopter completions, pre-owned aircraft refurbishments and MRO services,” said the company.
Although popular with police, EMS and offshore operators in Europe and Asia since its introduction in 1999, the Airbus Helicopters (née Eurocopter) EC155 has been slow to catch on in the U.S. market. Customers panned the initial model for its unreliability and inadequate engine power. Those issues were largely addressed with an improved variant, the EC155B1, which entered production in 2002 and introduced uprated engines.
Canadian health and safety investigators charged Ontario’s troubled air ambulance service, Ornge, with 17 violations of the Canadian Labor Code related to the nighttime crash of a Sikorsky S-76A on May 31 last year near its base in rural northern Mosonee that killed its four-man crew. The helicopter went down shortly after takeoff en route to a patient pick-up.
Now air charter buyers can use their smartphones to grab the next available helicopter seat bound for the Hamptons. The new Blade app lets customers book a seat on an existing flight or charter a whole helicopter and then use the app to help fill the seats. The app is backed by New York City’s Liberty Helicopters. Flights booked on Blade take off from NYC’s East Side Heliport and land in South Hampton, East Hampton and Montauk, with return flights to Midtown’s West Side Heliport.
EASA has certified a redesigned vertical bevel gear shaft for the Airbus Helicopters EC225, which was grounded for nine months in 2012 and 2013 after a series of in-flight failures. Manufacture of the redesigned gear shaft is under way for production aircraft and retrofits, with first installations (for both applications) planned for this year’s second half.
The new design provides corrosion resistance, compensates for residual stress and eliminates stress hot spots, eliminating all three factors that, combined, caused two unexpected vertical shaft failures.
The North Sea offshore industry held a brainstorming session in late April to examine the issues it faces with helicopter flights to and from oil and gas platforms. Although the organizers emphasized that most actions in the February CAA review (known as CAP 1145) relate to accident prevention, mitigation measures–such as emergency breathing systems (EBS) and passenger size restriction–cause the more urgent problems and accounted for a significant part of the discussion.