The fatal crash of a CHC Scotia-operated Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma on August 23 off the Shetland Islands in the UK has created an outcry among passengers and is puzzling experts. Investigators have found no evidence of technical failure so far, nor have they hinted at human factors. Meanwhile, a pilot based in the North Sea noted that the helicopter seriously deviated from the expected course, two nautical miles from its destination, Sumburgh Airport.
Preliminary Report: King Air 200 Destroyed in Water Landing
In a bid to establish an equal footing with Western helicopter manufacturers, Russian Helicopters recently made multiple announcements about sales, programs and joint ventures.
The Teal Group released a 10-year rotorcraft market forecast that shows civil turbine helicopter deliveries slowly recovering and exceeding their 2008 peak in 2018 before reaching a demand plateau. Overall, Teal predicts that 10,300 new civil turbine helicopters worth $60.3 billion will enter service between 2013 and 2022.
According to the forecast, Eurocopter will stay in the number-one position in terms of billings, with AgustaWestland hot on its heels. Bell, in the number-three spot, is anticipated to outsell Sikorsky.
While the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch is still probing the Eurocopter Super Puma fatal accident that killed four in August, the country’s CAA, its Norwegian counterpart and the European Aviation Safety Agency have launched a wider safety review of North Sea helicopter operations.
The European Aviation Safety Agency has certified the BLR Aerospace FastFin tail rotor enhancement and stability system for installation and flight on all Bell 412s. It was previously approved for Bell 204, 205 and 212s. The FastFin System improves useful load, wind azimuth tolerance and hover stability for Bell medium helicopters. “With FastFin installed, Bell 412 operators can realize significant increases in useful load, in some cases as much as 1,250 pounds,” said Dave Marone, v-p of sales and marketing for BLR Aerospace.
The first autonomous takeoff and landing of the Sikorsky Autonomous Research Aircraft (Sara)–an S-76 fitted with fly-by-wire controls, sensors and software for unmanned operations–is expected to take place within days, according to program manager Igor Cherepinsky. So far, he told AIN, Sara’s autonomous flights were following a trajectory to and from a hover.
Bell Helicopter signed an agreement with Avincis Group for the sale of up to 20 helicopters today at Helitech International 2013 in London. The deal includes a mix of 429s, 412s and 412EPIs, largely for use in search-and-rescue operations. Avincis Group provides aerial services for mission-critical operations, such as medical emergency, civil protection, search-and-rescue, coastal and urban surveillance, firefighting and energy support services.
With the first commercial flight of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) now accomplished, at least two other potential certification efforts are under way for unmanned aircraft that would fly at opposite extremes of the airspace if the Federal Aviation Administration approves them.
Two crewmembers and five passengers aboard a Sikorsky S-92 operated in IMC by Cougar Helicopters were only 38 feet above the waters of the Atlantic Ocean when the pilot, having suffered a bout of spatial disorientation, regained control of the helicopter, according to a September 12 report from Canada’s Transportation Safety Board. The incident occurred on July 23, 2011, 217 miles southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland.