MD Helicopters showed off its prototype MD540A armed scout helicopter last week at the Sofex show in Jordan, marking the type’s first appearance outside the U.S. The choice of venue was made to highlight the type’s credentials in an area where its hot-and-high performance is of considerable interest, at a show where its special-forces support capability is highly relevant, and in a country that has a requirement for a new armed helicopter.
Jim Christiansen, a giant in the business aviation industry, passed away last night at the age of 67. He led several large air charter firms, as well as NetJets, over his nearly 50-year career, most recently serving as vice president of business development at FlightSafety International.
Marenco Swisshelicopter anticipates flying its SH09 SKYe single-engine helicopter in the coming weeks and in any case by July, it said. This month, the company will also apply to Switzerland’s civil aviation authority for a permit to fly, chief commercial officer Mathias Sénès told AIN.
Northrop Grumman and Yamaha Motor USA have partnered to develop and market an unmanned “autonomous” rotorcraft system based on Yamaha’s RMax agricultural helicopter. The Rotary Bat (R-Bat) is targeted for search and rescue, power line inspection and forest fire observation missions.
Sikorsky Aircraft rolled out the CH-53K, the U.S. Marine Corps’ future heavy lift helicopter, on May 5 at the company’s West Palm Beach, Fla. facility. According to Sikorsky, the mostly composite helicopter–dubbed the “King Stallion”–will fly by year-end, with operational service expected in 2019.
The U.S. Navy on May 7 announced a $1.24 billion contract award to Sikorsky Aircraft to begin engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of the long-delayed VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program. The EMD contract calls for Sikorsky to modify and deliver six civil-certified S-92s and two trainer simulators by October 2020.
Robinson Helicopter received EASA certification for its R66 on Wednesday, four years after the FAA approved the turbine helicopter. With this latest approval, Robinson said it is now able to begin delivering R66s in its current backlog of European orders and focus on strengthening its presence in this market. Two-thirds of the company’s sales typically come from non-U.S.
France’s civil aviation authority, the DGAC, has approved the idea of training medical personnel to serve as the HEMS “technical crewmembers” required by the EASA’s IR-OPS regulation. Beginning October 8, a technical crewmember will be required on some HEMS flights that thus far have been conducted by a single pilot. Operators’ reactions vary from wariness to strong support, but one pilot union vigorously opposes the move.
Cerritos. Mention the town’s name to any pilot who has flown around Southern California for more than a few years and you get a nod of instant recognition. On Aug. 31, 1986, an Aeromexico DC-9 inbound to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) collided with a Piper Archer taking off from Zamperini Field in nearby Torrance. The wreckage fell onto Cerritos in southeast Los Angeles County, killing all 67 aboard both aircraft and 15 people on the ground.