The Maryland State Police unveiled the first of 10 new AgustaWestland AW139 medium twin-engine helicopters it will receive to replace its aging fleet of 11 Eurocopter AS365N Dauphins. The AW139s will be equipped with search-and-rescue, medical and law enforcement equipment as well as a full IFR avionics suite and safety-enhancing equipment such as H-Taws, night-vision-goggle compatibility, radar altimeters, satellite tracking, live video downlink, and cockpit voice and video recorders. The AW139s can perform hoist lifts while operating on a single engine.
Operations of the latest version of Eurocopter’s ubiquitous light single, the AS350B3e Ecureuil/AStar, have been affected by an emergency service bulletin and accompanying emergency airworthiness directive (AD).
Under the restrictions, the helicopter’s true airspeed is limited to 100 knots to reduce dynamic loads on the tail rotor. In addition, repetitive inspections must be conducted, with maximum intervals of three flight hours, on the laminated half-bearings.
The FAA is proposing an Airworthiness Directive for the Brantly International B-2, B-2A, and B-2B helicopters with a certain main rotor blade. The proposed AD was prompted by multiple reports of main rotor blade cracks and a 2007 accident in New Zealand in which a crack that originated near the main rotor blade trailing edge resulted in the loss of a large section of the blade.
A pair of police helicopters was destroyed late in the afternoon of November 17 during an apparent helipad accident in Pasadena, Calif. The main rotor blades of the Vietnam-era Bell OH-58s collided as one was landing and the other was preparing to take off. One helicopter rolled onto its side. All six aboard both helicopters were treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital and released.
Two police officers in Atlanta, Ga., were killed November 3 when their Hughes OH-6A helicopter struck wires near the top of a 42-foot power pole and crashed. A post-crash fire destroyed the fuselage and cabin. The helicopter had departed Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in support of a local search for a missing girl in night visual conditions about 20 minutes before the accident.
The Z-10 and Z-19 helicopters both made their public debuts at Airshow China in Zhuhai last week. The Changhe-built Z-10 performed daily during the show, while the Harbin-built Z-19 appeared twice. Neither was available for close inspection in the static park. Both are tandem-seat machines with nose-mounted gyro-stabilized sensor/targeting “ball”-style turret, and stubby wings with weapons pylons.
The FAA is adopting a new Airworthiness Directive that supersedes an existing airworthiness directive for the MD Helicopters MD900. It requires a visual inspection and, if necessary, an eddy-current inspection of the main rotor lower hub assembly (lower hub) for a crack. If a crack exists, the AD requires replacing the lower hub with an airworthy lower hub before further flight.
Fledgling helicopter manufacturer Marenco Swisshelicopter has moved the first flight of its SKYe SH09 light-single helicopter prototype slightly to the right. Initially planned by the end of this year, the maiden sortie is now expected in the first half of next year.
Next year’s Heli-Expo show in Las Vegas (March 4-7, 2013) will include the Helicopter Association International’s (HAI) new safety education initiative called the Rotor Safety Challenge. The seminar series will offer 30 different safety topics designed to enhance safety in the rotorcraft industry worldwide. The 60-minute sessions–offered at no charge to attendees–will focus on four different safety tracks; flight operations, maintenance, safety culture and leadership and safety management.
Sikorsky and Ruili Jingcheng Group (RJG) signed two contracts for the introduction of an S-92 and S-76D, marking Sikorsky’s first S-92 helicopter sale to a private Chinese operator and the first-ever S-76D sale into China. The signing took place today at Airshow China 2012 in Zhuhai. Both aircraft will be configured for airline use.