MD Helicopters’ MD 540F armed scout helicopter made its debut at Heli-Expo this week in Las Vegas. The new model replaces its predecessor MD 530F’s Rolls-Royce 250-C30 turboshaft with the new M250-C47E, which offers dual-channel Fadec and boosts available rated takeoff power to 700 shp.
Eurocopter promised to bring its next-generation Dauphin–the X4 medium twin helicopter–to the Heli-Expo show next year in Anaheim, Calif. The new helicopter, which will include straked rotor blades and a fly-by-wire system, will be offered with a Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210 or Turbomeca TM800 turboshaft engine. First flight is scheduled for 2016, with certification planned for 2017. Meanwhile, the company said yesterday at Heli-Expo that it is working on X6 and X9 helicopters, but it would not release any details on these future designs.
State-owned Aviation Industry Corp. of China (Avic) brought its Avicopter rotorcraft unit to Heli-Expo for the first time.
Bell Helicopter has tapped Honeywell to provide the auxiliary power unit (APU) and environmental control system for the new Bell 525 Relentless, which is scheduled to start flying next year. The Honeywell RE100 APU selected for the super-medium twin helicopter is lighter and more fuel efficient than competing systems, according to Honeywell. Honeywell’s AC-5510 environmental control system will provide heating and air-conditioning for the 16-passenger helicopter.
Bell Helicopter signed a memorandum of understanding with Van Horn Aviation to develop a composite tail rotor blade for the Bell 212 and Bell 412. Under the agreement, Van Horn will design, certify and manufacture the rotor blades, with Bell Helicopter Engineering participating in the design and certification processes. When certified, the blades will be distributed under Bell Helicopter’s Aeronautical Accessories brand.
Bill Antwerp of Gaffney, S.C., owns and flies a pristine Bell 407 with a newly installed Cobham HeliSAS stability and augmentation system and autopilot. With another pilot, he flew his helicopter from his home in South Carolina to Las Vegas for Heli-Expo ’13. At his first fuel stop, he texted Jamie Luster, director of sales and marketing of Cobham Avionics in Mineral Wells, Texas, saying, “I love the autopilot.”
Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison said his company wanted to get the U.S. Army’s business back and he sees the proposed Joint Multi-Role (JMR) helicopter as a vehicle to do just that.
Bell is submitting a proposal featuring its tiltrotor technology for Phase 1 of the JMR competition on March 6. Other entries are expected from a newly formed Boeing-Sikorsky alliance and AVX Technologies.
The New Zealand aviation sector is a $10 billion industry, including more than 1,000 aviation-related businesses and organizations employing around 23,000 people, according to Adam Bennett, customer director for New Zealand Trade & Enterprise. New Zealand helicopter businesses represent 8 percent of the global industry, from a country with 0.06 percent of the world’s population.
“The country has more helicopters per head of population that any other nation,” said Bennett. “Aviation is in our DNA.”
The annual Salute to Excellence Awards dinner, held on Wednesday, March 6, was, for the 50th year, the premier evening event of Heli-Expo. HAI encourages the highest standards of professionalism in the helicopter industry, saluting those who deserve to be recognized for their contributions to the rotorcraft community. This year, Helicopter Association International’s Salute to Excellence Awards recognized the achievements and merits of a few individuals and organizations among its more than 3,000 members.
Cadorath Aerospace recently noted its continued work in developing a total of 900 repair procedures for a variety of Bell Helicopters, including 178 new repairs in 2012 alone.