Kaman Aerospace (Booth No. 4922) said it is soliciting customer interest here at Heli-Expo to resume production of the civil variant of its K-Max heavy external lift helicopter. The K-Max was certified in 1994, and autonomously piloted models have recently been flying for the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan. Civil versions of the aircraft have long been used in construction, firefighting and logging applications.
Ramco Aviation (Booth No. 326) announced Tuesday at Heli-Expo 2014 that longtime customer Columbia Helicopters (Booth 4706) recently began the transition to Ramco’s Solution 5.6 integrated suite of maintenance, finance, human resources and payroll tracking software.
Erickson Air Crane is buying Evergreen Helicopters for $250 million, as well as Air Amazonia from Brazilian oil and gas exploration company HRT for $65 to $75 million. Both deals are expected to close in the second quarter and will boost Erickson’s current $180 million annual revenues to a projected $430 million.
Erickson Air-Crane has executed a binding term sheet to acquire the Air Amazonia aerial services business from Brazilian oil and gas exploration and production firm HRT Partcipacoes em Petroleo. The move supersedes a non-binding letter of intent Erickson submitted in September 2012.
Erickson Air-Crane has entered into a non-binding letter of intent to acquire 14 helicopters and associated personnel and assets from HRT Participacoes em Petroleo (HRT). The deal requires Erickson Air-Crane to provide operational services, including both cargo and passenger transport, to HRT in the Amazon under a three-year renewable contract. Erickson traditionally had focused its efforts on building, selling, servicing and operating heavy-lift S-64 Aircranes. Erickson CEO Udo Rieder said the agreement provides “an excellent path to diversification and growth.”
Erickson Air-Crane posted a 10.9-percent drop to $37.9 million in second-quarter revenue from the same period in 2011, but said it still had a $228.1 million backlog. The company holds the TC for the S-64 Aircrane. It builds, services and sells the heavy-lift helicopter to third parties, and also operates its own fleet of 17. Erickson reported strong revenues from fire-fighting and construction activities but noted a drop-off in logging operations.
An Oregon jury has awarded William Coultas, his wife and the widow of pilot Roark Schwanenberg $69.7 million in a damages suit brought in the 2008 “Iron 44” crash of a Carson Helicopters Sikorsky S-61N. The verdict puts General Electric alone on the hook; other parties settled out of court before the trial. The helicopter crashed shortly after taking off from a helispot while conducting firefighting operations in Northern California. Schwanenberg and eight others aboard the helicopter died.
Columbia Helicopters (Booth No. 1017) announced that the Commercial Airlift Review Board (CARB) recently certified the Oregon-based company for Department of Defense (DOD) passenger and cargo operations.
With this and prior certifications, Columbia is now eligible to bid on a more comprehensive variety of contracts for heavy-lift helicopters for all U.S. government agencies.
The August 2008 fatal crash of a Carson Helicopters Sikorsky S-61N has triggered several federal criminal investigations and renewed scrutiny of private aircraft on public use contracts.
The threatened pink workstations are a nonstarter, but Nancy Lematta has her hands firmly on the controls of Aurora, Ore.-based Columbia Helicopters. Her late husband, Wes, who founded the company with his brothers, charted a course that she plans to follow.
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