An emergency airworthiness directive, effective immediately–AD 2013-12-06–was issued March 24 covering Airbus Helicopters legacy models MBB BK117A-3, BK117A-4, BK117B-1 and BK117C-2 that use a Metro Aviation vapor-cycle air conditioning kit pulley. Affected aircraft use pulley number 30001 installed in accordance with supplemental type certificate SH3880SW, which now requires immediate inspection of the drive pulley for looseness and properly installed lock wires and reinstallation of the pulley.
MBB/Kawasaki BK 117
Rotorcraft Services Group Products (Booth No. 1206) announced during Heli-Expo 2014 that it is teaming up with Heli-One (Booth No. 1804) to collaborate on, produce, support and even co-market supplemental type certified products for their customers.
Initial STCs available through the partnership include a dual pivoting litter system for the AS350 and a rappel system for Bell 412 and 212 helicopters. Both STC’d products are on display at RSG’s booth at Heli-Expo.
Airbus Helicopters will kick off opening day of Heli-Expo 2014 with a pair of major order announcements. Lease Corporation International (LCI) aviation CEO Mike Platt and executive chairman Crispin Maunder will join Airbus Helicopters president Guillaume Faury at 11 a.m. to announce an order for EC175 and EC225 utility helicopters. The manufacturer will also announce a six-frame follow-on EC175 order from Belgian aviation services provider NHV.
The FAA adopted an airworthiness directive for Eurocopter Deutschland MBB-Kawasaki BK117C2 helicopters requiring inspection of the long tail-rotor drive shaft assembly for blind rivets. If any blind rivets are located, the shaft assembly must be replaced. The AD was prompted by the discovery that some helicopters have blind rivets installed in place of solid rivets, which could lead to failure of the tail rotor drive shaft and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
HEMS Academy, the simulator training arm of German air ambulance specialist ADAC, has announced that it will add a new Eurocopter EC145T2 full-flight simulator in 2015. This follows ADAC’s order last September for 14 new EC145T2 helicopters to replace its aging BK117 B2 fleet. The new helicopters will be equipped with the EuroAvionics EuroNav7 navigation system upgrades, which will also be included in the simulator. Meanwhile an EC145T2 systems training device will be brought online in mid-2014, allowing for web-based training on the type.
A Eurocopter BK117 operated as an emergency medical service (EMS) flight by Air Methods crashed into a farmer’s field near Compton, Ill., at about 8 p.m. on December 11. The three people on board–the pilot and two flight nurses–were killed. There were no patients on board at the time of the accident. The crash occurred shortly after the pilot radioed he was returning to base due to poor weather where light snow had been reported. The helicopter was registered to Rockford Memorial Hospital, located 90 miles northwest of Chicago.
American Eurocopter’s blade shop in Grand Prairie, Texas, is a busy place. The 20 craftsmen repair and refurbish 1,000 helicopter main and tail rotor blades every year. That translates into 95 percent of all Eurocopter blade work in the U.S.
Much of the work is done by hand. “It is a slow process,” acknowledges shop manager Jim Tully. “It would be nice if we could find a way to go faster, but it has to be done the same way. With fiberglass, it wouldn’t take long to scrap out a blade completely” if a mistake were made.
Atlanta-based Precision Aviation Group (PAG) and its subsidiary Precision Accessories & Instruments (PAI) have been approved as an authorized repair center (ARC) for Eurocopter.
Atlanta-based Precision Aviation Group (PAG) has launched a rotorcraft services division at subsidiary Gardner Aviation Services. It will provide helicopter-specific avionics upgrades/installs, airframe maintenance and MRO services at Gardner Aviation Services 35,000-sq-ft facility on Atlanta Regional Airport in Peachtree City, Ga.
Rescue organization DRF Luftrettung of Germany ordered 25 Eurocopter EC145 T2 light twins in November, thus becoming the largest customer for the new type. The contract is valued at EUR200 million ($270 million).
The aircraft will replace the DRF Luftrettung’s BK-117s. The first five red and white EC145 T2s will be delivered between December 2013 and late 2015. The remaining 20 helicopters are to be handed over in phases throughout 2022.
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