A series of blockbuster orders placed yesterday underlined Dubai’s status as capital of the commercial aircraft megadeal, chief among them being an order for 150 Boeing 777X aircraft placed by Emirates (termed a “commitment”)–effectively launching the new larger variant of the popular long-range twinjet. Emirates’s 777X order, which consists of 115 -9Xs and 35 -8Xs, was not entirely unexpected as the carrier played a leading role in defining the aircraft, but yesterday marked the largest product launch in commercial airline history (by dollar value) for any OEM.
Bell Helicopter recently delivered seven of an order for 15 Bell 429s light twin-engine helicopters to the Turkish National Police. The helicopters were accepted during September and October by the police, which immediately started operating them for surveillance, personnel transport and air support of ground operations. Each aircraft is equipped with multi-sensor cameras and microwave downlink.
Some opponents of Nigeria’s aviation minister, Stella Oduah, have called for her resignation after her comments following the October 3 crash of an Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia in Lagos (see story below). Oduah is reported to have referred to the crash as an “act of God,” adding, “We do not pray for accidents but it is inevitable…We do everything to ensure that we do not have accidents.”
Bell Helicopter delivered the first Bell 407GX to be operated in Russia to Helidrive in St. Petersburg, the rotorcraft manufacturer announced yesterday. The 407GX, which was officially handed over to Helidrive–Bell’s independent representative in northwest Russia–last week, will be used for both private and charter flights. To date, Bell has delivered more than 1,100 Bell 407s, including nearly 100 Bell 407GXs.
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.
Bell Helicopter delivered the first Bell 429 light twins to customers in Nigeria last week. They are also the first Bell 429s to be shipped to operators on the African continent. One of the helicopters was handed over to the Nigeria Police Air Wing (NPAW) and the other went to the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). The NPAW will use the Bell 429 for general law enforcement, surveillance and force projection, while the NEMA will fly the aircraft for disaster relief and humanitarian support missions.
Boeing continues to assert full confidence in the design and airworthiness of the 787, notwithstanding U.S. aviation authorities’ move last Friday to launch “a comprehensive review” of all “critical” systems following reports of a string of incidents involving the Dreamliner, most notably Monday’s fire within the aft electronics bay of a Japan Airlines airplane parked at Boston Logan Airport.
Able Aerospace Services announced the availability of a new Bell 206 main rotor strap fitting and pin PMA replacement part. Operators of the Bell 206 series can now further reduce operating costs by using the exclusive FAA-certified PMA parts. The main rotor strap fitting and pin are components of the Bell main rotor hub. The strap fitting replaces Bell Part Number 206-011-150-105 and the strap pin replaces Bell Part Number 206-011-125-105. Parts are available immediately at up to 50 percent less than OEM parts, according to the company.
A Bell 412 helicopter played a key role in the December 2 celebration of the United Arab Emirates National Day, towing the world’s largest banner–the UAE national flag–along the seaside Corniche. The banner was visible from 20 kilometers as the Falcon Aviation Services helicopter towed the massive 4,600-sq-m flag. The celebration also included hot air balloon rides, aerial aerobatic demonstrations and fireworks.
A Russian company called Satellit-Development has plans to develop a heliport between Saint Petersburg’s “beltway” and Pulkovo airport. Dubbed Heli-Drive, it is said to be the first commercial heliport in the country. “I hope our project will help medical and rescue services, as well as private enterprises and guests of Saint Petersburg,” said co-owner Vladimir Skigin.
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