Yesterday was a banner day for French helicopter manufacturer Guimbal as it marked its entry to the U.S. helicopter market, with the delivery of its first Cabri G2 light single to Newberg, Ore.-based operator and training provider Precision Helicopters.
For the hundreds of helicopter pilots that have trained or flown with Dr. Gordon Jiroux in a Robinson R22 over his 30-plus, accident-free years as a flight instructor and the countless others in the industry who know him, the announcement that he would receive the W.A.“Dub” Blessing Award (Flight Instructor of the Year) here at Heli-Expo 2014 was probably met with the thought, “Well, it’s about time!”
Among the many services that Rotor F/X offers from its Van Nuys, Calif., headquarters, the company’s helicopter shipping service is probably of most interest for Heli-Expo attendees. Rotor F/X (Booth No. 3105) also provides helicopter and fixed-wing flight training, helicopter maintenance, air tours, aerial photography and even assembly of kit helicopters such as the Mosquito ultralight and other kit-built rotorcraft.
CEO Kurt Robinson said he is focusing on keeping his family’s helicopter company “lean and mean to provide a good product at a competitive price” to bring value to its customers. “We’re going to keep our pencils sharpened,” he told AIN. Robinson Helicopter posted another strong year in 2013, producing 523 helicopters, up from 517 in 2012 and a long climb from the 2010 rate of 162. As was the case in 2012, the piston-powered R44 continues to be the top seller, with 289 produced in 2013; but the $839,000 turbine-single R66, with 192 already delivered, remains the company cash cow.
The FAA proposes to supersede an existing airworthiness directive for the Robinson R22, R22 Alpha, R22 Beta, R22 Mariner, R44 and R44 II with certain main rotor blades. The existing AD currently requires inspecting each blade at the skin-to-spar line for debonding, corrosion, a separation, a gap or a dent and replacing any damaged blade with an airworthy blade.
Bakersfield, Calif.-based specialized response and flight training company SRT Helicopters (Booth No. 6808) is justifiably proud of its student practical examination record. According to company owner Christian Gadbois, SRT Helicopters boasts a 100-percent first-time pass rate for all students taking all levels of FAA practical flight exams over the eight years of the Part 61 flight school’s existence.
Flyit Simulators of Carlsbad, Calif., (Static No. 9) delivered two helicopter simulators to customers at Heli-Expo on Sunday.
Aspen Avionics has moved aggressively into the helicopter marketplace and is displaying its Evolution flight display glass cockpit systems in three helicopters at the Heli-Expo static display, a Schweizer 300C, Robinson R44 and Enstrom 480B.
A pilot was arrested in Ozana, Texas, after he failed a field sobriety test and deputies found firearms and empty beer cans inside his Robinson R22. The officers were called to the scene by residents who saw the helicopter flying low and then land in a field next to a barbecue party.
Frank Robinson feigned insult when asked about his possible retirement at a 2009 press conference.
“Why?” Robinson shot back with a grin when asked about it. “You know what [the late comedian] Jack Benny said when they asked him what he was going to do with all that money when he died? He said, ‘If I can’t take it with me I won’t go.’ He didn’t need [a retirement] and I think I don’t either.”
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