Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has found that the fatally injured pilot and sole occupant of a Gemini Helicopters Robinson R44 that crashed on Jan. 27, 2013, near Fox Creek, Alberta, after an in-flight break-up “was under the influence of alcohol” and made “inappropriate control inputs that caused the main rotor blade to make contact with the fuselage.” The TSB also noted the failure of the R44’s emergency locator transmitter in the final report.
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.
Spatial disorientation is the likely reason the pilot of a privately owned Robinson R44 helicopter lost control of the aircraft and crashed near southern Quebec’s Saint-Ferdinand Aerodrome in August 2011, according to the accident report issued by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB). The private pilot and the three passengers aboard, all members of the pilot’s family, were killed in the nighttime accident.
The Bristow Academy in Titusville, Fla., is installing the Garmin G500H glass-panel avionics suite in its four Robinson R44 Raven 1 instrument training helicopters. Bristow operates one of the world’s largest offshore oil and gas helicopter services, and updating its training helicopters with the G500H will make it easier for pilots to transition into larger mainline helicopters that already have the latest glass-panel technology, the company said. Separately, Bristow honored graduate Michael Campbell last month.
Bristow Academy, a division of Bristow Group, has introduced into service its first four Robinson R44 training helicopters with Garmin 500H glass cockpits with dual 6.5-inch LCDs.
Yet another sign U.S. Gulf Coast tourism has recovered from the impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill: The start of heli-tour operations in Orange Beach, Ala.
Two gunmen attempted a daring daylight helicopter prison break from a maximum-security prison in Saint-Jerome, Quebec, on Sunday.
The Robinson R44 Raven I, owned by Heli-Tremblant and operated by Quebec Helicopters, was hijacked by two gunmen during a sightseeing flight shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday and directed to fly to the prison. There, a rope line was lowered for the escapees, who were then flown to a getaway car near Mont-Tremblant, where the helicopter and pilot were located by police.
Robinson Helicopter revealed its intention to obtain approval to operate its R44 and R22 piston-engine helicopters on unleaded fuel this week at Heli-Expo. According to Robinson CEO Kurt Robinson, engine maker Lycoming needs to obtain FAA approval to burn unleaded fuels in its engines while Robinson must perform airframe testing with the fuels on board for each of its relevant helicopter models.
Gordon Jiroux, president of Universal Helicopters (Booth No. C1211) and Adam Aldous, CEO of Night Flight Concepts, awarded their first Vision Award, a full scholarship valued at up to $12,000 for night vision certification in the Robinson R44 in conjunction with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Night Flight Concepts. The scholarship includes transportation and lodging, as well as up to eight hours of flight training and 10 hours of ground training in Prescott, Ariz. The winner of the scholarship was determined from a random drawing of candidates who were attending Heli-Expo ‘13.
Helitowcart unveiled its new dual-wheel assembly for the Robinson R44 and R66 at Heli-Expo ’13, adding to its line of helicopter handling devices and accessories. Like the company’s other dual-wheel assemblies, the Robinson kit caters to personnel operating on rugged terrain, or who wish to distribute aircraft weight on four tires. The wheel assembly offers two possible heights, is constructed from heavy-duty materials and offers long-arm control to ease rotation. The assembly is also designed to maintain solid contact with the helicopter skid.
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