Health and usage monitoring systems (Hums) have been available for integration with fixed-wing flight deck avionics for some time. The idea is to have a central point that monitors aircraft systems to provide an up-to-the-minute look at the overall health of the aircraft. An indication of excessive temperature, for example, could foreshadow a component or system failure.
The fact that Sikorsky’s experimental X2 is a compound helicopter will not exclude it from setting an official helicopter speed record, according to Marcel Meyer, executive officer of records for the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, the world aviation record sanctioning body.
Heavy-lift helicopters from private contractors and the military are continuing to play a critical role in restoring the Gulf of Mexico's ecosystem in the wake of the BP oil spill. This month, Columbia Helicopters is flying a pair of Boeing Vertol 107-IIs equipped with brush grapples to remove sections of hard and soft boom that had been placed to protect estuaries from encroaching oil.
In its just-released world commercial helicopter market report, research firm Frost & Sullivan expects the segment to expand from 24,625 helicopters in 2009 to 36,946 in 2015.
Sikorsky Aircraft announced the X2 project just over five years ago at the 2005 Paris Air Show. Now the one and only example of what the helicopter maker calls a “technology demonstrator” is poised to break the record as the world’s fastest rotorcraft as it works its way toward a target speed of 250 knots and further proof of concept.
Financial results for 2009 showed that AgustaWestland (Booth No. 7020) is spending more on research and development than its rival Eurocopter (Booth No. 7010). The latter gives a high profile to its R&D efforts, while the former has consistently been much quieter. Nonetheless, Europe’s leading helicopter manufacturers have joined forces for Clean Sky, a major research project partly funded by the European Commission (EC).
Eurocopter’s research and development teams are working on several programs
to enhance cabin comfort by creating a smoother–and quieter–ride.
Among the solutions on the horizon is a five-blade main rotor for the EC155
and EC225, and a piezo-active rotor designated Blue Pulse.
The Clean Sky joint technology initiative, a e1.6 billion ($2.2 billion) private-public partnership on aeronautical research in Europe, has issued its third call for proposals. Working toward the development of a green rotorcraft, the consortium is focusing on engines, aerodynamics and tiltrotors.
Bell 407, Decatur, Texas, Dec. 25, 2009–The medevac helicopter was departing on a Part 91 positioning flight to pick up a patient when it lost all engine power at a height of about 100 feet, according to the pilot, who autorotated the helicopter back to the original helipad. The 407 sustained structural damage to its lower fuselage as it landed hard in an upright position.
Russian Helicopters has begun marketing the Ka-32A11BC coaxial helicopter for more U.S. firefighting work. The helicopter has been used successfully in Chile and Mexico in this role, and one based in Canada was summoned last year to help battle a blaze in Idaho.