Sikorsky Aircraft wrapped up whirl testing of a demonstration rotor system with active flaps as part of the company’s “commitment to design, develop, test and ultimately field next-generation technologies that will advance the current state of rotorcraft.” Development partners on the project are United Technologies Research Center for the blades and Hamilton Sundstrand Claverham for the flap actuators.
Bell OH-58C, Quitman, Ark., Nov. 16, 2008–The helicopter, registered to and operated by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, was substantially damaged and its passenger killed when it landed hard in a field at night. Operating under Part 91, the helicopter took off from Heber Springs Municipal Airport around 11:30 p.m. and was flying in support of ground units attempting to apprehend people hunting deer illegally at night.
Bell 206A, Barnesville, Pa., Aug. 22, 2008–The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the helicopter during a low-speed, low-altitude maneuver resulted in the loss of tail-rotor effectiveness, the NTSB ruled. The helicopter was engaged in a stunt that involved the dropping of golf balls over a golf course when a witness observed that it was flying erratically with slight roll and fore and aft pitch oscillations.
Kaman K-1200, Santa Clarita, Calif., Dec. 17, 2008– The helicopter sustained substantial damage after being upset by a strong gust of wind while standing with engines running and rotors turning. A ground crewman was killed in the accident.
Northern Wisconsin forests are experiencing their worst drought in 70 years. The area’s abundant freshwater lakes have receded to record low levels and, although the spring had been unseasonably cold, by the end of May fire danger was high. More than 946 wild fires had consumed over 2,600 acres throughout the state and fire danger in the vast 1.5 million acre Cheqaumegon-Nicolet National Forest was so severe that the U.S.
Russian manufacturers Kamov and Mil are developing advanced high-speed helicopter (AHSH) designs with the goal of creating a helicopter that flies as fast as
Israel’s Urban Aeronautics is ground-testing its unmanned Mule fancraft, an unconventional rotorcraft featuring two shrouded main rotors in tandem configuration that should one day have a manned version for rescue missions in cities. The first untethered flight of the Mule, originally scheduled to take place in the spring, has been postponed until September or October.
Sikorsky S-76A, Santa Maria, Calif., June 27, 2008–The pilot’s misjudgment of clearance from an object during a hovering turn for landing was the probable cause of the crash of an S-76A operated under Part 135 by Arctic Air Service, the NTSB has determined. Contributing to the accident was an inadequately marked heliport surface and the close proximity of an obstruction to the landing area.
Bell 222, Milliken, Colo., March 13, 2009–Several parts were seen to fall off the helicopter while in flight, landing in the observer’s yard and the neighboring property. The commercial pilot said he was flying in cruise at approximately 1,500 feet when he felt “a bump on the controls,” heard a bang and thought he had hit a bird. The pilot returned to his departure airport 45 miles away.