Contract negotiations between the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate and AVX Helicopter, Bell Helicopter and the Sikorsky/Boeing team–the potential Phase I vendors for the joint multi-role technology demonstrator (JMR-TD)–are nearing completion. Announcement of the awards for a new U.S. Army medium helicopter are planned for September, according to an Army spokesman.
The EASA approved the interim solution–a combination of vibration monitoring, inspections and part modification–that Eurocopter devised for the EC225 to address main gearbox (MGB) lubrication issues after the type experienced two controlled ditchings last year. The manufacturer’s fix is intended to reduce the likelihood of an undetected crack, leading to in-flight rupture and ditching, to one per billion flight hours. At issue is the bevel gear vertical shaft, a part that is critical to main gearbox lubrication.
Milestone Aviation Group, the helicopter leasing firm headed by NetJets founder Richard Santulli, closed a new $300 million credit facility yesterday. The company will use these proceeds to acquire and lease helicopters–including Sikorsky S-92s, Eurocopter EC225s and AgustaWestland AW189s and AW139s–valued at $400 million to affiliates of Bristow Group. The credit facility is the largest ever for a helicopter lessor, the company said.
The German defense ministry ordered 15 Eurocopter EC645T2 light utility helicopters worth €194 million. They will be used by the Kommando Spezialkraefte, Germany’s Special Forces Command. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2015 and run through mid-2017.
The first ICH-47F Chinook helicopter destined for the Italian army made its maiden flight on June 24 at Vergiate, in northern Italy, program prime contractor AgustaWestland announced.
The FAA proposes a new airworthiness directive for the Eurocopter EC135P1, EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135T1, EC135T2 and EC135T2+. It requires analyzing the main gearbox (MGB) oil for indications of metal chips or pieces, reviewing the MGB log or equivalent record, and inspecting certain teeth in the MGB after two chip indications.
Preliminary Report: Turboprop Accident in Nepal #1
De Havilland Canada DHC-6, Jomsom Airport (VNJS), Nepal, May 16, 2013–The Twin Otter was destroyed while landing at Nepal’s Jomsom Airport, seriously injuring six of 21 people aboard. Operated in regular passenger service by Nepal Airlines, the twin turboprop skidded off the airport’s 1,742-foot runway, traveled down a nearby slope and came to rest on the banks of the Kali Gandaki River.
Preliminary Report: Turboprop Accident in Nepal #2
Making its Paris Air Show debut is the Russian Helicopters/Kamov Ka-62, a 6,500-kg mtow, 15-passenger helicopter in the same class as the AgustaWestland AW139, Eurocopter EC155 and Sikorsky S-76 series. The mockup made it first appearance on the international show circuit at last year’s Farnborough Air Show.
Innovation at AgustaWestland, according to Robert Farnese, company market positioning and promotion manager, comprises two elements. “First, you need to have an idea that works,” he told a Paris Air Show audience on Tuesday. “Second, you have to execute that idea.” He then added a caveat: “You must also master the present and have a vision for the future.”
Turning heads at Le Bourget whenever it takes to the skies is Kamov’s Ka-52 helicopter. Its co-axial rotor blades and comprehensive weapons suite mark it out from the herd and, amazingly for a helicopter, it even has ejection seats. With the Ka-52 now in Russian army service and being touted for export, the design bureau is busy working on a maritime version for the Russian navy.