Under the codename X6, Eurocopter is reported to be about to launch a new helicopter line that will supersede the AS332/EC225 Super Puma medium-twin series, according to French financial publication Sud Infos. The Marignane, France-based manufacturer reportedly aims to have the new helicopter in service by 2020. The first AS332 Super Puma was delivered in 1981.
A senior AgustaWestland executive told AIN late last week that the company was giving serious consideration to building production models of the AW609 civil tiltrotor in the U.S., possibly in Texas. Robert LaBelle, managing director of the AgustaWestland Tilt-Rotor Co., said the aircraft initially would be built partially in Italy and the U.S., but that the ultimate decision on where to conduct final assembly would be “driven by the customer base” and that “35 percent of that is predicted to be in the United States.”
A study commissioned by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) recommends the resumption of night flights to offshore oil and gas platforms in the region and lays out a plan that incorporates upgraded and specific safety measures.
The U.S. Navy released a draft request for proposals (RFP) for the long-delayed VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program on November 23. The draft RFP revives an acquisition program that was cancelled more than three years ago. The formal RFP is expected to follow early next year.
The FAA is proposing an Airworthiness Directive for the Brantly International B-2, B-2A, and B-2B helicopters with a certain main rotor blade. The proposed AD was prompted by multiple reports of main rotor blade cracks and a 2007 accident in New Zealand in which a crack that originated near the main rotor blade trailing edge resulted in the loss of a large section of the blade.
The Z-10 and Z-19 helicopters both made their public debuts at Airshow China in Zhuhai last week. The Changhe-built Z-10 performed daily during the show, while the Harbin-built Z-19 appeared twice. Neither was available for close inspection in the static park. Both are tandem-seat machines with nose-mounted gyro-stabilized sensor/targeting “ball”-style turret, and stubby wings with weapons pylons.
Next year’s Heli-Expo show in Las Vegas (March 4-7, 2013) will include the Helicopter Association International’s (HAI) new safety education initiative called the Rotor Safety Challenge. The seminar series will offer 30 different safety topics designed to enhance safety in the rotorcraft industry worldwide. The 60-minute sessions–offered at no charge to attendees–will focus on four different safety tracks; flight operations, maintenance, safety culture and leadership and safety management.
Eurocopter announced today that Starlite Aviation is the launch customer for the new AS332C1e Super Puma medium-twin helicopter, a shorter-fuselage version that observers see as the manufacturer’s response to low-cost alternatives from Russia. The contract calls for two of the new helicopters to be delivered by the end of next year, following FAA and EASA certification. Starlite also has options for another two helicopters.
The U.S. Air Force issued a request for proposals (RFP) for its “high priority” combat rescue helicopter (CRH) acquisition on October 19. The RFP begins a second campaign to replace the service’s HH-60G Pave Hawk search-and-rescue helicopters. In 2009 the Pentagon cancelled the original replacement program, which had been awarded three years earlier to Boeing for the HH-47 Chinook, after successive contractor protests and delays.
Dublin, Ireland-based Milestone Aviation claims to be on track to lease $1 billion worth of helicopters by year-end. The company, created in 2010 by former NetJets top execs Richard Santulli and William Kelly, provides various leasing arrangements to helicopter operators, from lease on new helicopter delivery–the customer chooses the aircraft, negotiates the contract and then assigns it to Milestone–to sale-leaseback.