UK Royal Air Force (RAF) crews have begun training on the Eurocopter Puma Mk 2, although the two squadrons will not be cleared for service until 2015. Under a contract signed in 2009, Eurocopter is upgrading 24 of the 40-year-old helicopters with new engines, glass cockpits, digital autopilot and other improvements. Seven have been redelivered to date.
A new artist rendering of the in-development Eurocopter X4 medium-twin helicopter appeared today during a presentation made at the EASA Rotorcraft Symposium in Cologne, showing design changes made since 2011. A horizontal empennage with a two-level lifting surface is visible on the tailboom, forward of the shrouded tail rotor. The fuselage, aft of the cabin, includes a “skirt,” the role of which is still unknown.
A Eurocopter EC135T2i light twin helicopter, operated by Bond Air Services for Police Scotland, crashed into a busy pub in Glasgow on Friday night, killing nine and injuring more than 30. Among the nine fatalities are the helicopter’s three occupants–a Bond pilot and two police officers.
The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is investigating, along with Eurocopter engineers. Eurocopter asserted that since the four main rotor blades are still attached to the main rotor mast, a crack in the mast is unlikely to have caused the accident.
Offshore oil-and-gas helicopter operator PHI recently conducted the first operational flights of a Sikorsky S-92 equipped with the new “rig approach” automated system, the U.S.-based rotorcraft manufacturer has announced. Earlier this year, Sikorsky and PHI pilots flew two FAA demonstration operations to oil rigs off the coast of Louisiana.
Bell Helicopter (Chalet A48) is aiming for the first flights of the Bell 525 Relentless and Bell SLS late next year, and the two engineering teams working on the new helicopters are engaged in a friendly race, CEO John Garrison said here on Monday.
“The Middle East remains a very important market for AgustaWestland,” said CEO Daniele Romiti on the eve of this year’s Dubai Airshow. “It is a challenging market, where personal relationships have a great importance,” he added.
Quest Aviation Solutions has put plans to develop the Gulf region’s first locally-produced helicopter on ice to take up an opportunity to become sales distributor for MD Helicopters. In a deal announced here at the Dubai Airshow this week, Quest will be appointed as the U.S. manufacturer’s representative in the UAE. It is reviewing a project launched two years ago to begin local production of a Ukrainian-designed helicopter called AVQ.
Last week Iraq took delivery of the first batch of Mil helicopters from the Rostvertol factory. Four Mi-35Ms were delivered to Iraq, their arrival being announced by Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki. Iraqi managers, crews and technicians have been training at the Russian army’s Torzhok center, with the first group completing its course in late September. Following the delivery of the initial batch will be at least two more Mi-35Ms, and a sizeable batch of Mil Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopters.
Bell Helicopter recently delivered seven of an order for 15 Bell 429s light twin-engine helicopters to the Turkish National Police. The helicopters were accepted during September and October by the police, which immediately started operating them for surveillance, personnel transport and air support of ground operations. Each aircraft is equipped with multi-sensor cameras and microwave downlink.
Eurocopter used the Helitech show to highlight some recent contracts. First, the UK-based Avincis group announced a firm order for three EC225s. The first two aircraft will be delivered next month, with the third slated to arrive in next year’s second half.