A UK inquiry into the April 2009 fatal crash of a Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma in the North Sea begins today in Aberdeen, Scotland. Operated by Bond Helicopters, the rotorcraft suffered a main rotor gearbox failure and crashed into the sea off the Aberdeenshire coast while returning from an oil platform. The accident killed the two pilots and all 14 passengers aboard.
The largest helicopter EMS provider in the U.S. is continuing its foray into the air-tour business. Air Methods has acquired Blue Hawaiian helicopters for an undisclosed sum. Blue Hawaiian flies a mixed fleet of 24 Eurocopter EC130s and AS350s and operates tours on five of Hawaii’s six islands. Last year it posted revenues of $47 million.
With Brazil-based BHS Helicopter, Omni and Aeróleo Taxi Aéro resuming Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma operations, all operators have reinstated the type, the helicopter manufacturer announced last week. The three Brazilian companies fly in support of Petrobras’s offshore oil-and-gas activities. The medium twin returned to service in July with Angola’s Sonair and gradually in other parts of the world, with 75 percent of the fleet back in operation as of December 20. Eurocopter identifies the other operators as CHC Helicopter, Bristow, Bond, Blueway DanCopter, Era and MHS Aviation Berhad.
The Eurocopter EC135 light twin that crashed into a busy pub on November 29 in Glasgow, Scotland, was intact when it hit the roof, but neither the main rotor nor the fenestron tail rotor were rotating at that time, the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch preliminary report reveals. The helicopter had been flying for one hour and 33 minutes when the pilot requested clearance to return to Glasgow City Heliport. No further radio transmission was received.
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.