The largest privately held offshore oil and gas helicopter operator in the Gulf of Mexico announced a sweeping restructuring last month that includes refinancing, rebranding and the appointment of a new CEO. Rotorcraft Leasing will now be known as RLC. The company announced that it has secured a “strategic investment” of an undisclosed amount from Sankaty Advisors.
Eurocopter has fully launched the replacement program for its AS365/EC155 Dauphin and is targeting 2016 for entry into service for the first iteration, with a more advanced version to enter service several years later. Codenamed X4, the helicopter will feature a radically new cockpit, fly-by-wire controls and low-noise main rotor blades.
Heli-Union, an offshore oil and gas operator based in Toussus-le-Noble, near Paris, celebrated its 50th anniversary and simultaneously inked a firm order for four Eurocopter EC175s. Deliveries are to start in 2013. Meanwhile, it took delivery of two Sikorsky S-76C++s.
Special conditions for the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S turboshaft, which is powering the in-development Sikorsky S-76D, have been issued by the FAA and are now effective, on the grounds that the engine has “a novel or unusual design feature”–engine operation in APU mode. Despite the additional testing required, certification of the engine is still targeted for September.
Sikorsky’s X2 technology demonstrator, a high-speed semi-compound helicopter, flew for the last time on July 14 at the company’s West Palm Beach, Fla. test center, in front of a number of the manufacturer’s military and commercial customers. The sortie took place without the central hub fairing (also known as an “aero sail”), which will not be tested in flight.
Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS) has named Ruag Aviation’s Alpnach helicopter facility in Switzerland an authorized customer service center (CSC) to support the Sikorsky S-76. “The Alpnach customer service center will be a key support facility for the future expansion of Sikorsky’s S-76 commercial aircraft fleet in southeast and south-central Europe,” said Frank DiPasquale, v-p of sales and strategic relationships for SAS.
UK operator PremiAir is at EBACE (Stand 843) showcasing its private jet and executive helicopter management and charter services. The company also provides maintenance for both fixed-wing and rotary aircraft and operates a Hawker Beechcraft service center at Oxford Airport.
Sikorsky Aircraft and Milestone Aviation Group of Dublin, Ireland, announced jointly yesterday Milestone’s order for five Sikorsky S-76C++ helicopters, for delivery to Milestone in the second half of this year. Milestone (Booth No. 4042) plans to offer the new helicopters for lease to helicopter operators anywhere in the world.
Buoyed by steady and solid U.S. government and international work, Sikorsky is demonstrating strong hover performance in challenging economic conditions, and president Jeff Pino’s press conference yesterday morning was one of the more information-rich sessions here at Heli-Expo.
AgustaWestland’s AW169, introduced last summer at the Farnborough airshow, made its Heli-Expo debut today, and the Finmeccanica company says the program “is progressing as planned.” The new multipurpose twin will meet requirements for Category A, Class 1 operations and IFR single- and dual-pilot operations.