Airbus Helicopters is taking new measures to improve its customer service and support worldwide, according to Matthieu Louvot, the company’s director of support and services. “We are more than doubling our investment in IT systems–among others–for logistics and we have put a great deal of thought in high tech systems,” he said. “Customers will notice a difference very soon.”
Aero medical transport provider EagleMed has placed an order with Donaldson (Booth No. 1002) for 11 inlet barrier filter (IBF) systems for the Airbus Helicopters AS350. The systems helps shield engines from damage from contaminants such as dirt, dust, salt and sand, as well as provide cost savings by reducing the need for unscheduled engine inspections.
Phoenix Heliparts of Mesa, Ariz. is adding to its supplemental type certificate (STC) offerings, this time by retrofitting an MD 530F with full-digital instrumentation and a modern interior. The aircraft is destined for Robert Reish of El Dorado, Calif., who has used Phoenix in the past for his helicopter refurbishments.
The amount of Rockwell Collins avionics products in helicopters continues to grow and the company is a significant supplier for AgustaWestland, Airbus Helicopters, Aviacopter, HAL, Russian Helicopters and Sikorsky. To leverage its rotorcraft capabilities, Rockwell Collins developed the HeliSure family of products, designed to help improve pilots’ situational awareness, especially in “congested and hazard-filled airspace,” according to the company.
For a close-up look at what tomorrow’s helicopter cockpits might look like, stop by the Thales booth (No. 1202) to see the company’s Avionics 2020 cockpit of the future. This version is Thales’s third iteration of its Avionics 2020 concept; earlier helicopter versions were unveiled at last year’s Paris Air Show and at the NBAA Convention.
Tiger Tugs Helicopter Transport’s newest helicopter mover–the Model 12.0–can handle helicopters weighing up to 12,000 pounds. The Model 12.0 is ideal for handling aircraft such as the Bell 212 and 412 safely and easily, according to the Bend, Ore.-based company.
Tiger Tugs (Booth No. 7616) claims to have developed a new concept for moving helicopters safely and efficiently. “We took a fresh look at the tug market, interviewed users of other tugs, then set out to design a safer and easier-to-use vehicle,” the company explained.
Prompted by industry demand, the FAA is considering approving the installation and use of TCAS II aboard helicopters but is concerned about certification challenges. Major operators have been successfully using TCAS II for several years in regions such as the North Sea.
Helicopter manufacturers aren’t immune to the pressure to update their machines with modern avionics, and last year MD Helicopters and Universal Avionics Systems unveiled a new NextGen flight deck mockup for the MD 902 Explorer. The new avionics replace aging Bendix/King EFIS 40 cathode-ray-tube displays with high-resolution 10.4-inch Universal LCDs in landscape orientation.
CEO Kurt Robinson said he is focusing on keeping his family’s helicopter company “lean and mean to provide a good product at a competitive price” to bring value to its customers. “We’re going to keep our pencils sharpened,” he told AIN. Robinson Helicopter posted another strong year in 2013, producing 523 helicopters, up from 517 in 2012 and a long climb from the 2010 rate of 162. As was the case in 2012, the piston-powered R44 continues to be the top seller, with 289 produced in 2013; but the $839,000 turbine-single R66, with 192 already delivered, remains the company cash cow.
Revue Thommen’s HSL 1600 searchlight has been selected by Sikorsky for outfitting on S-92 helicopters configured for search-and-rescue (SAR) missions. The HSL 1600 features an integrated IR-filter and laser pointer and a detection range exceeding 1,600 meters.