John Garrison, president and CEO of Bell Helicopter, announced yesterday morning at the Paris Air Show that it is developing a new “short, light single” (SLS) helicopter that will be powered by a Turbomeca Arrius 2R turboshaft engine. The new, “clean sheet” aircraft, which Garrison said is expected to fly next year, will be the first Bell helicopter to be powered by a Turbomeca engine. Certification of the new helicopter will take place “as quickly as possible” after the first flight.
The diesel engine demonstrator, which may replace turboshafts in light helicopters, is on track for flight tests on a Eurocopter EC120 in the second half of next year. It will feature a power-to-weight ratio between those of a general aviation diesel and a turboshaft. The engine is part of the Green Rotorcraft integrated technology demonstrator (ITD), itself part of Clean Sky, the European Union’s €1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) joint technology initiative.
Responding to demand from the aeromedical industry, Jet Support Services (JSSI) is adding Eurocopter EC135/145 services to its lineup. “We did a market-share analysis last June and found a total of 633 Eurocopter EC135s and 377 EC145s in service worldwide,” Kandi Spangler, JSSI v-p of marketing, told AIN.
Blue is the new green. Prompted by environmental concerns–regulatory and otherwise– Eurocopter took advantage of the Heli-Expo platform to formally launch its Bluecoptor program.
Bluecopter first emerged from a demonstrator EC120 modified to use a “high compression” diesel engine instead of the usual 504-shp Turbomeca Arrius turboshaft engine. The helicopter OEM is expecting a 40-percent reduction in fuel consumption.
Russian Helicopters is relaunching production of the Mi-34S1 light piston helicopter and simultaneously working on a turbine version, the Mi-34S2 Sapsan, powered by a Turbomeca Arrius 2F. The Sapsan (Russian for peregrine falcon) is expected to be certified under U.S. FAR 27 and European CS 27 regulations.
The FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive for Turbomeca Arrius 2F turboshaft engines, citing insufficient clearance between the P3 air pipe and the rear right bulkhead. According to AD 2008-NE-43, investigations have shown that both the P3 air pipe and the rear right bulkhead were compliant with the original approved design.
Eurocopter Canada has announced the delivery of its 500th helicopter in the country–an AS355 NP Ecureuil light twin. The NP is an upgraded version with Turbomeca Arrius 1A1 engines that provide a 20-percent payload improvement. Customer Phoenix Heli-Flight is based in Fort McMurray, Alberta. It performs medevac, firefighting, passenger transport and various kinds of aerial work operations.
At last month’s Paris Air Show Eurocopter delivered the first upgraded Ecureuil/TwinStar, the AS 355NP, its current light twin offering. According to the Marignane, France-based manufacturer, the helicopter offers better performance, an enhanced cockpit and improved cabin interior. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified the aircraft on February 15. Transport Canada and Russian certifications are expected later this year.
The new Eurocopter AS 355 NP Ecureuil on display here at Le Bourget will shortly be delivered to the first customer, Scandinavian Helicopter Group. The Swedish operator uses its fleet of rotorcraft mainly for passenger transport and aerial work.
Here at the Paris Air Show, helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca announced three contracts for its support-by-the-hour (SBH) scheme.