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.
Here at the Paris Air Show, helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca announced three contracts for its support-by-the-hour (SBH) scheme.
No aircraft flies with MTU engines, and yet MTU is involved in one third of all aircraft engine programs. MTU is the largest independent maintenance provider for aircraft engines and is associated with the production in many major engine programs. It is also leading Europe’s NEWAC research program, aiming to develop a new-technology engine-core concept.
French-based engine maker Turbomeca has chosen Monroe, N.C. for its new parts factory. Dubbed Turbomeca Manufacturing, it will initially produce parts for the Arriel 1E2 turboshaft engines that power the U.S. Army’s UH-72A, the military version of the Eurocopter EC 145 twin. The Safran subsidiary won a $2.5 million grant from the North Carolina Economic Investment Committee.
Turbomeca is endeavoring to improve product support after customers voiced dissatisfaction, notably about parts availability. The French-based turboshaft engine manufacturer ranked last among engine manufacturers in AIN’s 2006 product support survey, with an average 5.17 for parts availability.
The European general aviation industry on May 22launched a counterpart to the U.S. General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Dubbed EGAMA, the European general aviation manufacturer group will be a “high-level sectoral group” inside the AeroSpace and Defense industries association of Europe (ASD).
The pace of new technology infusion in helicopter turbine engines is not slowing.
General Electric, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Rolls-Royce all have significant civil turboshaft development in progress. Turbomeca has no major program under way, apart from the (mostly military) Ardiden. But the French-based firm has precise views about future key technology advancements.
French engine manufacturer Turbomeca is on a mission to increase its worldwide production capacity by 25 percent this year and is shopping for a location on the East Coast to build a U.S. plant, according to a company spokeswoman.
A strengthening worldwide market for civil and military helicopters is responsible for keeping senior executives at engine-maker Rolls-Royce jubilant–but not satisfied.
Looking to the near-term future, Rolls-Royce views unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and emerging civil markets in China and India as the next big growth areas, according to Scott Crislip, president of helicopters and small gas turbine engines for the UK manufacturer.
Jet-Care International of Cedar Knolls, N.J., and its sister company Spectro of the UK and Switzerland, have won multi-year contracts to analyze engine oil and debris. The companies are exhibiting in Heli-Expo Booth No. 709.