Turbomeca subsidiary Microturbo has completed the initial flight tests of its new auxiliary power unit for the AgustaWestland AW189. In-flight start of the e-APU60 has been demonstrated already, and the test unit has also successfully restarted one of the helicopter’s main engines in flight. Meanwhile, the e-APU60’s certification program is progressing well, with approval slated for next May.
Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW210 turboshaft has been selected to power the Eurocopter X4 medium twin, which is slated to replace the AS365/EC155 Dauphin series. Entry into service is pegged for 2017. The PW210S, a variant produced for the Sikorsky S-76D medium twin, was certified in 2011. AIN understands the X4 will be offered with two engine options, the other choice coming from Turbomeca.
Russian Helicopters’ production is on the up and the company is modernizing its factories in anticipation of this trend continuing.
Between 2004 and 2011, the company tripled production, from 85 to 262 helicopters, and last year its revenues from both civil and military rotorcraft grew 40 percent, to RUB120 billion ($4 billion).
Claiming a global market share of 14 percent by aircraft value, Andrei Reus, Russian Helicopters chairman and director general of parent company Oboronprom, ranks Russian Helicopters “third by global sales” behind Sikorsky and Eurocopter.
Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca and aircraft leasing firm Milestone Aviation Group yesterday at Heli-Expo 2012 inked a partnership on a fixed-hourly-cost maintenance program for Milestone customers flying Turbomeca-powered helicopters. “Through the Global Support Partnership, Turbomeca and Milestone are jointly developing new engine support solutions and services for Milestone’s lease customers around the world,” the companies said.
Peter Lengyel, president and CEO of Safran USA, understands why most Americans aren’t familiar with his company. After all, it is only six years old. But Safran is a huge global company with 57,000 employees worldwide and a global presence, with products aviation-industry people and air travelers probably use, one way or another, almost every day.
“We are the merger of Snecma and Sagem, which occurred in 2005. Sagem is avionics and optronics and Snecma is the largest propulsion company in the world,” said Lengyel, at the Safran display (Booth No. 7517).
Jet-Care, which provides oil- and debris-analysis services, announced a number of new contracts yesterday here at Heli-Expo 2012 in Dallas.
Among the new customers is Delta Helicopters, a private, family-owned business in Alberta, Canada. The company operates a fleet of 19 helicopters from six bases across Canada. Delta uses the Jet-Care debris-analysis program to allow in-depth examination of particles found in fluid samples from filters or magnetic chip detectors.
At a Sunday morning press event, Turbomeca chairman and CEO Olivier Andriès listed the French turbine engine manufacturer’s 2011 successes, including a recovery in production numbers from the 2010 low of 800. Turbomeca delivered 950 turboshaft engines last year, and expects to produce approximately 1,100 before the end of 2012.
At Heli-Expo today, Eurocopter unveiled the EC130 T2, an updated version of its venerable single-engine helicopter. It also announced orders for 105 of the new aircraft from seven launch customers: Maverick Helicopters, Papillon Helicopters, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Scandinavian Helicopter Group, Air Commander, Europavia and Enloe FlightCare. The EC130 T2 is powered by the Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine, which provides 10 percent more average power and lower specific fuel consumption than the original powerplant and has a higher time between overhaul interval.
Turbine engine inlet filter specialist Donaldson Aerospace & Defense has completed a year marked by new products, a new St. Louis facility, and delivery of its 5,000th inlet barrier filter system.
Olivier Andriès, who has been the CEO of Turbomeca since June, predicts that helicopter engines will become fuel-electric hybrids around 2030. He also predicted that, in about 20 years, conventional turbine engine performance will be close to an asymptote. By that, he meant further improvement of turbine technology will be enormously difficult and expensive, if not impossible. So the next step will be hybridization, he said. “We will see integrated propulsion systems using thermodynamic and electric solutions,” he told AIN.