Lockheed Martin’s Pathfinder flight team began preparations this week to demonstrate the system to the U.S. Army in a developmental and limited-user evaluation. Pathfinder is a pilotage aid based on the M-TADS/PNVS used in the AH-64 Apache, but intended for cargo and utility aircraft. It gives pilots FLIR-based imagery on a helmet display for safer flight in reduced-vision environments, including brown-out conditions.
Eurocopter has successfully flown a production-capable testbed helicopter using fly-by-light systems to drive its primary flight controls. Known under the awkward cognomen of the active control technology demonstrator/flying helicopter simulator (ACT/FHS), the remarkable rotorcraft is a Eurocopter EC 135 airframe fitted with the new laser light control system.
Elbit Systems has been awarded a contract valued at some $20 million to supply Hermes 450 UAV systems to an unnamed European country. The order specifies both air vehicles and complementary ground systems, for delivery next year.\
Hawker Beechcraft Beech 1900C, Rumbek, Sudan, May 2, 2008–Twenty people were killed when the chartered Flex Air Cargo Unlimited Beech 1900 lost power in both engines and crashed near Rumbek. The flight departed Wau in Southern Sudan, en route to Juba, also in southern Sudan, with a planned stop at Rumbek. An NTSB technical advisor is assisting the Government of Southern Sudan in the investigation.
Israel has requested the possible sale of 25 Hawker Beechcraft T-6A Texan II basic pilot training aircraft. The Israeli Air Force is the last user of the French Fouga Magister basic jet trainer, which dates from the early 1960s. These aircraft have high fuel and maintenance costs and poor serviceability. If Israel takes all the requested options, the order could cost $190 million.
Avolar, the “stand alone” UAL Corp. subsidiary created in April to launch a new business aviation venture, has declared that despite the September 11 terrorist attacks and their devastating impact on America’s aviation industry, “Our business plan is unchanged; however, Avolar is now seeking equity investors to share the burden of funding.” Avolar was originally created as United BizJet Holdings.
New Berlin, Wisconsin-based EMTEQ (Booth No. 1336) has finalized the acquisition of Cable Technologies of Montana Inc. (CTI), a manufacturer of wire and cable related assemblies based in Great Falls, Montana. EMTEQ specializes in avionics systems and integration, lighting and “cabin comfort” for business aircraft and helicopters, as well as military and air transport aircraft.
Under the general heading of “We’re surprised it hadn’t happened sooner” comes this story from James City, Va. about a helicopter that made what may, or may not, have been an emergency landing and the trigger-happy neighbor who, convinced he was witnessing terrorist activity, took a couple of potshots at the rotorcraft with his handy assault rifle. At 8 a.m.
Plano, Texas Police threatened to close the airspace over future news events after helicopters from nearby television stations disrupted their attempts to end an armed, 12-hour standoff in March. Police said noise from orbiting television stations’ news helicopters hampered tactical officers’ ability to communicate with the suspect.
A union leader has accused American Eagle of declaring war on its pilots after the company announced it was transferring 14 regional jets to another airline.