Satcom system maker TrueNorth Avionics last month introduced a two-channel airborne telephone system for the cabin called Simphone Prelude that is designed for installation in light jets and turboprops. It is based on Simphone equipment for large jets and features the company’s ClearCall technology, menu-driven handsets and all-digital architecture.
Sikorsky’s futuristic X2 is up and flying, but it could be a decade before the technology is applied commercially, according to program manager Jim Kagdis.
The first production model of a new generation of Marine One U.S. Presidential helicopters made its initial flight earlier today at AgustaWestland’s plant in Yeovil, England. Designated by the U.S. Navy as VH-71, the helicopter is based on the three-engine AW101. The first block of five helicopters is scheduled to begin entering service next year. The Navy has been test flying four prototype block one aircraft over the past year.
Just a few short years ago, the manufacturers of small, low-cost helicopters targeted Asia as the market of the future for their brand of inexpensive vertical-lift aircraft. And few onlookers took them seriously. Today it seems that some of these small helicopter crafters are laughing all the way to the bank.
Sikorsky announced this week that it has sold two S-92 helicopters to the International Handling Co. (IHC). The contract includes the option to purchase four additional S-92 helicopters configured for offshore oil missions.
Delivery of the first aircraft is expected to take place in 2010. IHC, an Azerbaijan-based operator, plans to expand its service to the growing offshore oil industry based in Eurasia.
Dean Borgman, president of Sikorsky Aircraft since 1998, has been appointed chairman of the company. Named to succeed him as president is Stephen Finger, who previously served as president of Pratt & Whitney’s military engines business. Both appointments took effect last month.
“What’s the difference between fractional helicopter operations and fractional business jet operations?” asked one fractional sales professional rhetorically. “Well, it’s like comparing a rare tropical orchid with dandelions. The orchid can grow and prosper in only a special and rather rare environment, while the dandelion sprouts up just about anywhere there’s sunlight and water.
The in-service fleet of Sikorsky S-92 medium-twin helicopters reached 100,000 total flight hours, the company announced last month. The first production S-92 was delivered in late 2004. There are now 67 S-92s in service, 11 of which fly an estimated 130 to 170 hours per month. To date, 13 of the aircraft have logged more than 3,500 flight hours.
Equipment and systems supplier Hamilton Sundstrand has announced pre-show product-support agreements worth almost $350 million. It also won contracts to supply power controllers for the Airbus A350 and control systems for Pratt & Whitney’s PW810C and PW1000G engines. The company’s NP2000 propeller is flying test missions on a C-130, while its propeller for the Airbus A400M spins on another C-130 test bed.
Sikorsky has claimed the number-two position among the world’s helicopter manufacturers, declared CEO Jeff Pino here on Monday. “We are the second largest helicopter manufacturer by revenues and we will soon compete with Eurocopter for the number one position,” said Pino, who has seen his company’s turnover grow on a 22-percent trend, against a 13-percent industry average.