Three Chinese general aviation operators signed orders and commitments with Airbus Helicopters yesterday for 123 light singles and twins, including AS350s, EC130s and EC135s. Fujian Xinmei General Aviation (GAC) will be acquiring five AS350B3es, to be delivered this year. The company, which focuses on agricultural and utility work, has committed to another 50 light singles and twins over the next six years.
Mid Atlantic Sim Center, a newly formed helicopter training organization in Iceland, has signed an agreement with simulator manufacturer Indra for Europe’s first level-D full-flight simulator for the Airbus Helicopters AS350. Plans call for the FAA-/EASA-certified device, convertible between the B2 and B3 models, to be operational at the company’s new facility in Reykjavik in the first quarter of 2016.
The FAA has issued an NPRM to supersede airworthiness directive 2013-21-01, which currently applies to the Airbus Helicopters AS350B/BA/B1/B2/B3/C/D/D1 and AS355E/F/F1/F2/N/NP. The current AD requires certain inspections of each tail-rotor pitch horn assembly for a crack and, if there is a crack, replacing the pitch horn with an airworthy pitch horn before further flight. It also requires a one-time visual inspection for pitch horns above certain hours time-in-service (TIS).
The pilot of a Papillon Airways air-tour Airbus AS350B3 was killed May 18 at a helistop at the bottom of the Grand Canyon after exiting the helicopter for a fluid check while leaving the engine running and the blades turning, according to an NTSB preliminary report issued on Tuesday. Witnesses said the empty helicopter then became airborne, hit the ground and rolled over. Its rotor blades struck and killed the pilot.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada last week published a final report on the January 2012 crash of an Airbus Helicopters AS350B3 operated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The pilot was killed after the engine failed while the helicopter was hovering at an altitude of 80 feet above the ground.
The NTSB has begun trying to learn what caused the pilot of a Eurocopter AS350B2 to lose control of the newsgathering rotorcraft moments after liftoff from a TV station helipad in downtown Seattle on March 18. The pilot and a TV station photographer were killed in the accident.
NTSB investigators are examining the tail-rotor drive assembly following the fatal crash of a 2003 Airbus Helicopters AS350B2–registered as N250FB–that plunged from its sixth-floor helipad to a Seattle street on Tuesday morning. Pilot Gary Pfitzner, 59, and cameraman Bill Strothman, 62, were killed in the crash, and a person on the ground was seriously injured.
Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services North America (HS-NA) has signed a five-year exclusive MRO support contract with air-tour operator Sunshine Helicopters of Kahulu, Maui. The agreement will cover Sunshine Helicopters’ Arriel 1 and Arriel 2 engines, and Airbus AS350, AS355 and EC130 dynamic components.
“This support agreement solidifies Vector’s commitment to Sunshine to provide MRO support for its fleet of Airbus Helicopters tour aircraft,” said Eric Hicks, regional sales director at HS-NA.
Donald Shinnamon, Sr., the recipient of the MD Helicopters Law Enforcement Award here at Heli-Expo 2014, credits his father with his interest in both aviation and law enforcement. Though not involved in aviation work, during World War II his father was stationed at NAS Patuxent River in Maryland, home of the Naval Test Pilot School, where he acquired his enthusiasm for aviation. After the war, the elder Shinnamon became a police officer in the Baltimore County Police Department.
Dart Aerospace (Booth No. 6814) has improved on its quick release heli-utility basket for the Airbus AS350 and AS355 helicopters. The new baskets can handle up to 100 pounds more load (332 pounds total) without any Vne restriction. The 96-inch or 56.8-inch-long baskets can be installed on either side of the aircraft by one person with no tools, in just one minute, and are equipped with lightweight fabric lids or, if the operator prefers, a heavy duty metal lid. The baskets are compatible with space pods and squirrel cheeks and sport integrated carrying handles.
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