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.
Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services North America (Vector HS-NA) has introduced new services at its facility in Richmond, B.C., Canada, covering the Airbus Helicopters AS350, AS355 and EC130B4. A factory-approved maintenance and repair center, Vector HS-NA offers 12-year inspection service as well as structural repair capability on canopies, floors and aft structural assemblies, tail booms and vertical stabilizers. Also available are full component overhauls on Arriel 1 and Arriel 2 turboshafts, including lease and exchange engines.
North Flight Data Systems (Booth No. 413) of Shreveport, La., announced here at Heli-Expo that it has received a supplemental type certificate (STC) that adds the Bell 407GX to the list of model 407 series helicopters certified for its CVR/FDR (cockpit voice recorder/flight data recorder) system. It also received STC approval for installation in the Airbus Helicopters AS350B3 and the EC130B4 models.
Vector Aerospace has announced several new maintenance agreements for its Helicopter Services-North America (HS-NA) subsidiary. The rotorcraft MRO services company has signed a two-year agreement with Brazilian MRO provider Helipark to provide repair and overhaul support for the Turbomeca Arriel 1 and Rolls-Royce M250 engines. Vector plans to open a new 29,000-sq-ft MRO facility in Jacarei, Brazil this year, as part of an initiative to grow its South American customer base.
Airbus Helicopters announced a newly signed contract and a slew of deliveries for AS350 series helicopters during Heli-Expo 2014.
Airbus Helicopters España CEO Francisco Verge got the contract signed last week to supply seven new helicopters to the Spanish traffic department and national police, for delivery between 2014 and 2016. The helicopters include four twin-engine AS355NP Ecureuils and three EC135s.
Soloy Aviation (Booth No. 22) is continuing with its line of aftermarket solutions for helicopter operators and the company flew an AS350 to Heli-Expo to highlight its re-engining and other mod programs.
Soloy’s new electronic engine management system (EEMS) provides a graphical representation of engine gauges and is designed as the primary engine instrumentation for AS350s with the Soloy SD2 conversion kit. The SD2 features the Honeywell LTS101-700D-2 engine.
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