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.
Eurocopter AS350B2 buyer Saul Maia has selected Uniflight’s Grand Prairie, Texas, maintenance and completions facility to perform a VIP completion on the helicopter. Maia’s AS350B2 was delivered to Uniflight last month. “I looked at a variety of completion houses,” Maia said. “There are many out there to choose from. I talked to industry people who I trust. I really did my homework. In the end, Uniflight was the obvious choice for me. I am very confident in the staff that I met there and their capability to give me the aircraft I imagine in my mind.”
Cessna’s 206 piston-powered single is a great airplane, but replacing the original Continental Motors or Lycoming engine with a smooth-running Rolls-Royce 250 makes the 206 a powerful performer that is quieter and easier to fly. Soloy Aviation Solutions has been stuffing the RR250 (formerly Allison) into the 206 since the mid-1980s, and demand for the extensive modification along with other 206 upgrades continues to grow.
Moshe Yanai, data-storage entrepreneur and aircraft owner-pilot, is seeing the fruits of his labor to establish two widely dispersed on-demand, air-taxi operations: Tel Aviv Executive Helicopters in Israel and Boston Executive Helicopters in Norwood, Mass.
The company operates an Aerospatiale AStar and TwinStar in Israel, and an AStar at Norwood Memorial Airport serving the U.S. Northeast. A TwinStar is scheduled to join the U.S. business soon.
A 1989 Eurocopter AS350B2 registered to Sundance Helicopters crashed December 7 during a twilight tour flight near Nevada’s Hoover Dam, killing all five aboard. The helicopter crashed the day after it was returned from maintenance for a 100-hour inspection and the replacement of its Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 engine, a main-rotor blade actuator and a tail-rotor actuator due to life-limit requirements.
Seeing a need for on-demand business transportation in two specific locations, data-storage entrepreneur and pilot Moshe Yanai is now in operation with his Boston Executive Helicopters in Norwood, Mass., and Tel Aviv Executive Helicopters in Israel.
The FAA has issued a Final Rule amendment superseding an existing airworthiness directive for specified Eurocopter AS350s and AS355s with certain tail-rotor pitch-control rods installed.
Eurocopter announced today that it has flown a “hybrid” AS350 Ecureuil/AStar, a production helicopter that combines a turboshaft internal combustion engine with an electric motor. To explore the hybrid concept, the company is using the “supplementary” electric motor to replace the main engine during what would otherwise be called an autorotation.
Eurocopter is upgrading most of its product range, with the goal of providing improved performance and reduced costs. The manufacturer is reporting progress on the developments of the AS350B3e Ecureuil (AStar), EC135T2e/P2e, EC145T2, AS365N3e and Super Puma L1e/C1e. All were announced at Heli-Expo 2011 in February.
The only rotorcraft on display at Jet Expo 2011 was the Bell 429, of which the first example to be delivered to Russia arrived in June. The helicopter came in crates and was assembled at the Moscow aircraft repair plant with help of Russian rotorcraft maker Kazan.