This year marks the 100th birthday of the helicopter, but it is actually difficult to be sure who deserves the title of “first to fly a manned rotorcraft.” Frenchmen Louis Breguet, Paul Cornu and Maurice Léger all achieved some sort of takeoff in 1907, but in reality this branch of aviation began more than a century before.
Bell is planning to add the second 429 prototype to its flight-test effort next month. The first example of the new light-twin helicopter has already convinced design engineers that they can stay with a four-blade tail rotor.
An accident caused by the loss of a tail-rotor blade prompted the FAA to issue an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) for the MD 369 series. The agency said it reviewed MD Helicopter service bulletins affecting tail rotor blades in operation with a machining defect, and the AD is requiring inspections before further flight. Bores of the tail-rotor blade root fittings should be checked.
Eurocopter is to issue a Service Bulletin that should solve a fleet-wide problem with the EC 145’s tail-rotor controls. In April, the FAA had issued an airworthiness directive (AD) calling for inspections and possible part replacement. The AD followed an in-flight incident that caused severe vibrations.
McDonnell Douglas MD-369FF, Haena, Hawaii, March 11, 2007–The Inter-Island Helicopters MD-369 was destroyed and a passenger was killed when the helicopter crashed into trees during a sightseeing tour. In cruise, the tail-rotor output shaft and the tail-rotor blades separated from the tail-rotor gearbox and fell into the ocean. The pilot autorotated to a campground near the beach.
FAA certification of the Bell 210, a single-turbine medium helicopter derived from the military UH-1H Huey, could happen this month, Bell CEO Mike Redenbaugh said at the Paris Air Show this week. “Our flight testing is complete, FAA pilots have flown the helicopter and now we’re just waiting for approval of the paperwork,” he added.
fter flying the Bell/Agusta AB139, it is easy to see why Amedeo Caporaletti, president of Agusta and CEO of AgustaWestland, believes that this helicopter sets new standards for medium twins. The 13,227-pound-mtow AB139 meets the stringent standards imposed by both the European JARs and FAR Part 29, including all amendments.
Bell Helicopter’s MAPL (modular affordable product line) tail-fan demonstrator took to the air at the OEM’s new XworX research center in Arlington, Texas, in July. A Bell 407 fitted with the 40-inch-diameter fenestron-like device lifted into a hover, performed several low-speed maneuvers, including pedal turns, and landed.
The European Aviation Safety Agency in late August certified the Eurocopter EC 225 twin-turbine helicopter for unrestricted operations in icing conditions. To be able to fly in such conditions, the 11-ton, $17 million helicopter is fitted with an optional duplex-architecture protection system. The five main rotor blades are deiced cyclically by mats heated by metal resistors.
Eurocopter and its Chinese partner Harbin Aircraft are designing a new medium twin helicopter, dubbed the EC 175, to fill the gap between the EC 155 Dauphin and the EC 225 Super Puma. They are to unveil details of the EC 175 design at the Paris Air Show in June. Nevertheless, Eurocopter (Booth No.