Bell Helicopter and Van Horn Aviation (Booth No. 1521) of Tempe, Ariz., yesterday at Heli-Expo 2011 put the official stamp on an agreement that allows Bell to distribute Van Horn’s composite tail rotor blades for Bell 206 models.
With dry ice, bright lights, loud music, CEO Lutz Bertling in the cockpit and four glamorous passengers in helmets and flight suits, Eurocopter rolled out its newest helicopter here at Heli-Expo shortly after the convention opened yesterday morning. The EC145T2 introduces a fenestron, new engines, a new main gearbox and what Bertling described as “25 percent more mission performance” than its predecessor.
Bell 429 operators continue to give positive feedback about the new light twin as it enters its second year in service. Bell manufactured more than 30 of the helicopters last year and completed customer kit options.
Eurocopter is believed to be working on an improved EC145–possibly to be designated the EC146, if recent trademark filings are any clue–featuring a fenestron shrouded tail rotor and Fadec-controlled engines. Aircraft spotter photographs reveal the light twin is already in flight test. An industry source told AIN that customers have been clamoring for Fadec since the commercial launch of the EC145 program.
U.S. and European civil aviation authorities have issued new airworthiness directives (ADs) for the inspection and possible repair or replacement of the Sikorsky S-92A’s main gearbox. The updated ADs build on 2009 directives and mandate action on a new gearbox design that was supposed to solve the problem, at least temporarily.
Eurocopter’s compound helicopter demonstrator, the X3 (x cube), met its first speed target–180 ktas in level flight at “reduced engine power,” the manufacturer announced last week. The aircraft features a conventional main rotor, two propellers on stub wings and no tail rotor.
Eurocopter unveiled a compound helicopter demonstrator called the X3 (“x cubed”) designed to cruise at 220 knots–about 50 percent faster than today’s medium twins. The helicopter manufacturer believes it has found a sweet spot at a target speed that should make time savings profitable, and the technology could be incorporated into helicopters in less than a decade.
Eurocopter yesterday unveiled the X3 (“x cube”) demonstrator, a compound helicopter with a 220-knot cruise speed. The aircraft first flew on September 6 in hover, and is scheduled to fly again on Thursday. Some 100 flight-test hours are planned in the next 18 months, with the target speed expected to be reached in the first quarter.
Bell 222U, Midlothian, Texas, June 2, 2010–The twin-turbine helicopter was destroyed and its ATP-rated pilot and mechanic were killed after it crashed on a return-to-service flight following recently completed maintenance. The helicopter was in cruise flight at approximately 600 feet agl when witnesses say they saw the tail boom and main rotor separate from the fuselage. The aircraft was consumed in the post-crash fire.
The lobbying association for the French helicopter industry, the Union Française de l’Hélicoptère (UFH), is raising concerns about gestating noise rules that could practically ban commercial flights from urban areas. The association fears legislators are writing such a rule with input only from heli- port neighbors, some of whom are members of anti-helicopter associations.