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.
The EASA issued a new AD for the Eurocopter Super Puma intermediate gearbox (IGB) fairing gutter on December 21, calling for correction as described in Eurocopter service bulletins. It also requires reduced inspection intervals.
AgustaWestland has begun delivering a tailored version of the AW109S Grand to Swiss air rescue organization Rega. The Da Vinci, the result of a set of specifications issued by Rega to replace its A109 K2s, is thus not offered to other customers.
Last month the FAA published a proposed NPRM covering new airworthiness standards for composite structures on normal-category rotorcraft under FAR Parts 27 and 29.
Yesterday, the FAA published a proposed NPRM covering new airworthiness standards for composite structures on normal category rotorcraft under FAR Parts 27 and 29. A proposed new section in the regulations establishes guidelines for damage tolerance and fatigue testing of these structures.
The prototype of the Eurocopter EC 175 made its “official maiden flight” on December 17, almost two weeks after its actual first flight on December 4 in Marignane, France. The flight-test phase is now well under way. The event, attended by customers, employees, suppliers and journalists, was also the opportunity for Eurocopter to highlight the cooperation with China’s Avicopter.
Bell Helicopter Textron of Fort Worth, Texas, delivered the first Bell 429 customer aircraft to launch customer Air Methods on August 1, after which S/N 57006 flew south from Bell’s assembly facility in Mirabel, Quebec, to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa.
Following Transport Canada certification and FAA validation of the Bell 429 in July, Bell Helicopter Textron of Fort Worth, Texas, delivered the first aircraft, S/N 57006, to launch customer Air Methods on August 1. The current Bell 429 fleet (two prototypes, three flight test and two customer aircraft) has accumulated more than 2,200 hours.