FOCUS on…LAW ENFORCEMENT This year at Heli-Expo there were plenty of examples of helicopters dressed up with law enforcement credentials of every flavor, but it took a keen eye to spot what was new equipment on these hard-working machines. For 2012, companies brought avionics, airborne computer location equipment, air-to-ground microwave receivers and sophisticated, high-power searchlights.
More Stories from HAI 2012
Marignane, France-based Eurocopter (Booth No. 1917) turned its annual Heli-Expo press conference on Sunday into a 20th anniversary celebration.
Evergreen International Aviation (Booth No. 4920) is looking to expand its roots. Evergreen began as a commercial helicopter service business in the 1960s but quickly grew into a diversified aviation company that included aircraft charter, salvage, and modification.
Speaking of the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract MD Helicopters signed last year, Lynn Tilton, CEO of Mesa, Arizona-based company, said, “That’s the highlight [of 2011], to serve those who serve for love of country. And it goes back to our roots of 1964, when Hughes Helicopter [predecessor of MD Helicopters] first won a military contract.” She made the comments at a Heli-Expo 2012 press conference in Dallas yesterday.
After a moment of silence in respect for members lost in the past year, Jim Kettles, vice president of the venerable Twirly Birds brought to order the association’s annual meeting. It’s tradition, he explained, for the Twirly Birds to convene their meeting during Heli-Expo.
Esterline CMC Electronics (Booth No. 9740) is showing how its TacView portable mission display brings numerous capabilities to the helicopter cockpit here at Heli-Expo 2012 in Dallas.
The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) has reached a tentative agreement of cooperation with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to enhance the safety of helicopter operations in nine countries that make up the commonwealth.
When many communities view airports and aviation as nuisances at best and dangerous at worst, and pressures grow to close airfields and chase aviation away, the story of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IGA) in Arizona shines like an airway beacon.
FOCUS on…AUTOROTATION TRAINING “Infrequent autorotation training is dangerous,” said Chad Oakley, chief pilot at the Bell Academy, yesterday at a Heli-Expo training session called, “Autorotations, Reality Exposed.” Other participants at the one-hour session–pilots, instructors, and representatives from the FAA, NTSB, OEMs, and several fleet operators–agreed.
Jeffrey Pino, CEO of Sikorsky Aircraft was all smiles as he delivered the State of Sikorsky Briefing at Heli-Expo 2012. Orders are up overall, as of December 2011, and with the worldwide fleet of large helicopters now averaging 30 years old, or older, he expects more helicopter orders are imminent. Here are a few of the highlights from Pino’s briefing.
* Sikorsky sold $7.4 billion in helicopters in 2011.
Bond Aviation Group signed a contract to purchase 16 Sikorsky S-92 helicopters at Heli-Expo 2012, the largest single order for S-92s ever recorded. Sikorsky will begin delivering the aircraft in groups of four-to-five a year starting in the second quarter of 2013.
Carey Bond, chief marketing officer for Sikorsky, welcomed the Bond (no relation) aviation group to the Sikorsky family with a celebratory contract signing and a toast at the Sikorsky exhibit booth (No. 6148).
Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen (NHV) has signed a deal for 10 new Eurocopter EC175 medium helicopters. The deal was announced here yesterday at Heli-Expo. Deliveries will begin this year and continue into 2015. NHV currently operates a fleet that includes 17 Eurocopter Dauphins and one EC145.
Milestone Aviation Group (Booth No 7010), a helicopter financing company, made a splash at Heli-Expo this year, announcing a $480 million deal with Eurocopter (Booth No. 1917) for 16 EC225s, a contract with Sikorsky Aircraft (Booth No. 6148) for three S-92s (terms not disclosed), and a $125-135 million leasing agreement with major operator Bristow Group for five large helicopters.
Greenwich AeroGroup announced at Heli-Expo 2012 that it now owns 60 percent of Helivia Aero Taxi, S.A., of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which services offshore and onshore clients in the oil and gas industries with a diverse fleet of helicopters.
FOCUS on…GADGETS If Harry Potter’s was a world of wizardry, Heli-Expo 2012 is a world of gadgetry. Hundreds of them. Some lesser, some greater. Some serious, and some downright amusing. In the interest of ensuring items both serious and amusing, we use the term “gadget” loosely.
FOCUS on…TRAINING With safety the key focus of rotor operations, Heli-Expo is showcasing a wide range of training products and programs, and training providers have announced major news here in Dallas.
Kaman Helicopters’ (Booth No. 5222) K-Max “unmanned aerial truck” has delivered nearly 200,000 pounds of cargo since the helicopter entered service in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marine Corps on December 17. Two of the pilotless, heavy-lift helicopters have logged about 100 hours over the skies of Afghanistan on cargo missions.
FOCUS on…AIR MEDICAL The latest generation of air medical helicopters is meeting with enthusiasm from both pilots and medical crews. An example, at the AgustaWestland exhibit (Booth No. 5602) is the A109SP GrandNew medevac machine operated by Intermountain HealthCare’s Life Flight out of Salt Lake City.
This could be a called a tale of two cities, but it’s a little more complicated than that.
First, you have Washington, D.C., which has had a viable heliport since early 1998, but it depends on your definition of the word “viable.”
Then you have Dallas, which has had Garland/DRW Heliport since 1988, one of fewer than a dozen stand-alone public-use heliports in the U.S. It was joined in 1994 by 49T, a heliport on the roof of the Dallas Convention Center.
Trevor Frase recently joined West Star Aviation as maintenance manager at the company’s Dallas Love Field location. In his new position, Frase is responsible for all aircraft maintenance operations at West Star DAL. He has 14 years of aviation experience, including work in quality assurance, fleet management and Part 135 certificate operations. Before joining West Star, he was a Part 145 maintenance supervisor. West Star Aviaiton also has facilities in East Alton, Ill., Grand Junction and Aspen, Colo., Columbia, S.C., Chesterfield, Mo.