Rapid economic growth in the United Arab Emirates is fueling the expansion of Dubai-based helicopter operator Helidubai. Less than two years after its inception, the company, owned by the government of Dubai, has embarked on a fleet expansion with both passenger and aerial-work aircraft. In addition, it is also striving to help create dedicated heliports and helipads in the burgeoning city.
Aviation International News » January 2008
Rotorcraft design has reached a plateau and advancements are taking place in incremental steps rather than as major breakthroughs. That was the prevailing message of a day-long workshop about the past, present and future of rotorcraft held at the University of Maryland’s Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center.
The Helicopter Association International (HAI) recently hosted a series of meetings in Las Vegas aimed at deflecting recent NTSB criticism of the industry and heading off any possible new FAA regulations or restrictions. The NTSB is calling for stricter FAA en route surveillance of Grand Canyon area air-tour operators based on its findings from two fatal helicopter accidents there in 2001 and 2003.
Last year in Toulouse, France, Eurocopter completed two series of tests that demonstrated the feasibility of satellite-navigation precision approaches for helicopters. Europe, which lags behind the U.S. in creating satnav nonprecision approaches for helicopters, has almost completed some research toward addressing that imbalance.
Since EASA certified the first night-vision image system on a civil helicopter (see AIN, September 2007), several European operators have expressed interest in or have started to adopt night-vision goggles (NVGs). Eurocopter reports it has begun testing for a German operator. No doubt, newcomers will draw from the experiences of two major European rescue operators–Sécurité Civile and Rega.
The civil night-vision goggle market is booming for emergency medical service (EMS) and law enforcement applications, but significant regulatory barriers could limit new entrants into the market and restrict the export of the most popular NVGs.
In addition to repairing its 10,000th rotor blade at its Grand Prairie, Texas shop, American Eurocopter announced that it will open its first regional service center, one of several it plans to launch within the U.S. The West Coast Regional Service Center is to be located at the Long Beach Airport in the Daugherty Skyharbor Complex.
Offshore operators PHI and Norsk each reached 20,000 hours late last year with their Sikorsky S-92s. PHI, based in Lafayette, La., currently operates 10
S-92s. Norsk, based in Stavanger, Norway, services the North Sea oil industry and reports logging between 150 and 200 hours monthly in each of its S-92s.
Emirates-CAE Flight Training has signed a three-year contract to provide helicopter training for Indian-based offshore helicopter operator Global Vectra Helicorp. Global Vectra flight crews will undergo training on a Bell 412 full-flight simulator at ECFT’s facility in Dubai. The agreement covers recurrent and initial type training.
AgustaWestland announced it has successfully completed flight testing of the new-generation BERP IV main rotor blades on the AW-101 (née EH-101). They will enter service early this year on the British Royal Air Force fleet of AW-101 Merlins. The blades are offered as an option on new helicopters or available for retrofit.