Manufacturer AgustaWestland and Italian operator Alitalica recently signed an agreement to install a “helicopter hub” at Rome’s Urbe airport. Under the agreement, AgustaWestland will establish a maintenance center for its helicopters. Alitalica will offer “passenger hospitality services, passenger transport and corporate helicopter management services.” The helicopter hub is expected to start operating next year.
Aviation International News » July 2008
Summer means fire season, and Columbia Helicopters’ tandem-rotor Chinooks and Vertols have already been dispatched to their bases, primarily throughout the Western U.S., under contracts with the U.S. Forest Service.
The UFH, the French helicopter association, is studying how to relaunch scheduled flights among Paris heliport, a helipad in La Défense business district and Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. The idea is to prove the viability of such a service.
France-based operator Azur Hélicoptère is considering offering helicopter connections between Lyon Saint Exupéry airport and the city’s convention center, which would involve building a helipad downtown. Overflights of populated areas are strictly regulated in Europe, so the operator would use the Rhône River as a route. Other links would be offered to and from Lyon Bron business airport and the neighboring exhibition center.
Eurocopter is flight-testing low-noise approach, takeoff and cruise flight procedures with an EC 135 light twin. The trials are also serving to develop a software program for noise footprint prediction. Similar tests were conducted with an EC 130 last year.
Abu Dhabi-based operator Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) has inked the first firm order for the “l’Hélicoptère par Hermès” version of the Eurocopter EC 135 light twin. The ?5.8 million ($9 million) helicopter features an exclusive cabin layout with the signature French firm’s canvas used to cover surfaces from floor to ceiling.
A proposed airworthiness directive for the Sikorsky S-76 would require inspections of the tail rotor vertical stabilizer aft spar assembly every 50 hours after an assembly has 1,000 hours time-in-service. It would also require track and balance of the tail rotor within 30 days and every 200 hours thereafter. The AD would affect an estimated 216 S-76A/B/Cs on the U.S. registry.
The European Commission (EC) has sent a formal complaint to the Spanish government regarding two framework agreements that open the door for Eurocopter to supply helicopters to the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
A Sikorsky S-76A crashed onto a helipad at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich., during an FAA check ride on May 29, seriously injuring the pilot and the FAA inspector aboard. The helicopter was operated by Aero Med Spectrum Health.
The NTSB has issued a Safety Recommendation calling for the development of nondestructive testing techniques for Robinson main rotor blades after approximately 596 hours time-in-service to check for bond defects in areas between the skin and spar at the tip of the blade and between the skin and tip cap on all R22s and R44s.