Forty years after its June 1965 first flight, the Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander remains in production, and more than 800 of the 1,250-plus airplanes delivered remain operational. The rugged, maid-of-all-work design is employed in myriad applications, including air taxi, charter and scheduled services; crop-spraying; water-bombing; VIP/executive operations; photo-reconnaissance/surveillance; air ambulance; para-dropping; and law enforcement.
Aviation International News » June 2005
It’s one of the world’s more exclusive clubs, made up of pilots whose job in the growing world of luxury superyachts is helicopter operations.
No one seems to know exactly how many pilots are actively engaged in this calling, but best estimates put the number at barely 50, based on the fact that no more than 50 superyachts worldwide can support helicopter operations.
Dundee, Scotland-born David Paris, 55, joined the Royal Navy in January 1967, for an eight-year hitch as a pilot. He trained on de Havilland Canada Chipmunks, Hillers, Westland Whirlwind 7s (based on the Sikorsky S-55), Wessex 1s (based on the Sikorsky S-58/Choctaw) and the anti-submarine Wessex 3, on which–in early 1969–he was posted to the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle with 826 Naval Air Squadron.
Every customer who signed up for the 427 IFR model has swallowed the premium associated with upgrading to the bigger 429. But why did Bell ditch the 427i?
Bell says its new anti-torque system will offer directional control, reductions in main rotor speed and noise and higher cruise speeds–up to 170 knots. Bell will evaluate the Propulsive Anti-Torque System (PATS) next year using a full-size gas turbine engine, inlet fan, bifurcated ducting and a series of test thrusters.
Bell’s 429 IFR light twin caused quite a stir at its February launch. Not only did it replace a machine that lasted a mere 11 months–the 427 IFR–but it embodied many features of what the manufacturer proclaims to be a new approach to rotorcraft design.
India’s Dhruv medium twin has reportedly impressed state oil corporation ONGC, which manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) says has a pressing need for a medium-class helicopter, for use in its offshore operations. Early last month the helicopter demonstrated Performance Class I criteria with 14 passengers on board, at all stages of a sector from Juhu, Mumbai, to Bombay High South Field, 80 miles off the coast.
Texas-based Sky Helicopters has opened new buildings at its Garland/DFW Heliport in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Located a few miles from downtown Dallas, the facility now includes a public terminal and office and a new hangar for up to 40 helicopters. Instructional facilities include a Flyit helicopter simulator, which Sky uses for ab initio, commercial, instrument rating and recurrent training.
Kamov delivered two more Ka-32A11BCs to Spain’s Helisureste on April 22, when mixed Russian-Spanish crews ferried the helicopters to Spain from Kamov’s flight-test base in the Moscow suburb of Zhulebino.
A French Internet spare parts supplier claims to save customers up to 25 percent on their repair bills. Now able to deal directly with its vendors, Helinetwork.com says it can pass on the savings to its customers.