The first operator of an EMS-configured Bell 429 light twin reports it is “more than happy” with the helicopter and its performance after flying 65 missions in less than a month. Des Moines-based Mercy Medical Center’s Mercy One placed its 429 into operation on April 10.
Aviation International News » June 2010
France-based Hélicoptères Guimbal has reached its first production target of one helicopter per month, CEO and founder Bruno Guimbal told AIN, and the 10th Cabri two-seater was delivered last month. Guimbal is now gearing up to a production rate of two per month, and it expects to reach this goal by year-end.
Eurocopter is beefing up Shape, the reorganization plan it unveiled last October. Reacting to sluggish demand, the company has increased spending on research and development, closed one site, redefined executive responsibilities and planned job cuts.
The Indianapolis Police Department’s four helicopters have been grounded since earlier this year after its aviation insurance was allowed to expire. Police officials cited budget constraints.
A Hospital Wing AS350B3 crashed on March 25 after delivering a patient near Brownsville, Tenn., in an area of thunderstorms. The pilot and the two-person medical crew on board were killed. Another HEMS provider, Air Evac Lifeteam, reported turning down missions in the area at the time of the crash due to weather concerns.
Bristow will build $10 million in new facilities and add 97 employees at its Florida flight school in Titusville. It will also build a new FBO facility there. Bristow operates the largest civilian helicopter school in the U.S.
Eurocopter last month unveiled the EC145 Mercedes- Benz Style, a version of the light twin helicopter that features aesthetic and practical innovations. For example, several seats can be removed to make room for mountain bikes for a weekend trip. To change configurations, seats are mounted on rails and the aft separation wall can slide to change the size of the luggage compartment.
Swiss rescue organization Rega’s 13 helicopters flew a steady (+0.2 percent) number of missions last year, the tally being 10,443. Meanwhile, the introduction of the fleet of AgustaWestland AW109 Da Vincis, a dedicated version of the Grand New, will be completed this summer in Rega’s mountain bases. Rega spent CHF113.5 million ($100 million) to acquire the 11 new helicopters.
The NTSB is investigating the April 28 incident at Houston Hobby in which a Bell 407 operated by Helicopters, Inc. and a Southwest Airlines 737 nearly collided. Both aircraft were departing in day VFR.
Russian Helicopters last month delivered two Kamov Ka-32s to Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Emergency Situations. Under the Russian aerospace industrial scheme, the helicopters were manufactured by the Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise. The contract dates back to 2008. The Ka-32A features two coaxial contra-rotating main rotors and received EASA certification last year.