The award of the U.S. Presidential VXX contract a few days before Heli-Expo was a hot topic in the Anaheim Convention Center last month. The decision went to the Lockheed Martin US-101, a helicopter with British and Italian roots, and came as a surprise to the many observers who assumed that Connecticut-based Sikorsky had the inside track with its newer S-92.
Aviation International News » March 2005
Just two days before submitting its February 7 bid for the U.S. Army’s new armed reconnaissance helicopter (ARH) based on a variant of the MD 500, aerospace giant Boeing signed an agreement to make a multimillion-dollar cash investment in MD Helicopters (MDHI). Although MDHI CEO Henk Schaeken would not disclose the exact value of the investment during an interview at last month’s Heli-Expo, he did indicate that it is not contingent
Hickok & Associates of Orange Beach, Ala., has developed a network of 19 GPS approaches to hospitals in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for aeromedical operator CareFlite of Grand Prairie, Texas. Ray Dauphinais, vice president of operations for CareFlite, told AIN that Steve Hickok, president of Hickok & Associates, has submitted the approaches to the FAA and is hoping for approval before next winter.
A British aerial filming business played a small part in last month’s successful landing of a European Space Agency probe on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. Helifilms, the firm that delivered the aerial TV pictures at last year’s Athens Olympics (AIN, October 2004, page 113), helped develop the drogue parachutes that lowered the probe safely onto the moon’s surface.
An Italian military tribunal has thrown out cowardice charges against four pilots who refused to fly in Iraq because of the poor state of their helicopters. The four pilots served in Iraq last year but, after flying just one mission, refused to take to the air again, saying their helicopters did not have adequate anti-missile protection. The army said the helicopters were safe and accused the pilots of cowardice.
The Eastern Region Helicopter Council has established a “fly neighborly” program that establishes guidelines for helicopter operators flying over the New York City metropolitan area. The initiative calls for all operators to conduct flights well over the Hudson or East Rivers and away from the Battery Park/World Financial Center area. Also, all transition overflights should be conducted well above building heights–weather and ATC permitting.
The June 2003 fatal crash of a Bombardier CRJ100 operated by Brit Air (a subsidiary of Air France) near Brest airport in France, was caused mainly by the pilots’ forgetting to select the autopilot approach mode (appr) when they began their approach, according to the final report of the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA). The pilot was killed and five of the other 23 occupants of F-GRJS were injured in the accident.
The recent run of big orders for new turboprops has no doubt lifted the spirits of the two remaining builders of prop-driven airliners.
Some 25 pilots of Mesa Air Group picketed the company’s headquarters in Phoenix last month to publicly air a series of grievances over work rules. The main issue, according to the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), involves complaints about an alleged company practice of forcing pilots to work on their days off without any notice.
The families of at least five people who died in the October 19 crash of Corporate Airlines Flight 5966 have filed lawsuits against Corporate Airlines and American Airlines for unspecified damages.