As the only approved IFR-capable MD 500E in the world, N5144Q is no ordinary MD 500E helicopter. To stand a chance of bettering Ron Bower’s solo 1994 round-the-world-in-a-helicopter record, Simon Oliphant-Hope needed to have it back in the UK. The managing director of Eastern Atlantic Helicopters located N5144Q in California and brought it back to his home airfield, at Shoreham on England’s south coast.
Aviation International News » September 2004
Helicopters fill the make-believe future skies in Disney World’s Tomorrowland, but in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates real rotorcraft are an integral part of the plans of high-end hotel and resort projects that are so huge they would likely boggle the fertile mind of Walt himself, if he were still alive.
At Farnborough, AgustaWestland unveiled yet another, long-anticipated evolution of the A109–a stretched and higher-power model dubbed the A109S Grand. Leonardo Monti, who leads the company’s civil marketing effort, described the eight-seat, 7,000-pound aircraft as “an intermediate twin with light-twin economics.”
Grizzly Mountain Aviation, of Prineville, Ore., has taken delivery of a second Kaman Aerospace K-Max, for use on logging, firefighting and power-line construction. The aircraft is currently supporting a large power-line project in Ontario, Canada, before heading home to the Pacific Northwest.
In a deal valued at more than $230 million, Bell has started to deliver 26 Bell 412EP medium twins and associated equipment to Pakistan. The OEM, which delivered nine of the aircraft during June, will hand over the rest during the next 10 months. The helicopters will be used primarily for personnel transport, emergency medical service and disaster relief.
Agusta delivered a new A109 Power to the national police of Slovenia. The helicopter, which will be based at Brnik Airport near capital Ljubljana, is valued at $7.2 million. According to Agusta, the 160-knot speed of the new helicopter (the fifth acquisition of the Slovene police air fleet) will significantly cut the air unit’s intervention time.
EMS provider Air Evac Lifeteam, founded in West Plains, Mo., in 1985, has new owners, including two private-equity firms. “The decision to sell was not an easy one,” said board chairman Bill Chritton. “Initially, we had no desire to sell. The company is strong, healthy and presents a bright and expanding future.”
As AIN went to press, the severity of the 2003 forest fire season was repeating, as feared, in Europe as well as in the western U.S. Blazes in forest and scrub land were causing havoc, particularly in France, Portugal, Spain and, on the eve of the Olympic Games, in Greece.
While the Bell 427 has struggled for acceptance in the helicopter community, one LongRanger derivative that has been a success from the start is the single-engine 407, which has sold in the hundreds since its launch in the late 1990s. Its hot-and-high performance was most recently confirmed in July, when a 407 landed on a Himalayan peak at an altitude of nearly 25,000 feet.
By launching the IFR version of its 427 model at Heli-Expo, in Las Vegas in March, Bell Helicopter finally acknowledged its mistakes in introducing the type in the first place, almost 10 years before.