First-day attendance at Heli-Expo’09 broke another record and continued to defy gloomy pre-show predictions. Attendance on day one increased from 15,552 last year to 15,728 this year, and show organizers are speculating that the number might exceed last year’s record total of 17,373. The number of exhibitors totals 585, a nearly 12-percent increase over last year’s 523. Net exhibit space increased 2.25 percent, to 259,000 sq ft.
HAI Convention News » 2009
One of Heli-Expo’09’s worst-kept secrets, the Rolls-Royce RR500 turboshaft engine, was unveiled Monday afternoon in a brief but hearing-impairment-inducing ceremony at the engine maker’s booth. The RR500 turboshaft, a 475-shp derivative of the RR300 that powers the in-development Robinson R66, is scheduled for certification in late 2011. A turboprop version of the RR500 was first announced last summer at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis.
Erickson Air-Crane (Booth No. 2634), the holder of the S-64 Air-Crane’s type and production certificates, announced yesterday that it will be rebranding itself and expanding its OEM capabilities in the hopes of producing a new heavy-lift version of the iconic helicopter within two to three years.
The OEM forum yesterday was drawing to a close when MD Helicopters CEO Lynn Tilton strode into the room, late but exuding charm. Near the end of what had been a rather somber gathering, she managed to elicit a wave of laughter as she looked around for Robinson Helicopter president and CEO Frank Robinson.
Rolls-Royce, in its annual 10-year market forecast, sees a market characterized by near-term softness followed by a resumption of growth. Over the period, total helicopter deliveries are predicted to be 15,800, a slight increase on the figure from last year’s forecast.
DNA analysis of material taken from the pilot-side windscreen of a Sikorsky
S-76C++ helicopter that crashed January 4 near Morgan City, La., suggests that
the accident might have been caused by a bird strike.
Heli-Expo is normally a venue for major announcements, but in an ironic twist, one of Sikorsky Aircraft’s announcements on Monday was that it will be making an announcement about the S-92–eventually.
There’s a good reason for the new-car smell of the Merlin Simulation Pro Series Sikorsky 300C (nee Schweizer 300C) advanced aviation training device (AATD) the company is demonstrating at Heli-Expo. The device received FAA approval at the beginning of this month and the one here was just built. The unit used for approval is already with flight-training school Rotors of the Rockies in Colorado. Three more are on order.
Celebrating PHI’s 60 years of helicopter operations, Sikorsky Aircraft yesterday recognized the well-known operator at the Sikorsky booth (No. 1740) at Heli-Expo’09. Within its diverse fleet, PHI operates 43 S-76 and 10 S-92 helicopters, the largest number of Sikorsky machines in its history. The operator has logged more than 10.5 million helicopter hours since its founding in 1949 through December 2008, flying in some 43 countries.
The president of helicopter supply company Sunrise Helicopter has filed a petition to revise a 2008 NTSB report that held the company partially responsible for the January 2006 crash of a Eurocopter AS 350D.
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