Matt Zuccaro, president of the Helicopter Association International (HAI), wants attendees of Heli-Expo to understand right up front that he and his association members are team players. “Too often in the past, helicopters were seen as a segment of aviation unto itself,” he explained. To help correct that misconception, Zuccaro invited the leaders of several key aviation associations to an onstage dialogue at 9 a.m., Monday, February 13.
HAI Convention News » February 11, 2012
Highlighting the 20th anniversary of the founding of Eurocopter, Marignane, France-based Eurocopter is introducing the latest evolution in its product line here at Heli-Expo’12. Eurocopter evolved from the 1992 merger of the helicopter divisions of Aerospatiale of France and Daimler-Benz Aerospatiale Aerospace of Germany.
Just down the road from the Dallas Convention Center is the Arlington home of the long-awaited AW609 tiltrotor program. Following AgustaWestland’s move late last year to complete the full takeover of the program from former partner Bell Helicopters, the tiltrotor is a full-blown Italian now. While work on the program will continue in the Lone Star state, all roads lead not so much to Rome, as to Agusta’s headquarters at Cascina Costa, just north of Milan.
With service entry for its new AW189 and AW169 models looming large over the next couple of years, AgustaWestland is scrambling to ensure that operators can get their flight crew type rated in good time. At its main training academy in Sesto Calende, Italy, a major extension is under construction to house no fewer than nine full-flight simulators and six training devices for the new aircraft.
AgustaWestland and Honeywell are introducing a new “Phase 7” version of the Primus Epic avionics suite for the AW139 rotorcraft. The upgrade, which will be available soon for new-build aircraft as well as for retrofit, is about more than modernizing the operating procedures of the avionics, it marks a step-change in the manufacturer’s approach to developing the cockpits of its growing family of aircraft.
A helicopter operating in the North Sea suffers a lightning strike which damages a critical part, forcing the pilots to take refuge on an oil platform, blocking the only landing pad from other movements. Within seconds of the engines shutting down, staff at AgustaWestland’s logistics center at Lonate Pozzolo near Milan are aware of the problem and a response plan is swinging into action. Technicians assess the extent of the damage and dispatch a replacement part within a few hours so that the aircraft can return to base.
AgustaWestland has introduced some impressive new aircraft in recent Heli-Expo shows. But its presence at this year’s event here in Dallas is all about the collective strength of its growing family of products. The company is showcasing its New Generation Helicopter Family, consisting of the existing A109 Grand New and AW139 flagships and the in-development AW169 and AW189 models.
Phoenix-based Accord Technologies is at Heli-Expo (Booth No. 7839) to acquaint OEMs, avionics developers and modification centers with its NexNav modular GPS receivers.
The company’s small, low-power receivers are available as circuit card assemblies (CCA) for avionics OEM hosting or as LRUs for aircraft installations. They will support ADS-B, all normal GPS procedures and precision approach requirements.
Accord’s NexNav technology is compatible with Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) including WAAS, European EGNOS, Japan’s MTSAT and GAGAN in India.
California-based Helicopter Technology Company (HTC, Booth No. 6802) is an FAA-certified Repair Station and maker of main-rotor and tail-rotor blades for MD500/600 helicopters. HTC has come to Heli-Expo 2012 with a new certification, ISO 9001:2008 and AS9100C.
Columbia Helicopters (Booth No. 7334) has opened a new $4 million engine test cell for the GE T55-714 turbine engine, which is used in military CH-47 “Chinook” helicopters worldwide. The cell is also designed to accept future-design engines. The test cell will enable the company to do “nose-to-tail” maintenance on CH-47s.
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