Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) of Boise, Idaho (Booth 1478), is showing its white phosphor night-vision goggles (NVG) for aviation and an electro-optical gimbal (in advanced prototype form) here at NBAA 2014. “The new white phosphor night-vision goggle is the first technological breakthrough in aviation goggles since the Generation III goggle was introduced,” Jim Winkel, ASU president, explained.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
The U.S. Army’s plan to acquire up to 110 Airbus UH-72A Lakotas, the military variant of the EC145, as primary helicopter trainers has met with a legal challenge from AgustaWestland (AW). AW alleges, “The army has acted unlawfully and unreasonably by restricting competition to only EC145 helicopters and by not opening the competition for its requirements to other helicopter manufacturers.”
On October 10 an Italian judge found former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini not guilty of international corruption, but convicted the pair for the lesser crime of “false invoicing” and sentenced them to two-year prison terms and fined each €1.5 million. The sentence is suspended pending an anticipated appeal.
Las Vegas and Grand Canyon air-tour operator Maverick Helicopters announced yesterday that it will expand its operations to Maui, Hawaii, with Airbus EC-130s beginning in the spring. “I’m thrilled to see the company expand, and even more excited to become part of the Hawaiian tourism community,” said Maverick CEO Greg Rochna. Maverick operates a fleet of 40 EC130s.
Four Russian pilots took off last month from Moscow in a pair of Robinson R66 turbine singles for a 30,000-nm round-trip to New Zealand taking them over Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and various Pacific islands en route followed by a return flight that transits through Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Cyprus, Turkey and Ukraine. The pilots anticipate making 85 takeoffs and landings at 78 airports.
The FAA has certified the V400 avionics software for the S-76D, allowing single-pilot IFR operations. The system adds LPV capability for satellite-aided approaches and allows SiriusXM weather to be overlaid on to a moving map. ADS-B data can be transmitted via the mode-S transponder.
Russian Helicopters has announced major investments in its factories. Kazan Helicopters has inaugurated a $13 million painting and finishing workshop. In Perm, Reductor-PM has started building a new gearbox and transmission assembly and testing facility. Russian Helicopters, which held a 796-aircraft backlog as of June 30, invested $220 million in production capacity last year.
AgustaWestland is preparing to make a big splash in the executive helicopter market when deliveries of its new AW169 medium twin begin next year. The company already claims a 65-percent world market share in recent years for twins with VIP and executive interiors and it is counting on the new helicopter to add to it.
The Step Change in Safety organization, which represents a number of players in the North Sea oil-and-gas industry, is reporting progress in the implementation of the safety improvement measures required by the UK CAA in its CAP 1145 review. To improve survivability in the event of a ditching, helicopters are being equipped with a better emergency breathing system (EBS) and more attention is being focused on the shape and size of passengers in relation to the size of emergency escape windows.
Ostend, Belgium-based helicopter operator NHV is to take over Norway’s Blueway, the two firms announced in late August. The new company, which has not yet indicated whether it will adopt a new name–has set its sights on establishing itself as a major player in the offshore oil-and-gas market.
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