Eurocopter (Booth No. 4682) reports that it has so far seen no consequence of the global economic downturn in its corporate/VIP helicopter sales, which the French manufacturer said will in all likelihood exceed last year’s 168-order record.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
At a small airfield near Horseheads, N.Y., Sikorsky is slowly expanding the flight envelope of its X2 technology demonstrator. After a first flight at the end of August, the coaxial rotor helicopter is currently midway through the first of four flight-test phases that should enable it to reach a forward speed of 250 knots by the middle of next year.
Helicopters again played a critical role in providing safe evacuations and critical rescues before and after twin hurricanes that pounded the U.S. Gulf Coast between September 1 and September 13. But unlike when Hurricane Katrina laid waste to New Orleans and parts of coastal Mississippi and Alabama in 2005, this time authorities were ready, with detailed plans in place for Gustav and Ike.
The program to provide new VIP helicopters for the U.S. president has taken a step forward with first flight of an “operational pilot-production example” of the Lockheed Martin VH-71. The three-engine helicopter, which is based on the AgustaWestland AW101 (born as the European Helicopter Industries EH 101), had its maiden flight at the AgustaWestland factory in Yeovil, England, on September 23.
The U.S. subsidiaries of the Mecaer Group of Italy and Aerolite Max Bucher of Switzerland have signed a cooperative agreement to market emergency medical service (EMS) completions for the AgustaWestland A109 and AW139 from a facility at Northeast Philadelphia Airport (PNE).
AgustaWestland (Booth No. 5408) is exhibiting an AW101 cabin mockup in an “ultra-luxury” version that the European company says is entirely befitting of the heaviest civil helicopter available in the Western world.
Dart Helicopter’s Apical Industries has received EASA approval for its Tri-Bag Emergency Float System on the AgustaWestland A119/AW119 Mk II. The system includes two forward and two aft bags and a baggage compartment reservoir option. It is available with or without external life rafts and is compatible with ground-handling wheels. With bags deployed, the helicopter can be water towed at speeds up to 10 knots.
AgustaWestland has announced a weight upgrade and Russian assembly plans for the AW139 medium twin, while new helicopter models are in development and a series of efforts is launched in customer support.
Boeing plans to expand the flight envelope of its unmanned vertical aerial vehicle A160T Hummingbird from the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville. The A160T set a world endurance record earlier this year, flying for 18.7 hours before landing with two hours of fuel remaining. Test plans call for the Hummingbird eventually to reach an altitude of 30,000 feet.
South African-based maintenance specialist Thunder City is offering for Eurocopter Pumas a modernization program that the company claims extends the life of the medium twin. The program consists mainly of a P4 structural check and the installation of a five-display glass cockpit made by Chelton Flight Systems. The company claims the program ensures the mechanical soundness of the helicopter and provides improved pilot situational awareness.