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.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
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.
Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling in July predicted that the company would sell between 650 and 700 helicopters this year, up from previous expectations of 600. The civil and parapublic market is expected to account for more than 50 percent of sales. Bertling said only the U.S. corporate segment is suffering.
Sikorsky has nearly finished building its X2 coaxial compound helicopter demonstrator in Elmira, N.Y. According to Jim Kagdis, Sikorsky’s manager of advanced programs, additional ground tests are needed, but first flight is “within arm’s reach.” He declined to provide a specific time period.
Bell Helicopter in July at the Farnborough 2008 airshow strongly hinted it is about to transfer more work to partner AgustaWestland in the protracted BA609 tiltrotor program. “We are looking for the most efficient way to get the aircraft certified and we’ll possibly find some efficiencies in Italy,” said Mike Blake, Bell’s executive v-p for customer solutions.
The first production model of a new generation of Marine One U.S. Presidential helicopters made its initial flight earlier today at AgustaWestland’s plant in Yeovil, England. Designated by the U.S. Navy as VH-71, the helicopter is based on the three-engine AW101. The first block of five helicopters is scheduled to begin entering service next year. The Navy has been test flying four prototype block one aircraft over the past year.
Biggin Hill, UK-based helicopter charter operator Sky Charter has been designated the UK dealer for PZL Swidnik rotorcraft. The company has ordered three SW4 light singles and is expecting deliveries next spring.
Operators of Mil helicopters meeting at Russia’s Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (UUAP) in late July heard how the Mil-171 led rescue operations for victims of the recent earthquake in China’s Sichuan province. Of the 137 Russian, Chinese, French and U.S. helicopters involved in the effort, 74 were Mi-171s, and these were responsible for rescuing more than 37,000 people (of a total of around 60,000).