Russia’s helicopter business received a boost with an announcement by the country’s vice premier, Sergey Ivanov, that production rates for both civil and military models should be increased. Next January, the government is due to issue draft plans that will call for almost $6.4 billion of fresh investment in the industry through 2015, with half of the sum to come from the private sector.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
On May 10 at 10:40 p.m. local time, a Eurocopter EC 135T2+ crashed in an area of rapidly rising terrain six minutes after taking off from La Crosse, Wis. Municipal Airport. The three occupants, an instrument- rated pilot and the two-man medical crew, aboard the VFR Part 91 positioning flight were killed. It was the first crash in the 23-year history of the program.
British International has ambitions to introduce scheduled services in the UK within the next 10 years using the proposed Bell/Agusta BA619 tiltrotor airliner. The company’s managing director, David Hayler, told AIN “The future regional airliner is the tiltrotor,” and his 10-year vision sees use of a 19-seat stretched development of the BA609, soon to begin flight trials.
For the helicopter owner, operator or flight program looking to cut costs while simultaneously maintaining or expanding existing levels of service, Agusta’s A119 Koala may be the answer. Certified in 1999, the single-engine Koala has many of the same capabilities of, and in fact is faster than, most light twins.
Despite the fact that the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67A engines are installed on the first BA609 prototype tiltrotor, Bell is letting the development schedule of that aircraft slip, with its previously planned first flight moving from last month to sometime this summer. Assembly of a further pair of prototypes has also slowed dramatically.
Look for a new helicopter variant of a tried-and-true veteran design to bow in at next month’s HAI HeliExpo ’02. Bearing the temporary cognomen of JRX, the expanded variant of the basic Bell 206 will boast a roomier cabin and wider windows. It is hoped both changes will attract orders from air-tour operators.
D&D Design of West Milford, N.J., received an STC for installation of the Honeywell Mk XXII Enhanced GPWS with the latest 008 software in the Sikorsky S-76B and -C. Software 008 permits the EGPWS to continue mapping by dead reckoning if GPS reception is lost. The EGPWS lists for $48,500. With installation, the all-up cost is about $80,000.
Helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland is here showing a mockup of an AW101 cabin in a luxury layout, probably the ultimate for a VVIP helicopter, as it is the heaviest civil helicopter available in the Western world. “This is just one of the possible layouts in such a roomy cabin,” an AgustaWestland spokesman told EBACE Convention News.
While its bigger cousin in the Marines stays grounded, work on the civil tiltrotor is proceeding in the same Bell Helicopter hangars from which the first prototype V-22 Ospreys rolled out some 13 years ago in Arlington, Texas.
Eurocopter announced here yesterday that Abu Dhabi-based operator Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) has signed the first firm order for the EC 135 light twin in its “l’Hélicoptère par Hermès” luxury version. Eurocopter expects to sell at least six examples this year of the ?5.8 million ($9 million) helicopter, which was introduced at the NBAA show in September last year.