With the Italian government still investigating the cause of the April 22 crash of a prototype Bell/Agusta AB139 helicopter near Monteleone, Rimini, in northern Italy, work toward certification is progressing. Unofficial accounts of the accident investigation point to human factors instead of mechanical failure during a high altitude, low airspeed flight.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
The chartered Bell JetRanger that crashed into the ice-covered slopes of Mount Rainier last June has slid into a crevasse and seems to be beyond recovery. In so doing, the chartered helicopter joins a half-dozen other out-of-reach aircraft that festoon the slopes of the 14,410-ft peak.
Featuring a modified nose, upgraded avionics and simplified construction, a modernized FH-1100 helicopter should be in production by 2004. Georges Van Nevel, president of the FH-1100 Manufacturing Corp., recently told AIN that he anticipates FAA certification for the upgraded helo by the end of this year, with first deliveries expected within 18 months of production startup.
When it comes to selling helicopters for one of the leading helo makers, it’s difficult to find a job that Jeff Pino hasn’t done. In his 17 years with Bell, he was vice president of sales and marketing, executive director for Europe, director for Latin America and regional manager for South America.
While the immediate effect on the ongoing tests of the MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor is questionable, the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) has reportedly awarded Boeing a $10.25 million contract to look into the workability of a reconfigurable rotor-blade design as part of the overall reevaluation of the troubled convertiplane.
Focusing on the needs of the corporate user, Sikorsky Aircraft used last month’s NBAA Convention to outline a series of fresh improvements applicable to its entire S-76 product line, including stainless-steel landing-gear rod ends that eliminate reliance on corrosion preventive compounds, thereby reducing maintenance; a “smart” electrical contactor to better manage electrical system switching; fuzz-burn engine chip detectors for Turbomeca Arri
Sikorsky’s S-92 medium-twin program has passed another milestone on its way to certification as prototype number four performed two flawless autorotational landings to touchdown recently at the company’s flight development center in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Beset with stagnant civil sales, a stymied multi-billion-dollar, investment-intensive defense project and a dearth of new programs in the pipeline, Bell Helicopter Textron has decided, like the beer world, to take a chance on a “lite” product, in this case a new lightweight, lower-cost turbine single helicopter.
The second of three AgustaWestland AW139s that CHC Helicopter will use for search-and-rescue operations off the south coast of England on behalf of the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was delivered to the agency’s Lee-on-
Solent base last month.
Helicopter manufacturers are exploring a number of technologies to reduce noise, both that perceived from the ground and inside the cabin. European manufacturers are working on several demonstration programs to reduce noise by changing the helicopter’s airframe dynamics.