The French Sécurité Civile (the state rescue arm) no longer has a defined entry-into-service schedule for its Eurocopter EC 145 twin-turbine helicopters. It has officially taken delivery of the first three of 32 ordered aircraft (a $150 million contract) during the last six months, two years after the originally planned date.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
With the arrival of its new CEO, American Eurocopter also revealed that it is expanding its “footprint” in the U.S. with the investment of $11.9 million in a new facility to be built at Golden Triangle Regional Airport near Columbus, Miss.
Once again, an emergency AD (No. 2002-23-51) has mandated no further flight of the roughly 360 Bell 407 helicopters currently in service. The November 13 AD was prompted by two reported failures of the stud from a swashplate drivelink assembly. One or both swashplate drivelink cup washers may have been installed incorrectly.
In aviation, like most other industries, success breeds regulation. The bigger an industry becomes, the more the government perceives the need to regulate it, often citing reasons such as safety, unfair competition and environmental protection. Yet, in typical Darwinian fashion, most industries adapt–or die. In aviation, hush kits quiet noisier jet engines, airplanes are made RVSM compatible and helicopters are flown neighborly.
Eurocopter now targets late next year as the new certification date for the EC 225. A derivative of the Super Puma, the new medium twin helicopter was originally set to be certified late this year. Major cockpit and autopilot design changes after the program started have lengthened the program by six months.
For the last 15 years, a northern New Jersey bank has been quietly landing its
American Eurocopter has sold its first EC 145 in the U.S., to the Lee County (Florida) division of public safety/EMS. The launch customer will use the EC 145 primarily to support Lee County’s EMS operation, which encompasses the cities of Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Bonita Springs as well as 625,000 acres of coastal area and barren islands.
Nobody beats the Russians when it comes to rotorcraft “bigness.” Mil unveiled the Mi-12 in 1971 and later hoisted a record-setting 44 tons to more than 7,000 ft with the massive (115-ton mtow) twin-rotor helo.
More recently, since its introduction in 1981, the Russian-made Mil Mi-26 has reigned supreme as the heaviest cargo-lifting production rotorcraft, routinely hoisting loads weighing up to 22 tons.
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.
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.