China-based Avicopter has delivered the first three AC311 Air Sprites. The six-seat light single can be powered by a Honeywell LTS101-700D-2 or a license-produced Turbomeca Arriel 2B1A. Its mtow is 4,850 pounds and endurance claimed to be four hours. The helicopter received its Chinese certification last year. The AC311 resembles the Eurocopter Ecureuil/AStar.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
Yet another sign U.S. Gulf Coast tourism has recovered from the impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill: The start of heli-tour operations in Orange Beach, Ala.
Bell Helicopter is providing more details on the Short Light Single (SLS) helicopter it announced at the Paris Air Show in June. Performance goals for the SLS include a speed of 125 knots, a range of 360 to 420 nm, a useful load of 1,500 pounds and a ceiling of 11,000 feet.
The Eurocopter X3 hybrid made its record-breaking speed run just 10 days before the opening of the Paris Air Show, so it was not surprising that the EADS company brought both the unique aircraft and its crew to the Le Bourget biennial event. On June 7, the X3 flew at 255 knots in level flight and 263 knots in a dive, besting the previous record set by the Sikorsky X2 in September 2010 (250 knots level and 260 knots in descent).
This year’s Helitech, to be held from September 24 to 26 at its new London venue, will attract more international visitors, according to organizers of Europe’s main helicopter trade show.
“OEMs wanted an international platform for product launches,” Helitech International exhibition director John Hyde told AIN, and organizers believe the Excel London exhibition and convention center in the Newham district, near London City Airport, fills the bill.
The EASA approved the interim solution–a combination of vibration monitoring, inspections and part modification–that Eurocopter devised for the EC225 to address main gearbox (MGB) lubrication issues after the type experienced two controlled ditchings last year. The manufacturer’s fix is intended to reduce the likelihood of an undetected crack, leading to in-flight rupture and ditching, to one per billion flight hours. At issue is the bevel gear vertical shaft, a part that is critical to main gearbox lubrication.
The first of some 80 EC225 helicopters subject to a series of airworthiness directives to address main gearbox lubrication issues will start resuming flight operations by the end of July, Eurocopter confirmed.
Eurocopter demonstrated new automated landing procedures relying on Egnos (Europe’s Waas equivalent) satellite guidance. Part of Europe’s Clean Sky research project, the tests were performed on an EC155 medium twin. They showed significant reductions in the helicopter’s perceived sound footprint, the company said. The noise-abatement flightpaths were compatible with IFR operations and can be tailored to local requirements.
Eurocopter has received orders from China’s State Grid General Aviation Company for two AS350B3e AStar/Ecureuils and one EC225. They will be used to support the country’s electric grid development and for other airlift missions. The B3e light singles will be delivered late this year. Handover of the EC225 is scheduled for 2015. Eurocopter has also signed contracts with Japan’s National Police Agency for one EC155B1, one AS365N3+ and two EC135P2es to replace aging aircraft. Deliveries are scheduled over the 2014-2015 period.
The UK’s East Anglian Air Ambulance charity organization and its helicopter operator, Bond Air Services, have been allowed to fly emergency medical service missions at night, using night-vision goggles. The charity believes that it will be able to conduct approximately 30 percent more missions, helping an estimated 300 more patients a year. Special equipment also includes a powerline detection system.