In a major deal announced at the Dubai Air Show last month, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of the Interior ordered 40 Sikorskys. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in March.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
Sikorsky subsidiary Schweizer is developing a derivative of the existing Schweizer 333 light single. The 434 will offer improved payload and performance, a Schweizer marketing executive told AIN. The launch customer is Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of the Interior, which has ordered nine.
VIP and government flight specialist Dubai Air Wing has ordered two AW139s in executive configuration. In Qatar, Gulf Helicopters has ordered 10 AW139s for offshore-oil passenger transport.
Abu Dhabi-based Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) last month gave an update on its fleet expansion. A second Eurocopter EC 130B4 will be delivered in April, with a third to follow in July. Two AS 365N3 Dauphins are pegged for delivery in January and October. A second AgustaWestland Grand will be introduced in July. In addition, a Bell 206L3 LongRanger will join the fleet under a two-year lease agreement.
McAlpine Helicopters is now owned entirely by Eurocopter, which has renamed the company Eurocopter UK. Eurocopter previously held 10 percent of the Oxford-based distributor. Eurocopter UK provides various services, including maintenance, repair and overhaul, to civil and military customers in the UK
Last month the FAA issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SW-08-03) containing “recommendations for rotorcraft during icing conditions.” The SAIB describes “procedures to reduce the probability of an engine in-flight shutdown due to ice and snow ingestion,” including special precautions during winter pre-flights and ground power settings.
Sikorsky’s Keystone subsidiary will take over final assembly and completion of the S-76C++ and subsequent variants of the twin-turbine helicopter, including the S-76D, at its Coatesville, Pa. “heliplex.” Mick Maurer, Sikorsky’s v-p for operations, said the company relocated the S-76 to make room for increased production of the Black Hawk at the company’s main plant in Stratford, Conn., beginning next year.
Early next year, Helsinki, Finland-based operator Copterline will restart one of the few scheduled public helicopter routes in the world. It discontinued the flight between the neighboring capitals of Helsinki and Tallinn, Estonia, after the 2005 fatal crash of a Sikorsky S-76C+ (see AIN, October, page 74).
The Bell 429 can hover out of ground effect (OGE) at 11,000 feet at its maximum takeoff weight of 7,000 pounds. The altitude exceeds Bell’s previous customer commitment of a maximum OGE hover of 9,300 feet.
The NTSB is calling for stricter FAA en route surveillance of Grand Canyon area air-tour operators based on its findings from two fatal helicopter accidents there in 2001 and 2003 involving Papillon Airways and Sundance Helicopters.