Eurocopter logged orders for 114 civil and military helicopters worth E1.2 billion at this year’s Paris Air Show and says it is on track to sell 700 helicopters this year. This summer the company also logged more orders from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which bought eight additional American Eurocopter AS 350B3 AStars in July.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
Sikorsky is confident its upgraded medium twin, the S-76D, will make its first flight in the fourth quarter of next year, said Bruce McKinney, v-p for Europe. Sikorsky engineers are building the all-composite blades for the main rotor. Pratt & Whitney Canada has been running three PW210S development engines. Wind-tunnel tests have been performed to check engine inlet icing.
Sikorsky is readying its X-2 demonstrator for flight tests late this year. The hybrid design, which looks like a helicopter with two contrarotating coaxial main rotors and one tail propulsor, already had its fly-by-wire system tested in a Schweizer 333. The actual X-2 has undergone engine and drive-train ground tests. Preliminary performance figures call for a 250-knot cruise speed and range of 500 nm.
Retrofit technology that could turn the Pentagon’s fleet of Black Hawks and other helicopters into 200-knot, high-altitude speedsters, and later be applied to the civil market, is one step closer to reality.
At last month’s Paris Air Show Eurocopter delivered the first upgraded Ecureuil/TwinStar, the AS 355NP, its current light twin offering. According to the Marignane, France-based manufacturer, the helicopter offers better performance, an enhanced cockpit and improved cabin interior. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified the aircraft on February 15. Transport Canada and Russian certifications are expected later this year.
Eagle Copters of Calgary, Alberta, has delivered its first three single-engine Bell 212 conversions. The “Eagle Single” features a single Honeywell T53-17A or B turboshaft engine in place of the 212’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T-3B Twinpac.
Eurocopter has launched a 50,000-sq-ft extension of its customization, subassembly and maintenance facility at Mexico City International Airport. In addition, in May the European manufacturer signed three training agreements in the country. The first, with the Mexican Polytechnical Institute, creates a course in aeronautical engineering for helicopters.
Saudi Arabia and the UK have already concluded the huge contract for 72 Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets that has been in negotiation for 18 months, informed sources told Aviation International News yesterday. The deal will be worth about $16 billion for the airframes alone.
Sikorsky announced Tuesday that the kingdom of Bahrain had signed a letter of acceptance for nine Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, the first export sale for the variant. Handled through foreign military sales channels, the acquisition is costing $204 million. The UH-60M is the latest Black Hawk version, featuring uprated engines and gearbox, wide-chord rotor blades and a digital, open-architecture avionics suite.
Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling made it clear at a press conference here in Paris that there will be no synergy between the Korean Helicopter Program (KHP) and the EC 175. Although these two programs share the same class–seven metric tons (5,400 pounds)–and the same timing–first flight in mid 2009–they are completely different, he asserted.