The Bell 429 has received its production rotor blades. They replace the prototype blades that supported the first flight on February 27. In addition, engineers have loaded new software for the cockpit displays. Bell said the new software is more representative of the production aircraft.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
Everest Rescue Trust, a New Zealand-based charity organization, is planning to operate an unmanned helicopter to rescue stranded climbers on Mount Everest, starting next year. The piston-engine Alpine Wasp will be able to carry two climbers at a time. Flight tests were scheduled to start at the end of last month and continue through November at New Zealand’s 12,300-foot Mount Cook.
FAA certification of the Bell 210, a single-turbine medium helicopter derived from the military UH-1H Huey, could happen this month, Bell CEO Mike Redenbaugh said at the Paris Air Show this week. “Our flight testing is complete, FAA pilots have flown the helicopter and now we’re just waiting for approval of the paperwork,” he added.
Bell Helicopter selected Chelton Flight Systems to provide a glass cockpit for the company’s light single-engine helicopters. The Chelton cockpit will be available from Bell for the Model 407 beginning in the first quarter of 2007. Until then, Bell 407, 206 and 210 owners can upgrade their existing aircraft to synthetic vision through Bell installation facilities or Chelton’s dealer network.
Bristow Helicopters has ordered two Eurocopter EC 225s, with a scheduled service entry of spring next year. The order for this latest addition to the Super Puma family is valued at approximately E32 million ($40.3 million), and Bristow has options on an additional two aircraft.
fter flying the Bell/Agusta AB139, it is easy to see why Amedeo Caporaletti, president of Agusta and CEO of AgustaWestland, believes that this helicopter sets new standards for medium twins. The 13,227-pound-mtow AB139 meets the stringent standards imposed by both the European JARs and FAR Part 29, including all amendments.
Seacor’s Aviation Division has signed an agreement to have Keystone Helicopters provide maintenance and completions for the more than 160 helicopters it operates in the northeastern U.S., Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.
Sloane Helicopters has received Part 145 approval for its new maintenance facility at Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The facility is certified to deliver base maintenance for Robinson R22s and R44s. It can also perform line maintenance on Bell 206s and Agusta A119s and A109s. The 13,000-sq-ft hangar will serve operators in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The second prototype of the Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor is now flying in airplane mode, after starting its flight test regimen in helicopter mode on November 9 last year. It operates from Cameri, an Italian Air Force airfield near Milan.
While the S-76 and S-92 will remain Sikorsky’s bread and butter for some time to come, the company is also launching a new age of vertical lift technology, which it is calling the X2.
Sikorsky announced the X2 program at Heli-Expo 2006, claiming its clean-sheet airframe design and counter-rotating blades would allow the helicopter to reach speeds of 250 knots or more while retaining true helicopter heavy-lift capability.