Sikorsky’s S-92 has successfully completed the artificial icing requirement of the FAA’s icing-certification program, thus preparing the aircraft for its final all-weather-operations certification phase. It has already completed more than 80 percent of the requirements for icing certification and begun natural icing trials, with several successful natural icing events flown to date.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
Sikorsky Aircraft last month recognized Keystone Helicopter
for its achievement in completing and delivering the 50th S-76C+ helicopter. The aircraft is earmarked for delivery to Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. Keystone, in Coatsville, Pa., has been the principal completion center for the S-76C+ since 2000.
Air-tour operator Blue Hawaiian Helicopters has ordered four more Eurocopter EC 130B4s to augment its existing fleet of eight AS 350B2 AStars and nine EcoStars. Blue Hawaiian began operations on Maui in 1985 with one helicopter and today is the state’s largest helicopter tour company. The company was the launch customer for the EcoStar in 2001.
American Eurocopter has received an FAA aircraft production certificate to manufacture its U.S. Army UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter and EC 145 commercial variant at the company’s plant in Columbus, Miss.
The first helicopter produced under the certificate was delivered to the Army on August 27.
Eurocopter and the house of Hermès revealed their “l’Hélicoptère par Hermès,” an EC 135 with a decidedly up-market interior, yesterday morning here at the convention.
Eurocopter and Hermès officials met at EBACE in Geneva in May last year, held discussions for six months and decided to cooperate on a joint project that culminated in the special edition of the EC 135 on display here at Eurocopter’s booth (No. 4351).
The BA609 tiltrotor that flew at the Paris Air Show put on an impressive display, but potential buyers said they had misgivings about the hybrid design. Several of the operators interviewed deemed the aircraft’s performance “fabulous,” if only in theory.
Bell and Agusta continue their development of the BA609 civil tiltrotor, a joint effort that has been ongoing for more than a decade. However, the future of the program may hinge on the joint venture’s ability to control program costs, speed certification and deliveries, as well as the success of the first squadron of military tiltrotors about to deploy to Iraq.
The second Bell 429 took to the skies on August 31, five months after the first test ship flew last winter. It is one of five that will eventually complete a test program that is expected to amass 1,500 hours in the air before the helicopter’s planned certification and initial customer deliveries next year.
The AgustaWestland/Bell/Lockheed Martin VH-71 made its first flight July 3 in Yeovil, UK. The 40-minute flight reached speeds of 135 knots and was reportedly uneventful, but there are likely challenges ahead for the program. The U.S. Navy is developing the VH-71 as a replacement for the 30-year-old Sikorsky VH-3Ds and somewhat newer N-60 “Whitehawks” that transport the President and other high-ranking government officials.
Indian-based manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) is making progress toward European certification of its Dhruv light-twin helicopter. A tentative schedule calls for European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification early in 2009. Indian deliveries began in 2002.