Air Methods’ products division has been selected by American Eurocopter to provide medical interiors, avionics and airframe accessories for the AS 350 and EC 130. Air Methods says it is capable of 10 to 20 conversions per year. Each conversion has a market value of approximately $500,000. Air Methods has performed almost 40 Eurocopter EMS modifications over the last four years.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
The Miami branch of the United States Customs and Border Protection (CPB) Office of Air and Marine has taken delivery of two AgustaWestland AW139s. The helicopters are equipped with multi-payload electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors, laser designator combined with EO/IR and multimode weather radar and communication systems. Systems integration was performed by L-3 Communications in Waco, Texas.
Sikorsky Aircraft has successfully ground tested fly-by-wire (FBW) technology that will debut on 28 H-92s slated for delivery in 2009 to Canadian military forces. The H-92 is the military variant of the S-92. Sikorsky partnered with BAE Systems to develop the FBW system.
The Bell/Agusta BA609 civil tiltrotor program is moving forward, according to a Bell spokesman, with two more flight-test ships scheduled to join the two already flying over the next 18 months. However, there are some indications that the program, now into its 10th year, is beginning to falter.
A recent FAA airworthiness handbook bulletin that aims to clarify the maintenance requirements for Part 135 aircraft might not be a good thing for some operators, but it might prove beneficial for some maintenance facilities.
Eurocopter will make its EC 145 available with certified night-vision goggle (NVG) capability in Europe, Canada and the U.S. The NVG configuration will be available for new helicopters and as a retrofit for those already in service. Eurocopter said it plans to extend NVG capability to the EC 135 next and to other models “on customer request.”
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.
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.