Eurocopter announced today that its X3 compound helicopter demonstrator flew at 255 knots in level flight on Friday near Istres in southeast France. Also part of the unofficial speed record was a descent at 263 knots. These speeds are just a few knots higher than those the Sikorsky X2 semi-compound demonstrator attained in 2010.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
The U.S. Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate selected Bell Helicopter Textron, a Boeing-Sikorsky team and AVX Aircraft among contractors invited to participate in the joint multi-role technology demonstrator (JMR-TD) program with new rotorcraft designs, the companies confirmed. They expect the Army will award JMR-TD contracts by September. The first demonstrator flights are planned in 2017.
New details on the still-to-be-certified Eurocopter EC175 medium-twin helicopter program have emerged, including unexpected Chinese influence. Although the EC175/AC352 is a 50-50 joint program with China’s Avicopter, the Marignane, France-based manufacturer had long made it clear the two certification processes were distinct.
The EASA has issued a new emergency AD on the Eurocopter EC225, requiring crews to land or ditch immediately if the main gearbox’s back-up lubrication system activates. “Investigations on the [emergency lubrication] system have revealed an area of the flight envelope in which the [system’s] performance is different from that assumed during certification,” the EASA said. The system was designed to allow for 30 minutes of flight after loss of oil lubrication.
Bell delivered eight new helicopters in Russia last month, including five 429 light twins and a 407GX single. Two of the 429s will be configured for medevac for use in the St. Petersburg area.
Sikorsky has delivered the first of two VIP S-92s to the Turkish National Police for service to the Turkish Prime Ministry, under a contract signed in 2011. The new helicopters will support the head-of-state function, currently served by one S-92.
Eurocopter has inaugurated its Systemhaus, a €100 million ($130 million) helicopter development center built at its existing site in Donauwörth, Germany. With a total floor area of 300,000 sq ft, it is the new workplace for about 900 employees previously located in Ottobrunn. The facility features research and test facilities that will be used notably for the still-under-wraps X9 program.
In Afghanistan, soldiers still pull the trigger. Civilian contractors do almost everything else. While the U.S. and its allies may be preparing for a troop draw-down there next year, for the contractors flying an assortment of 50 helicopters in country, things have never been busier or better.
Contrary to the hopes of most French helicopter EMS operators, French doctors have issued a motion calling for the soon-to-be-mandatory second flight crewmember to be a trained paramedic. New rules at the European level will mandate such a second crewmember, for some operations, beginning in October next year.
Aircraft synthetic-vision systems (SVS), when combined with GPS, gyros, accelerometers and terrain and obstacle databases, provide pilots with a colorful, animated depiction of the world outside the cockpit, matching what they would see looking through the windshield on a clear day. But to really see what is outside in dark or low-visibility conditions, you need an infrared (IR) camera. When you add forward-looking IR to SVS, you get a heat-referenced, real-world view along with a 3-D, database-derived and geo-referenced virtual view. Together they are called enhanced or combined SVS.