The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has approved the increased maximum gross weight for the Bell 429, Bell Helicopter announced today at Airshow China 2012 in Zhuhai. This approval makes China the 12thcountry to endorse the increased maximum gross weight for the Bell 429 based on Transport Canada’s certification. Transport Canada approved operation of the Bell 429 at 7,500 pounds (3,400 kg) in January after an extensive technical evaluation.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
Offshore operator Bristow “entered into an agreement” yesterday to order 10 Sikorsky S-92 medium-twin helicopters and secured options for another 16. The move emerges as the operator is keeping 16 Eurocopter Super Pumas on the ground, following two controlled ditchings that affected the EC225 type in just six months. Both ditchings were caused by a failure of the main gearbox.
AgustaWestland has awarded its annual Cormorant Trophy for Helicopter Rescue to a Canadian Forces SAR team from Squadron 103 for their October 27, 2011 rescue of two walrus hunters who were stranded on an Arctic Sea ice flow near Nunavut. The trophy recognizes the “Canadian civilian, government or military crew that has performed the most demanding helicopter rescue of the year.” The mission required 18 hours of flying and multiple fuel stops in an AW101.
Russian Helicopters and CAE are studying the joint development of helicopter flight simulators and pilot training programs in Tomilino, near Moscow. They will also discuss the joint creation of training centers in Russia and other countries. Russian Helicopters may thus “gain access to CAE’s technologies,” while CAE in turn will “have the opportunity to promote its products for Russian-built helicopters.”
Russian Helicopters is introducing an “advanced after-sales service system” through subsidiary Helicopter Service Company. The “new approach” is built on “integrated logistic support” and uses new procedures to certify service centers. Russian Helicopters pledges maintenance will be easier thanks to the widespread introduction of information technology. Parts will be available for order online and aircraft documentation will become electronic.
Las Vegas heli-tour operator Maverick Helicopters has taken delivery of the first Eurocopter EC130T2. Maverick was a launch customer for the upgraded and redesigned EcoStar, signing an agreement earlier this year to purchase up to 50. Maverick operates EC130s exclusively and currently has the world’s largest fleet. It took delivery of its first EC130B4 in 2003.
The Helitech show, which has long been held every odd-numbered year in Duxford, UK, and mounted a Portuguese spinoff in 2008 and 2010, is moving to become “a truly international helicopter show.” Next year it will take place at the Excel London exhibition and convention center from September 24 to 26. Henceforward it will be an annual event, and Berlin will host the 2014 event.
Sikorsky delivered two baseline S-92s to Bond Aviation Group, the first of 16 medium twins to be delivered under “the largest one-time acquisition of S-92s,” the manufacturer said. Sikorsky will now customize the helicopters for offshore oil operations. They will be operated by Norsk Helikopter Service in Norway. Sikorsky says the S-92’s backlog extends “well into 2016” and that the fleet will reach 500,000 hours early next year.
The U.S. Air Force issued a request for proposals (RFP) for its “high priority” combat rescue helicopter (CRH) acquisition on October 19. The RFP begins a second campaign to replace the service’s HH-60G Pave Hawk search-and-rescue helicopters. In 2009 the Pentagon cancelled the original replacement program, which had been awarded three years earlier to Boeing for the HH-47 Chinook, after successive contractor protests and delays.
Sion, Switzerland-based operator Air-Glaciers is updating its fleet of light singles and twins in anticipation of eventually phasing out its Aerospatiale SA316 Alouette IIIs.