Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) is here exhibiting the Hermès luxury version of its EC135, and is soliciting new possibilities for customization. The helicopter manufacturer (Booth 6613) is seeing a steady market in private and business aviation, with a combined 150 helicopters sold in the world last year by rotorcraft OEMs. Company design engineers are now working on the VIP version of the EC175, with hinged doors and an escalator for passengers.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
MD Helicopters showed off its prototype MD540A armed scout helicopter last week at the Sofex show in Jordan, marking the type’s first appearance outside the U.S. The choice of venue was made to highlight the type’s credentials in an area where its hot-and-high performance is of considerable interest, at a show where its special-forces support capability is highly relevant, and in a country that has a requirement for a new armed helicopter.
Sikorsky Aircraft rolled out the CH-53K, the U.S. Marine Corps’ future heavy lift helicopter, on May 5 at the company’s West Palm Beach, Fla. facility. According to Sikorsky, the mostly composite helicopter–dubbed the “King Stallion”–will fly by year-end, with operational service expected in 2019.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China has issued a validation type certificate for the Sikorsky S-76D. Last month Yunnan Jingcheng Group was to be the first company in China to take delivery of an S-76D. China-based Changhe Aircraft Industries is to supply S-76D cabins, as a second source, beginning in 2016.
Indian helicopter operators have asked the country’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to revoke a new requirement making pilots personally responsible for conducting security checks on passengers. Ahead of India’s long election campaign, which ends this month and involves extensive use of chartered helicopters by politicians, the DGCA sent out a directive that obliges pilots to personally search passengers for guns and other illegal items.
The civil aviation authority of the Cayman Islands (a branch of the British CAA) and Cayman Islands Helicopters have won their appeal against a previous justice decision that forced the sightseeing flight operator to suspend operations from a helipad conveniently located near a cruise-ship terminal in George Town. As of April 8, the CAA still had to validate the certificate again, almost one year after it had been suspended.
France’s civil aviation authority, the DGAC, has approved the idea of training medical personnel to serve as the HEMS “technical crewmembers” required by the EASA’s IR-OPS regulation. Beginning October 8, a technical crewmember will be required on some HEMS flights that thus far have been conducted by a single pilot. Operators’ reactions vary from wariness to strong support, but one pilot union vigorously opposes the move.
The EASA has certified the redesigned vertical bevel gear shaft for the Airbus Helicopters EC225, which has suffered in-flight failures and a nine-month grounding in 2012 and 2013. Manufacturing of the redesigned gear shaft is under way for production aircraft and for retrofits, and installations for both applications are slated to begin in the second half of this year.
Kaman Aerospace has begun production flight-testing of the first of 10 refurbished SH-2G(I) Super Seasprites that were previously delivered to Australia, but have now been bought by the Royal New Zealand Navy. The milestone opens another chapter in the story of a design that made its first flight (as the HU2K-1) on July 2, 1959, and which became a stalwart of the U.S. Navy’s shipborne helicopter fleet until retired in 2001.
The Japan National Police Agency has ordered another Agusta Westland AW139 medium twin helicopter, which is scheduled to enter service in 2015 for operations in Kagoshima Prefecture. AgustaWestland and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace announced the sale here at ABACE on Tuesday, noting that the new AW139 will replace an ageing Bell 412 in the police fleet.