Rotorcraft Leasing has acquired 53 Bell 206 single-engine helicopters and related assets operated by the Bristow Group in the Gulf of Mexico for $65 million. The deal includes spares; bases at Rockport, Texas, and Abbeville, La.; and offshore fueling equipment. Most of Bristow’s affected employees are expected to be offered positions
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News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
Harbin Aviation Industry (HAIG) on November 15 in Harbin, China, delivered the first EC 175 airframe to Eurocopter. HAIG is Eurocopter’s partner in the medium-twin helicopter program. The prototype will be assembled at Eurocopter’s headquarters in Marignane, France, and is scheduled to fly in the fourth quarter of next year. EASA certification is pegged for 2011, with approval from Chinese authority CAAC to follow in 2012.
Harbin Aviation Industry (HAIG) delivered the first EC 175 airframe to Eurocopter on Saturday in Harbin, China. Harbin is the European manufacturer’s partner in the medium-twin helicopter program. The prototype will undergo final assembly at Eurocopter’s headquarters in Marignane, France, and is scheduled to fly in the fourth quarter of next year.
Eurocopter (Chalet No. 33) is expecting that the Middle Eastern and North African markets will continue to grow in the coming years. Here in the Gulf region, the European manufacturer has sold its first EC 135 Hermès luxury twin.
Start-up manufacturer Hélicoptères Guimbal delivered its first Cabri G2 two-seater to French-based operator Ixair on September 19. The company claims this aircraft brings new technology to the Robinson R22 and Schweizer 300 market, notably in terms of safety.
Authorities say VFR flight into IMC appears the culprit in a spectacular pre-dawn helicopter crash in late September. Both pilot and passenger were killed when their Robinson R44 II crashed through the roof of a home on approach to Kenosha Airport, Wis. September 21 at 5:30 a.m. The aircraft sliced through the roof, fell down the stairway of the two-story home, exited the front door, and ended up on a neighbor’s driveway.
Despite a recent executive shake-up at Bell Helicopter, company executives insist that the new $4.865 million (2007) Model 429 light twin will receive certification approval early next year and that first customer deliveries will begin shortly thereafter.
The BA609 tiltrotor program continues to move forward, according to Bell/Agusta Aerospace. Four BA609s will be used in the development and certification flight-test program–two of which are flying now, one with Bell in Texas and the other with AgustaWestland in Italy. The aircraft have flown 365 hours to date. Three more years of flight and certification tests are planned, with 2011 as the current time frame for certification.
The new Bell 429 light twin will have a faster top cruise speed than the previously published 142 knots, program director Neil Marshall told AIN. He declined to specify just how much faster the 429 will be, saying only that the higher speed “would be pleasing” to customers.
Bell/Agusta Aerospace Co. is showing a new six-place VIP interior in its BA609 tiltrotor mockup here in the Orange County Convention Center (Booth No. 5519). Featuring leather seats, two beverage consoles, a flat floor and foldaway tables, the tasteful interior brings “the comfort of a corporate jet to an aircraft that can go places where others cannot,” said Don Barbour, Bell/Agusta executive marketing director.