Eurocopter expects that its recently tested helicopter hybrid power concept will enter commercial service, soon perhaps as early as next year.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Engines
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft powerplants.
Eurocopter is upgrading most of its product range, with the goal of providing improved performance and reduced costs. The manufacturer is reporting progress on the developments of the AS350B3e Ecureuil (AStar), EC135T2e/P2e, EC145T2, AS365N3e and Super Puma L1e/C1e. All were announced at Heli-Expo 2011 in February.
The AgustaWestland AW189 medium twin helicopter will be the first civil application for Microturbo’s e-APU, an auxiliary power unit that delivers essentially electric power.
The chairman of Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) wants a mandatory 30-minute “run dry” requirement on all main gearboxes (MGB) for future helicopters. Wendy Tadros’s remarks came as part of the TSB’s investigation of the March 2009 fatal crash of a Sikorsky S-92A off Newfoundland, 11 minutes after its MGB ran out of oil.
The European Union market is a “top priority” for Russian Helicopters, and the manufacturer does not want to limit those Russian-made models that are in operation there to rescue and firefighting.
Sikorsky has announced the end of the S-76C++ production run, thus firming up S-76D delivery plans for this year. The S-76D is undergoing flight testing, with a goal for FAA sea-level certification in the fourth quarter.
Special conditions for the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S turboshaft, which is powering the in-development Sikorsky S-76D, have been issued by the FAA and are now effective, on the grounds that the engine has “a novel or unusual design feature”–engine operation in APU mode. Despite the additional testing required, certification of the engine is still targeted for September.
Turbomeca has received EASA certification for its 950-shp Arriel 2D turboshaft, destined to power the Eurocopter AS350B3e Squirrel. The Arriel 2D is said to provide better performance (its predecessor stood at 848 shp) for lower fuel consumption. The initial 4,000-hour TBO is expected to increase to 6,000 hours.
Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca (Hall 2A A232) is busy developing improved models for new Eurocopter variants in the light-single and medium-twin helicopter categories, as well as an engine family that will power China’s and Russia’s forays in medium twins.