The first Bell 525 Relentless super-medium twin helicopter is moving closer to final assembly at Bell Helicopter’s plant in Amarillo, Texas. Matt Hasik, Bell’s senior vice president of commercial programs, told AIN that the three main cabin sections will be joined within the next few weeks. He also said that the first carbon-fiber, all-composite main rotor blade for the 525 has been completed and is undergoing testing.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
Marenco Swisshelicopter is still preparing to fly its SH09 SKYe single-turbine helicopter. The company is finalizing testing of the major systems, a spokesman told AIN. “We have done a number of trials on the aircraft,” he said. In addition, the “whirl tower” test bench is running at full speed with the main rotor head and gearbox. Certification of the 5,840-pound-mtow rotorcraft is expected in the second half of next year.
The first level-D flight simulator for Airbus Helicopters’ EC175 medium twin received EASA certification this week, thus allowing the manufacturer to use it to train customer pilots. Designed by Spain-based Indra and located at the Helisim training center adjacent to Airbus Helicopters’ factory in Marignane, France, it features a 210-degree by 80-degree continuous field of view. Another EC175 full-motion simulator will be installed in the U.S.
The Brazilian Navy gave AgustaWestland a $160 million-plus contract for the upgrade of eight Super Lynx Mk 21A helicopters. The Navy has operated the Lynx since 1978, receiving nine Mk 21s followed by nine Mk 21As. Five of the Mk 21s were later upgraded to Mk 21A.
Three Chinese general aviation operators signed orders and commitments with Airbus Helicopters yesterday for 123 light singles and twins, including AS350s, EC130s and EC135s. Fujian Xinmei General Aviation (GAC) will be acquiring five AS350B3es, to be delivered this year. The company, which focuses on agricultural and utility work, has committed to another 50 light singles and twins over the next six years.
Infinity Support Services (ISS) has announced plans to install a level-D flight simulator for the Sikorsky S-92 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. FlightSafety International will design, manufacture and support the training device. For the ISS Academy, FlightSafety will also supply training programs and supporting documents. FlightSafety will operate the S-92 simulator for two years and provide training for ISS simulator technicians. The simulator is expected to enter service by year-end and will be the first S-92 simulator installed in the Middle East.
The companies have walked away from an agreement announced last year to partner on a new 5,000-pound helicopter. They continue to operate the HeliVert joint venture that produces AW139s for the Russian and CIS markets.
Russian Helicopters has taken over the management of five aircraft repair plants formerly owned by Russia’s ministry of defense. The plants are located in Khabarovsk, Svetly (Kaliningrad Region), Engels (Saratov Region), St. Petersburg and Chita. They will “significantly strengthen” after-sales service for Russian commercial and military helicopters, according to the manufacturer. Managers from the plants met with Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev on May 21.
Ontario’s Ornge air ambulance system remains under government scrutiny. In testimony before the Provincial Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee March 6, the then-head of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Chris Lewis, said its anti-rackets branch is expanding its investigation to include interviewing witnesses in the U.S. and Italy and seeking documents from those jurisdictions.
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday on June 12 by making a tandem parachute jump from a Bell 429 light twin near his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Bush and tandem partner Mike Elliott, a former member of the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights parachute squad and current president of the All Veteran Parachute Team, departed the 429 from 6,300 feet msl and landed uneventfully on the grounds of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, where Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush were married almost 70 years ago. Mrs.