The SKYe SH09 single-engine helicopter flew for the first time today in Molis, Switzerland, Marenco Swisshelicopter announced. With chief test pilot Dwayne Williams at the controls, the helicopter performed five hover flights, logging 20 minutes in the air.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
The NTSB is faulting the pilot for the fatal air tour crash of a Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Airbus EC130B4 that went down in heavy rain and limited visibility on the island of Molokai on Nov. 10, 2011. The crash killed pilot Nathan Cline and his four passengers.
Greg Maitlen pivoted the Bell 407GX carefully as we approached a ridge slightly lower than nearby 10,064-foot Mount San Antonio (also known as Mount Baldy), the highest peak in southern California’s tinder-dry San Gabriel mountain range. Maitlen, Bell Helicopter’s regional sales manager for the mountain U.S., was piloting a demo of the 407GX’s new flight manual supplement allowing carriage of a heavier payload in hot-and-high conditions. The new AFM supplement was certified in July and involves no changes to the 407GX other than placing the new FMS-12 supplement in the helicopter.
A German photographer spotted a modified EC135 at Airbus Helicopters’ development facility in Donauwörth, Germany. Most striking is the light twin’s new horizontal empennage, moved to the top of the vertical fin.
Airbus Brazilian subsidiary Helibras recently held its second “Operational Safety Days,” filling São Paulo’s Anhembi Morumbi University auditorium to its 300-seat capacity. “We’ll need a bigger place next year,” Helibras safety manager Antonio Modesto told AIN, describing the helicopter safety event as “the realization of a personal dream” with full company support.
Russian Helicopters and Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies have started testing the Mi-171A2 helicopter with KBO-17 avionics. The first flights of the upgraded Mi-171 will take place in Moscow. The medium-twin helicopter features a five-display suite and an obstacle warning system. With the new system, the required crew is reduced to two. Certification, once slated for this year, has been postponed to 2015.
An advance notice of proposed rulemaking from the Bureau of Safety and Environment (BSEE) seeks to improve safety for operations related to helicopters and helidecks on fixed offshore facilities. The BSEE invites comments on whether to incorporate in its regulations industry standards for design, construction and maintenance of helidecks, as well as standards for aviation fuel storage and handling.
Sikorsky Aircraft marked 75 years of modern helicopter flight that began Sept. 14, 1939, when 50-year-old chief designer and chief test pilot Igor Sikorsky lifted off the ground “to tabletop height” in an experimental helicopter designated the VS-300. That first flight began a four-year test program that “proved the efficiency of Sikorsky’s single-rotor design, gave birth to a global helicopter industry and forever changed the course of aviation history,” the company noted.
After a number of delays, Russian Helicopters is reevaluating four helicopter programs that were slated for certification this year or next, namely the Ka-226, Ka-62, Mi-171A2 and Mi-38. The company is conducting “an analysis and assessment of all its new programs to determine more precisely time frames for certification and the start of serial production,” a spokesman told AIN.
The NTSB is calling on the U.S. Coast Guard to work with the Interior Department to mitigate methane discharges from offshore energy platforms in the Gulf of Mexico when helicopters are present. The recommendation follows two power-loss incidents in helicopters that led to accidents, one in 2011 and the other last year, on or near offshore oil platforms.
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