A trio of aviation companies from China, Hong Kong and Australia announced here on the eve of ABACE 2014 in Shanghai the forming of a new partnership, the China General Aviation Power-Line Service, to offer power line maintenance and associated services to Chinese utility companies.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
Airbus Helicopters is making its public debut in China this week for the first time since the company formerly known as Eurocopter was renamed as part of a wider restructuring that has seen other parts of its EADS parent group channel the marketing power of the Airbus brand. Airbus airliners have sold well here in the People’s Republic, but then so have the “Eurocopter” rotorcraft, which still lay a strong claim to being the market leader in China.
Bell Helicopter revealed at the end of March that it has sold three Bell 505 Jet Ranger Xs to China Star Aero Investment. The sale was made at Heli-Expo, held in Anaheim, California, in February, but not announced at the time. The agreement includes an option to purchase an additional seven aircraft.
Bell said that China Star Aero will use the new helicopter as part of the so-called “Beautiful China” tourism campaign. This will involve an aerial sightseeing initiative, which is supported by China’s central government.
Bell Helicopter is stepping up efforts to bring its “short light single” helicopter to market, having formally unveiled the new model as the 505 Jet Ranger X at the Heli-Expo show in Anaheim, California, in February. Here at ABACE, the company is exhibiting with its Chinese distributor Aerochine (Booth P529) and is also promoting its new twin-engine Bell 525.
Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) and China’s Avicopter, partners in thedevelopment of the EC175 and AC352 medium-twin helicopters, signed an agreement last month for the production of 1,000 of the two models. The agreement is valued at $21 billion over 20 years, with each airframer expecting to assemble approximately 500helicopters.
The Squadron’s new iFrat flight risk assessment tool for the iPad uses a color-coded risk scale and breaks down flights into five elements: planning, environment, assets, communications and event. Pilots record an assessment of each element, based on their flight experience and knowledge; iFrat then generates a simple pictorial report exportable via email. New FAA rules require helicopter EMS pilots to conduct a risk assessment before each flight.
Russian Helicopters is launching a new phase of modernization at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant to re-tool and upgrade the factory. The first stage involves modernizing and expanding the production of protective coatings. “Project development started last year, to meet the need to increase efficiency and to ensure the products made are of the highest possible quality,” said Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev. As a result, the plant will be ready to start production of the Mi-171A2, an upgraded version of the Mi-8/171.
Chartright Executive Helicopters will operate a depot for AgustaWestland in Toronto that will stock parts for the AW109, AW119 and AW139s. Chartright is an authorized AgustaWestland service center.
ExecuJet Europe is launching helicopter charter and management services from its London Cambridge FBO, having received a helicopter AOC from the UK CAA. The company’s managed and charter fleet includes two Airbus EC155s based at Cambridge Airport, and negotiations for two more contracts have been under way since September. ExecuJet is telling managed helicopter customers they will benefit from its buying power for items such as fuel and insurance. Operations director John Brutnell said he expects charter demand for both business and leisure travel.
On March 4 the FAA issued its final rule on Stage 3 helicopter noise certification standards for new helicopter type design and the upgrade of Stage 1 and Stage 2 helicopters when upgrading to Stage 3 via supplemental type certificate (STC). The rule standardizes FAA regulations with those adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2002 and follows the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the topic issued in 2012.