Amid swirling dancers and projected rocky landscapes, AgustaWestland drew a crowd on the exhibit floor yesterday afternoon with the formal unveiling of the latest addition to its lineup, the AW109 Trekker, its first light twin to offer skid landing gear. Expected to receive certification and begin deliveries next year, the helicopter wore the colors of launch customer Dallas-based aeromedical transport provider SevenBar, which has also ordered another AW109 and a pair of AW119s as part of its first foray into rotorcraft operation.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
Mike Hirschberg, executive director of AHS International, used a media presentation at Heli-Expo 2014 to not only highlight the educational and advocacy roles of his organization, but also to share his perspective on the state of future rotorcraft development.
For Sikorsky, 2013 was a mixed bag, according to company president Mick Maurer, who gave his company’s year-end summary presentation this morning. While the company reached a record backlog of more than $15 billion, it also recorded an 8-percent drop in sales, to $6.3 billion, the decrease driven largely by a drop-off in U.S. government orders on both the OEM side and the aftermarket side last year.
Enstrom Helicopter unveiled a mockup of a new, low-cost, two-seat, piston-powered trainer on the opening day of Heli-Expo 2014. The TH-180 is a scaled-down version of the company’s popular FX-280 three-seat model. Company officials said the TH-180 should post direct operating costs of $175 per hour and an hourly fuel burn of less than 12 gph. The launch price is $365,000. It will be powered by the 210-hp Lycoming HIO-390 and feature an engine governor and electric clutch switch. First flight is anticipated this summer and certification is targeted for 2015.
Bell Helicopter has unveiled three refined mock-ups of its new, five-seat “short light single” (SLS) helicopter and officially named the new helicopter the “505 Jet Ranger X.” Bell previewed the SLS concept with an announcement and renderings at the 2013 Paris Air Show.
Rotorcraft Services Group Products (Booth No. 1206) announced during Heli-Expo 2014 that it is teaming up with Heli-One (Booth No. 1804) to collaborate on, produce, support and even co-market supplemental type certified products for their customers.
Initial STCs available through the partnership include a dual pivoting litter system for the AS350 and a rappel system for Bell 412 and 212 helicopters. Both STC’d products are on display at RSG’s booth at Heli-Expo.
Lease Corporation International (LCI) of Dublin, Ireland, announced signing orders for helicopters here at Heli-Expo 2014 worth almost $1 billion: the orders include a contract with AgustaWestland for as many as 18 helicopters valued at more than $280 million and a contract with Airbus Helicopters for as many as 21 new rotorcraft valued at some $645 million. Adding up the new orders and others since its launch in 2012, LCI has ordered more than $1.3 billion worth of rotorcraft.
Milestone Aviation Group (Booth No. 5114) and Sikorsky (Booth No. 2822) recognized two noteworthy achievements for the companies during opening day of Heli-Expo 2014.
Waypoint Leasing Services announced yesterday at Heli-Expo placing orders with Airbus Helicopters for 12 EC225 and 25 EC145T2 rotorcraft. Deliveries will commence this year and continue through 2017. Financial details of the order were not disclosed.
New models, new orders and of course, deliveries are what the excitement is all about at Heli-Expo 2014. MD Helicopters (Booth No. 6922) could celebrate a little of all that this week. Company CEO Lynn Tilton unveiled not just the existence of its new MD 530G armed aerial scout helicopter, but that it is flying and on the fast track to completion in the second quarter, with deliveries slated for the third quarter. The company is now taking orders for the $4- $5 million single-engine helicopter.