Rotorcraft

News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.

March 3, 2014 - 1:10am

Troubled by an increase in the number of helicopter accidents in the last several years, the FAA has launched the Rotorcraft Safety Initiative (RSI), an effort to curb helicopter fatal accidents.

From Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2013, the U.S. helicopter industry experienced 38 fatal helicopter crashes, a 100-percent increase over the same period in 2011-2012. These accidents resulted in 76 fatalities, 95 percent more than the same period the year before and the highest number of fatal accidents since 1994.

March 2, 2014 - 3:55am

The EASA is considering increasing the time in which a pilot is expected to respond to engine failure in a single-engine helicopter, to align certification standards with real-world human performance. The new standard, if adopted, would require helicopters to be designed so that the pilot has more time to respond before a decay in rotor rpm takes the machine into hazardous dynamic territory. A study by Dutch aerospace research center NLR shows that this would add weight and cost.

March 2, 2014 - 2:15am

The EASA has published a new requirement in certification–“operational suitability data” (OSD)–mandating that aircraft manufacturers, including those building helicopters, submit data the EASA considers important for safe operations. OSD covers pilot, maintenance staff and simulator qualification; the master minimum equipment list (MMEL); and possibly other areas, depending on the aircraft’s systems.

March 2, 2014 - 1:15am

FlightSafety International is upgrading its helicopter simulator graphics with its new Vital 1100 visual system and has already qualified it in several level-D machines and for use in other advanced training devices. Providing sharper resolution and a larger field of view, the new system has five times the computing power of its Vital X predecessor and significantly enhances training by providing realistic mission-specific imagery with improved scene content and greater levels of detail, says the training provider.

March 1, 2014 - 3:50am

The long-simmering debate about how best to address the issue of helicopter noise above the Los Angeles basin has come to full boil. The parties that had been trying to collaborate on voluntary abatement measures have seen them become mired in a miasma of mistrust, skepticism, anger and a sense of betrayal on the part of just about everyone who flies a helicopter through the airspace, including–for the first time–law enforcement.

February 27, 2014 - 4:35pm

AgustaWestland formally unveiled the latest addition to its lineup, the AW109 Trekker, on Tuesday at Heli-Expo. Notably, the helicopter is the Italy-based company’s first light twin to offer skid landing gear. It is expected to receive certification and begin deliveries next year.

The helicopter revealed this week at Heli-Expo has 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.

February 27, 2014 - 4:25pm

Sikorsky Aircraft offered some insight into the future of its S-300C training helicopter yesterday at Heli-Expo. The company also detailed its progress in fulfilling the last 19 orders for the S-300C following the 2012 closure of the former Schweizer production facility, with the last airframe expected to be completed within six months.

February 27, 2014 - 4:15pm

Milestone Aviation Group signed a purchase contract today at Heli-Expo for eight AgustaWestland helicopters as part of the companies’ framework agreement, which was initially announced in September last year. The latest contract is for five AW139s and three AW189s for delivery by year-end. The framework agreement–which covers firm orders and options for 44 aircraft delivering over the next four years, when fully executed–represents the largest civilian helicopter sale in AgustaWestland history.

February 27, 2014 - 4:05pm

The U.S. Export-Import Bank recently topped $1 billion in support of American-made business airplane and helicopter financings since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2012. In a deal that drove it past this milestone, the bank approved a guarantee of a $300 million loan extended by Apple Bank for Savings to Minsheng Financial Leasing Co. of Tianjin, China, to finance the purchase of eight business jets from Gulfstream Aerospace. At EBACE 2012, the Ex-Im Bank announced it would provide support for at least $1 billion in business airplane and helicopter financings by the end of 2014.

February 27, 2014 - 3:30pm

RedViking Engineering (Booth No. 2811) is at Heli-Expo 2014 with a little extra flair, now that it has merged with SuperiorControls. The merger seems to be a good deal for both companies.

The former designs, builds, installs and supports helicopter powertrain test systems in both the military and commercial venues, while the latter provides manufacturing execution systems that include custom machines, software, automation and conveyance solutions.

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