Chris Horton, the recipient of the 2014 AgustaWestland Safety Award, is on a mission to “make safety sexy,” primarily to better reach his generation of pilots. “We’re pretty much glued to our iPhones, iPads, Facebook, Twitter,” he told AIN. “We get our news from social media. Safety education can be done that same way.” At 27, Horton is likely the youngest person to ever receive the HAI safety award.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
Composite rotor blade manufacturer Van Horn Aviation (VHA; Booth No. 7129) of Tempe, Ariz. is showcasing the company’s Bell 206 main rotor blade development project. This program is aimed at creating a replacement for the metal blades in legacy 206 models, starting with the 206B3 JetRanger. The JetRanger that will serve as the program’s test bed is on display at the company’s booth. “Our goal is to have the 206B3 blade certified by the end of this year,” VHA president James Van Horn told AIN.
CHC Helicopters division Heli-One (Booth No. 1804), a global provider of repair and overhaul services for helicopters, now offers overhauled aircraft components and spare parts to other helicopter operators via new customer portals on its website (www.heli-one.com).
AgustaWestland has had a busy several days here at Heli-Expo. The airframer announced several orders, including one to Omni Helicopters International Group for nine helicopters (four AW139 intermediate twins and five AW189 medium twins in offshore configuration), deliveries of which will begin in late 2015 and late 2016, respectively. The order marks the conclusion of an earlier agreement for a total of 13 AW139s, and the arrival of the AW189s will mark the type’s Brazil debut, where Omni will use it to support the oil and gas industry.
Bell Helicopter (Booth No. 4536) CEO John Garrison said there was never any doubt what the company really planned to call its new light single.
“There’s so much brand equity in the Jet Ranger. It’s phenomenal. It brings tears to people’s eyes. We knew we wanted Jet Ranger. X is the next generation of Jet Ranger.”
Sometimes an understanding means the potential for sales, and sometimes it is the beginning of something much, much broader. That was the case when Portland, Ore.-based Erickson and Airbus Helicopters came together yesterday at Heli-Expo 2014 to sign an MOU to explore new opportunities between the two companies. This comes on the heels of two acquisitions in 2013 by Erickson, namely Evergreen Helicopters and Air Amazonia.
Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca, a Safran company, delivered 984 engines last year and repaired an additional 1,499, resulting in an 8-percent increase in revenues over 2012, chairman and CEO Olivier Andriès reported yesterday at Heli-Expo. He singled out the agreement to supply Arrius 2R engines for Bell Helicopter’s 505 Jet Ranger X, announced at last year’s Paris Air Show, as a milestone for both companies, and an indication of growth to come. “In 75 years of history, the two leading companies the helicopter world had never, ever partnered before.”
Yesterday was a banner day for French helicopter manufacturer Guimbal as it marked its entry to the U.S. helicopter market, with the delivery of its first Cabri G2 light single to Newberg, Ore.-based operator and training provider Precision Helicopters.
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.
NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman spoke to AIN about the Board’s utilization of social media, particularly the decision to share investigation findings on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook following the July 2013 Asiana Airlines 214 landing accident at SFO, a practice that drew sharp criticism from some aviation stakeholders, including the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).