Heli-One was awarded a contract yesterday to upgrade and modify two Eurocopter AS332L1s that will enable Lufttransport to perform all-weather search-and-rescue (AWSAR) missions in the Arctic. Next year Lufttransport will become responsible for operating the most northerly AWSAR operation in the world (at 78 degrees north) from a base in Svalbard, Norway. The two AS332L1s are undergoing an “essential modification program” to be able to operate in the “most dangerous and challenging areas on earth,” the companies said.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
Eurocopter obtained the first license in Europe permitting localizer-performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches on a helipad, at its development and production facility in Donauwörth, Germany. The helicopter manufacturer emphasized that such a procedure improves safety in poor visibility, since aircraft can overfly obstacles more safely.
Helicopter operator Bristow has inked several multi-year contracts with offshore oil and gas companies. The deals involve 12 large and three medium helicopters and are expected to generate up to $850 million in revenue. Operations will take place in Europe, Australia, the Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria, Tanzania and Mozambique. Six of the 12 large helicopters are new Sikorsky S-92s.
U.S. delegate Eleanor Norton (D-D.C.) has proposed an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 transportation appropriations bill that would overturn the FAA ban on most civil helicopter operations within the District of Columbia. Norton’s amendment would pave the way for the re-opening of the South Capitol Street Heliport (09W, SCSH), which has been closed to most public traffic since 2005 to accommodate security concerns. The heliport was opened in 1998 and hosted 41 corporate operators. Public access was limited after the terrorist attacks on Sept.
The Turkish government has tasked Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) with designing and building a home-grown helicopter to replace that country’s aging fleet of Bell UH-1s and for the export market. The deal could rely on a technology transfer from Sikorsky, and it is likely TAI will need to go engine shopping on the international market. TAI hopes to have a prototype flying within three years. Turkey is the world’s ninth-largest helicopter market, and its military estimates a need for up to 800 helicopters in the coming decade.
Even as the presence of helicopter OEMs doubled in India (to 10 from five), double-digit growth in its civil helicopter fleet in the seven years preceding 2011 gave way to negative growth last year when the fleet reduced from 293 to 266.
High operational costs, exacerbated by a depreciated rupee that fell 35 percent in the past 40 months, are posing challenges for the industry. “It’s a cumulative result of lack of optimum utilization, safety performance, infrastructure constraints and regulatory issues,” said K. Sridharan, president of the Rotary Wing Society of India (RWSI).
The Pacific offshore helicopter symposium will be held in Australia next month in the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Center at Darling Harbour. Topics to be discussed at the October 8 event include the new CASA rules on commercial operations such as the latest IFR, copilot qualifications and multi-engine performance standards. Changes to the latter could result in many hospital helipads and oil rig platforms operations being considered unsuitable for the current crop of medium to heavy helicopters, unless the new EASA rules are modified.
The Bristow Academy in Titusville, Fla., is installing the Garmin G500H glass-panel avionics suite in its four Robinson R44 Raven 1 instrument training helicopters. Bristow operates one of the world’s largest offshore oil and gas helicopter services, and updating its training helicopters with the G500H will make it easier for pilots to transition into larger mainline helicopters that already have the latest glass-panel technology, the company said. Separately, Bristow honored graduate Michael Campbell last month.
While Bell Helicopter may be banking on its tiltrotor technology to recapture market dominance in U.S. Army aviation, the civil market will continue to rely on conventional helicopter design for some years to come, CEO John Garrison told AIN.
Bell Helicopter and United Auto Workers Union (UAW) Local 218 continue their bargaining sessions in the wake of the union’s overwhelming rejection of the company’s latest contract proposal covering 2,500 production and manufacturing workers in the Fort Worth, Texas area.