Now air charter buyers can use their smartphones to grab the next available helicopter seat bound for the Hamptons. The new Blade app lets customers book a seat on an existing flight or charter a whole helicopter and then use the app to help fill the seats. The app is backed by New York City’s Liberty Helicopters. Flights booked on Blade take off from NYC’s East Side Heliport and land in South Hampton, East Hampton and Montauk, with return flights to Midtown’s West Side Heliport.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
EASA has certified a redesigned vertical bevel gear shaft for the Airbus Helicopters EC225, which was grounded for nine months in 2012 and 2013 after a series of in-flight failures. Manufacture of the redesigned gear shaft is under way for production aircraft and retrofits, with first installations (for both applications) planned for this year’s second half.
The new design provides corrosion resistance, compensates for residual stress and eliminates stress hot spots, eliminating all three factors that, combined, caused two unexpected vertical shaft failures.
The North Sea offshore industry held a brainstorming session in late April to examine the issues it faces with helicopter flights to and from oil and gas platforms. Although the organizers emphasized that most actions in the February CAA review (known as CAP 1145) relate to accident prevention, mitigation measures–such as emergency breathing systems (EBS) and passenger size restriction–cause the more urgent problems and accounted for a significant part of the discussion.
As of the middle of May, the FAA had yet to determine if it will renew its mandatory VFR helicopter route along the north shore of New York’s Long Island. The controversial North Shore Route was established for voluntary compliance in 2008 as a response to residential noise complaints and political prodding from elected officials, including U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y), who pressed then Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the FAA to make it mandatory.
The AgustaWestland AW609 civil tiltrotor passed another milestone on the road to certification by completing autorotation testing at AgustaWestland’s Arlington, Texas facility over the course of 10 flight hours in March and early April. Test aircraft Number 1 made more than 70 power-off conversions from airplane to helicopter mode.
The UK Ministry of Defence awarded BAE Systems a £16.7 million ($28 million) contract to supply its third-generation common missile warning system (CMWS) for British military helicopters. The order represents the first direct commercial sale of the latest generation countermeasures suite, BAE said.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based helicopter operator Infinity Support Services (ISS) signed an agreement with FlightSafety International to design, manufacture and support a full-motion Sikorsky S-92 flight simulator and other training devices for its ISS Aviation Academy. This will be the first S-92 simulator installed in the Middle East when it enters service by year-end. In addition, FlightSafety will provide ISS with training programs, courseware and manuals, as well as operate the level-D S-92 simulator.
Sikorsky and Lord completed flight-testing a hub-mounted vibration suppressor (HMVS) in March, the companies said yesterday.
The system seeks to address crew fatigue and reduced equipment reliability caused by helicopter vibration. The HMVS testbed was a UH-60A Black Hawk, which accelerated from a hover to 150 knots, performed autorotations and made turns with 60 degrees of bank.
Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland (Booth 6629) is showcasing an innovative VIP interior concept for its in-development AW169 at EBACE 2014, replete with artist renderings, color samples and a scaled-down mockup. The four-passenger interior concept features earth tones and swiveling seats with translucent shells. It was created by design firm Lanzavecchia + Wai for the “Flydeas for the City” contest sponsored by AgustaWestland and the contemporary design magazine Interni.
Charter operator VistaJet, which has a fixed-wing fleet comprised of large-cabin Bombardier jets, has been testing short-distance point-to-point service with an AgustaWestland AW109 GrandNew over the past year. The helicopter is based in St. Moritz and has been used to fly customers on short hops to such places as Milan, Geneva, Munich and Monte Carlo, as well as for heli-skiing excursions in the Swiss Alps.