Lycoming Engines is devoting a generous portion of its Williamsport, Pa. plant to its Thunderbolt Advanced Technology Center, which is expected to produce advancements in design, parts and materials. The first such innovation, valve train roller tappet technology, is on view at its booth, No. 1319.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
Carson Helicopters Services and Sagem Avionics are teaming to install and certify a suite of digital avionics in the Sikorsky S-61, including a five-tube array of 10.4-inch flat-panel color displays. Further, the Carson S-61 upgrade will put new composite main rotor blades, a dual-channel AFCS and a solid-state air-data, attitude and heading system–both from Sagem–onto the venerable bird.
Penetration of the Honeywell LTS101 turboshaft into the civil market continued yesterday at Heli-Expo’06 as Heli-Lynx Helicopter Services conveyed two AS 350BA AStar conversions to purchasers.
In the midst of the overwhelming technology that drives much of the business at HAI’s Heli-Expo, it’s sometimes refreshing to find equipment that performs best because of its simplicity.
Take Erickson’s S-64 Air-Crane. It’s sophisticated where it needs to be, yet simple where technology is not required, with 9,000 or more shaft horsepower, payloads of up to 25,000 pounds and a decades-old reputation.
Bell Helicopter’s sales machine ran at full throttle here at Heli-Expo. Among the many orders announced was a three-ship Bell 430 contract signed by Dr. Wayne Hilliard, president of San Antonio Air Life of Texas. The airmed operator currently has a fleet of three Bell 412s and one 206 and recently passed a milestone of 30,000 patients transported.
Heli-Expo 2006 set a record with 14,051 first-day registered attendees. In all, 521 exibiting companies sprawled across more than 221,000 sq ft of floor space here at the Dallas Convention Center, with 48 helicopters under roof. Next year’s show will be held in Orlando, Fla., from March 1 to 3.
By this time next year Sikorsky may be in a position to challenge the number one spot in commercial helicopter deliveries based on total revenue. That was the optimistic message from Jeff Pino, senior vice president, corporate strategy, marketing and commercial programs, at a Heli-Expo press conference yesterday.
Since Lynn Tilton bought MD Helicopters last summer and installed herself as CEO, she has spoken about being on a mission. She says she wants her company to grow to become number one in terms of customer service, in addition to building the safest helicopters in the world. It is only over the past few months, she admits, that she has started to understand the enormity of the task.
If sales are the standard by which the success of an aviation trade show is measured, Heli-Expo 2006 will go down as an unqualified triumph, with announced helicopter sales contracts tallying more than $620 million among all the major manufacturers.
When we last talked you estimated you were about one-third of the way along a journey to changing Bell’s culture and implementing new tools and techniques. Is the company where you want it to be yet?