Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday on June 12 by making a tandem parachute jump from a Bell 429 light twin near his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Bush and tandem partner Mike Elliott, a former member of the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights parachute squad and current president of the All Veteran Parachute Team, departed the 429 from 6,300 feet msl and landed uneventfully on the grounds of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, where Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush were married almost 70 years ago. Mrs.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
For a minute, I think I am in the wrong place.
The Enstrom Helicopter headquarters I visited in Menominee, Mich., more than a decade ago was a ramshackle collection of small, rundown hangars and older low-ceiling buildings. The dated offices had furnishings stuck in the 1960s. There were plenty of empty parking spaces, few employees and the company was perennially beset by rumors of its impending demise.
DRS Technologies, a Finmeccanica-owned U.S. defense contractor, has supported the distinctive sensor ball that sits atop the U.S. Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior since 1998. Technology updates the company has developed will make the electro-optical targeting system known as the mast-mounted sight (MMS) more lethal and better protect Kiowa Warrior crews—if only the Army continues investing in the long-serving scout helicopter.
Sikorsky and Lord have completed the flight demonstration of a hub-mounted vibration suppressor (HMVS) intended to address crew fatigue and reduced equipment reliability caused by helicopter vibration. Eventually, the HMVS could be part of a larger system integrated into all Sikorsky helicopters.
Certification in hand, Airbus Helicopters is endeavoring to ensure a faultless entry into service of the EC175 medium twin, a critical product for the company in the highly competitive offshore oil-and-gas market. The first delivery, to Belgium-based operator NHV, is slated for the second half of this year, almost five years after the type first flew.
Helicopter EMS operator Mont-Blanc Hélicoptères (MBH), a defeated bidder in a recent tender by a group of hospitals in central France, is suing the group on technical grounds, alleging some of the requirements are irrelevant. In particular, the stipulation for an autopilot compromises safety, according to MBH managing director Yannick Métairie, who dismisses the autopilot as a “hazardous” system.
The FAA has extended the expiration date of the final rule requiring civil helicopter pilots to use the New York North Shore Helicopter Route when flying VFR along the north shore of Long Island. The current rule was scheduled to expire on August 6 this year but the FAA extended it for two more years to preserve the current operating environment while it determines whether use of the route should be permanently mandatory.
Airbus Helicopters’ retired X3 compound helicopter demonstrator entered the Air and Space museum at Paris Le Bourget Airport today. The airframe had reached its life limit, as it was previously a prototype AS365 Dauphin used for high-speed evaluations before it was fitted with two side-mounted propellers and a modified tail in 2010 to become the X3. The X3 set an unofficial speed record of 255 knots a year ago, but no follow-on program has since been announced by Airbus Helicopters.
The first EC725 to be fully assembled in Brazil was handed over to the Brazilian navy on June 17, Airbus Helicopters said. The previous 11 EC725s received by the Brazilian armed forces were only partially assembled in Brazil, or supplied direct from Airbus Helicopters’ production line in France.
The U.S. State Department is still awaiting the delivery of 13 refurbished Sikorsky S-61T Triton helicopters it ordered under a 2010 umbrella contract, initially to support the diplomatic mission in Afghanistan. The department has already received 16 modernized S-61Ns.