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.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
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.
The pilot of a Papillon Airways air-tour Airbus AS350B3 was killed May 18 at a helistop at the bottom of the Grand Canyon after exiting the helicopter for a fluid check while leaving the engine running and the blades turning, according to an NTSB preliminary report issued on Tuesday. Witnesses said the empty helicopter then became airborne, hit the ground and rolled over. Its rotor blades struck and killed the pilot.
Bell Helicopter executives told AIN that the company will be pursuing initial type certification of its new 505 Jet Ranger X light single from Transport Canada and will conduct prototype assembly and flight-testing of the aircraft from its plant in Mirabel, Quebec. First flight is expected later this year.
Menominee, Mich.-based helicopter maker Enstrom doubled its workforce over the last year and recently completed a major plant expansion and remodel as it ramps up export sales of its 480B light turbine single and begins assembly and prepares for the first flight of its new TH180 piston trainer. The company employs more than 200 people, 30 of them engineers.
Wichita-based EagleMed enlisted Baldwin Safety & Compliance as an additional resource for the critical care aeromedical transport company’s safety management system (SMS) needs. EagleMed president Larry Bugg said Baldwin’s added services will bolster EagleMed’s “ongoing efforts” to enhance its safety management system. “Baldwin’s comprehensive set of safety management tools will be an added benefit to the company and our patients as we progress toward level three of the FAA’s SMS program,” Bugg said.