Three Chinese general aviation operators signed orders and commitments with Airbus Helicopters yesterday for 123 light singles and twins, including AS350s, EC130s and EC135s. Fujian Xinmei General Aviation (GAC) will be acquiring five AS350B3es, to be delivered this year. The company, which focuses on agricultural and utility work, has committed to another 50 light singles and twins over the next six years.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
Infinity Support Services (ISS) has announced plans to install a level-D flight simulator for the Sikorsky S-92 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. FlightSafety International will design, manufacture and support the training device. For the ISS Academy, FlightSafety will also supply training programs and supporting documents. FlightSafety will operate the S-92 simulator for two years and provide training for ISS simulator technicians. The simulator is expected to enter service by year-end and will be the first S-92 simulator installed in the Middle East.
The companies have walked away from an agreement announced last year to partner on a new 5,000-pound helicopter. They continue to operate the HeliVert joint venture that produces AW139s for the Russian and CIS markets.
Russian Helicopters has taken over the management of five aircraft repair plants formerly owned by Russia’s ministry of defense. The plants are located in Khabarovsk, Svetly (Kaliningrad Region), Engels (Saratov Region), St. Petersburg and Chita. They will “significantly strengthen” after-sales service for Russian commercial and military helicopters, according to the manufacturer. Managers from the plants met with Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev on May 21.
Ontario’s Ornge air ambulance system remains under government scrutiny. In testimony before the Provincial Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee March 6, the then-head of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Chris Lewis, said its anti-rackets branch is expanding its investigation to include interviewing witnesses in the U.S. and Italy and seeking documents from those jurisdictions.
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.
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.