A round of upgrades is set to make the French air force’s two EC725 helicopter squadrons even more effective. One of them, based at Cazaux, designated EH01.067 and named after the Pyrenees Mountains, has already built a strong reputation for combat search and rescue (CSAR) missions in numerous overseas deployments.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
Loss of lubrication to the main gearbox (MGB) has been responsible for several crashes, ditchings and precautionary landings in large transport category helicopters in recent years. These accidents set off broad debate as to exactly what is required of main gearboxes under Part 29 certification of the U.S.
Daniele Romiti, AgustaWestland’s new CEO, says the company needs to adopt a new mindset if it is to improve its capabilities. He summarized the call to action in a motto: “Think Customer,” which he said is embedded in the Anglo-Italian OEM’s “StepChange” program.
AgustaWestland is in an expansive mood when it comes to civil rotorcraft training. The northern Italy-based helicopter manufacturer recently installed a new CAE-built AW139 full-flight simulator (FFS) at its primary training center in Sesto Calende and plans to add FFSs for the new AW189 and AW169 designs by 2014 and 2015, respectively. In addition, the company has recently launched courses in Switzerland and Malaysia, and anticipates future training expansion into the UK and Russia. The Middle East and South America are on its radar also.
More than 22,500 pilots who have trained in Helisim helicopter flight simulators since the company opened in 2000 have contributed to it reaching a 100,000-hour milestone, which was celebrated by the French company just before the 2013 Paris Air Show.
India’s small-but-strategic South Asian neighbors, including Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, will procure around 30 helicopters in different categories in the next five years, according to an internal study conducted by Sikorsky.
While Indian military helicopter procurement plans are for more than 1,000 helicopters by 2020, including light utility, attack, Mi-17 medium transport, heavy-lift and multi-role platforms, even as its GDP grew by over 6 percent last year, Bangladesh has the largest budget for procurement in the Indian periphery.
British Helicopter Association CEO Peter Norton has urged UK authorities to abandon plans for new restrictions on rotorcraft operations over urban areas following the January 16 accident in which an AgustaWestland A109 Power crashed in central London. The crash prompted British Prime Minister David Cameron to order a review of helicopter operating rules, and an Air Accidents Investigation Branch inquiry is in progress.
Rockwell Collins announced today that it will be launching a series of technologies next week at the Paris Airshow that will provide helicopter pilots with “unprecedented situational awareness to help them meet the challenges of flying in an increasingly congested and hazard-filled airspace.” Details about the new offering will be announced on Monday at the show, it said, and technology demonstrations will be featured in the “Helicopter Situational Awareness” portion of the Rockwell Collins exhibit (Hall 2B, Stand D108).
Both Los Angeles County and the L.A. City fire departments took the unusual step of flying night helicopter water drops over the weekend on the fast-spreading “Powerhouse” fire, which so far has consumed more than 32,000 acres. As of this morning, the fire, just north of Los Angeles, was classified as 60-percent contained. L.A. County dropped water on the fire from its two specially modified Sikorsky S-70 Firehawks, while L.A. City flew a Bell 412.
Offshore-energy and medevac operator PHI reported substantially higher earnings for the first quarter, posting a net revenue gain of $40.9 million (to $178.9 million) compared with the same quarter last year. The company credits the gain to more deepwater oil exploration support work and an uptick in its air medical segment. Net earnings quadrupled from the same period in 2012, increasing to $8.8 million from $2.2 million.