Cerritos. Mention the town’s name to any pilot who has flown around Southern California for more than a few years and you get a nod of instant recognition. On Aug. 31, 1986, an Aeromexico DC-9 inbound to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) collided with a Piper Archer taking off from Zamperini Field in nearby Torrance. The wreckage fell onto Cerritos in southeast Los Angeles County, killing all 67 aboard both aircraft and 15 people on the ground.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
First-quarter revenues at Textron Aviation, which includes Cessna and Beechcraft, were up $77 million, to $785 million, thanks to the mid-March acquisition of Beechcraft, higher jet deliveries and higher aftermarket sales but offset by fewer pre-owned sales and falling revenue at CitationAir. The division recorded a profit of $14 million in the quarter versus a loss of $8 million a year ago, helped by firmer pricing and higher jet volumes.
CAE and Brazilian helicopter operator Lider Aviaçao launched a helicopter pilot training program in São Paulo for the Sikorsky S-92. The CAE-Lider Aviaçao joint venture purchased the S-92 simulator late last year, though it was identified at the time only as an undisclosed customer. The S-92 training program under the joint venture will support flight training for all of Lider’s S-92 pilots, as well as those from other helicopter operators in the region.
Genesys Aerosystems (née Cobham) announced a deal yesterday with Air Medical Group Holdings for 210 HeliSAS systems to be installed in the operator’s fleet of Bell and Eurocopter EMS helicopters at subsidiaries Air Evac, Med Trans, EagleMed and Reach. The HeliSAS two-axis autopilot and stability augmentation system will be fitted to Air Medical Group’s fleet of helicopters over the next three years.
The AgustaWestland AW609 civil tiltrotor achieved another milestone on the road to certification, recently completing autorotation testing at the company’s facility in Arlington, Texas. Over the course of 10 flight hours in March and early this month, an AW609 test aircraft made more than 70 power-off conversions from airplane to helicopter mode.
The FAA said yesterday that it will delay by one year the April 22, 2014, compliance deadline to implement pilot training and qualification, airspace and other operational provisions in the new helicopter safety rule.
The EASA certified the Airbus Helicopters EC145T2, an upgraded version of the light twin with new engines and a shrouded tail rotor, late last week. The approval covers the helicopter’s full range of capabilities, the company said, including single-pilot, IFR, Category A takeoff and night-vision-goggles operations.
The certification comes a few months later than expected, delayed by the need to solve an aerodynamic issue in sideways flight. The Helionix avionics suite, developed in-house and featuring a four-axis autopilot, also contributed to the delay.
Bell Helicopter signed a purchase agreement with Xinjiang Tianyun General Aviation for a new Bell 407GX. The Chinese company will use the helicopter for sightseeing tours, executive transport and agriculture support. “We are delighted to select the Bell 407GX to be our first helicopter,” said Xinjiang Tianyun GA executive director Zhu Yue. “It is durable and versatile, exactly what our company was looking for to fit the missions we are planning.”
Speaking at the “Helicopter Operations” seminar today at ABACE 2014, Bell Helicopter China managing director Chris Jaran said the helicopter fleet in China has grown by an average of 20 percent annually from 2009 through 2014, to 465 aircraft from 227. The Chinese rotorcraft fleet is 35 percent piston-powered and 65 percent turbine, he noted.