An Oregon jury has awarded William Coultas, his wife and the widow of pilot Roark Schwanenberg $69.7 million in a damages suit brought in the 2008 “Iron 44” crash of a Carson Helicopters Sikorsky S-61N. The verdict puts General Electric alone on the hook; other parties settled out of court before the trial. The helicopter crashed shortly after taking off from a helispot while conducting firefighting operations in Northern California. Schwanenberg and eight others aboard the helicopter died.
Eurocopter India’s first three orders for 2012 are for corporate-configured helicopters. An AS350B3e AStar/Ecureuil will be delivered this year to G.R. Constructions. This year, too, a six-passenger EC135 and a nine-passenger EC155 will be delivered to two undisclosed customers. The sales were announced at the India Aviation 2012 show in Hyderabad.
Eurocopter is anticipating a ramp-up in the production of the EC225 and the AS350 Ecureuil by 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively, at its factory in Marignane, France. For “better reactivity,” it has signed an agreement with Segula Technologies to take over the latter’s “structure assembly” activity in the neighboring city of Aix-en-Provence.
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft plans to extend its contract engineering work this year, raising the proportion of such revenues coming from third parties outside the BAE group to 92 percent. “The proportion has grown from 35 percent in 2010,” according to managing director Alan Fraser. “We have reshaped our engineering business and geared it for growth. [Our] skills, expertise and aircraft-design capability are [generating] a steady flow of new business.”
Dr. Forrest Bird received the 2012 Lindbergh Foundation annual award March 29. The award is presented to “an individual whose life’s work demonstrates a balance among technology, the environment and the quality of all life on earth.” Bird, who at age 91 remains an active pilot, invented the medical respirator in 1955 and went on to create more than 40 breathing-related medical devices. In 1970 he created the Babybird pediatric medical respirator, a device credited with reducing infant mortality for children with respiratory problems from 70 percent to 10 percent.
Hawker Beechcraft’s 400XPR made its first flight this morning, powered by freshly installed Williams International FJ44-4A-32 engines. The modification work was done by Sierra Industries of Uvalde, Texas.
In the first quarter, French aircraft manufacturer Dassault delivered 15 Falcons, versus nine a year ago. Dassault Falcon’s revenues thus increased by 66 percent year-over-year, to €644 million ($837 million). The company reported net orders for 10 Falcons, with no cancellations, in the quarter, down from 11 in the same period last year. By value, these orders represented €450 million ($585 million), a 29-percent increase.
Boeing unveiled a new “advanced technology winglet” design for the 737 Max on Wednesday, saying that it will provide up to an additional 1.5-percent fuel-burn advantage on top of the 10- to 12-percent improvement already advertised for the re-engined narrowbody.
Eurocopter’s three-year effort to revamp its EcoStar was unveiled earlier this year with a strong initial order book for more than 100 helicopters. The company expects certification of the $2.5 million single-engine EC130T2 later this year. “We listened to our customers,” said Janick Blanc, Eurocopter vice president for light helicopter programs.
Apparently, the company got an ear full.
Eurocopter is promoting a new performance class, “PC2 defined limited exposure” (PC2 DLE), for twin-engine helicopter takeoffs and landings at oil platforms and other elevated helipads, to minimize the risk in case of failure of one engine while overcoming the drawbacks of existing performance classes.