UK Royal Air Force (RAF) crews have begun training on the Eurocopter Puma Mk 2, although the two squadrons will not be cleared for service until 2015. Under a contract signed in 2009, Eurocopter is upgrading 24 of the 40-year-old helicopters with new engines, glass cockpits, digital autopilot and other improvements. Seven have been redelivered to date.
India’s twice-bid reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter (RSH) competition has been delayed again. An oversight committee is now scrutinizing the latest bids to inquire into allegations of improper conduct by an army officer during flight trials of the finalists. The Kamov Ka-226T and Eurocopter AS550C3 Fennec are competing for an Army and Air Force requirement for 197 helicopters.
Russian Helicopters has delivered an Mi-26T to Kazakhstan’s Emergencies Ministry. It is the first of the type–capable of carrying a 44,000-pound payload–to enter service in the country. The helicopter was delivered after an overhaul and modifications at a repair facility in Novosibirsk, Russia. Kazakhstan has commissioned Russian Helicopters to overhaul and modify two Mi-26 military helicopters, which had previously been in storage for 20 years. They will be used for diverse operations, including fire fighting and evacuations, the manufacturer said.
A new artist rendering of the in-development Eurocopter X4 medium-twin helicopter appeared today during a presentation made at the EASA Rotorcraft Symposium in Cologne, showing design changes made since 2011. A horizontal empennage with a two-level lifting surface is visible on the tailboom, forward of the shrouded tail rotor. The fuselage, aft of the cabin, includes a “skirt,” the role of which is still unknown.
Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca announced that the Ardiden 3C/WZ16, which was jointly developed with China’s Avic Engine, made its first run at the French firm’s test facility in Bordes in southwest France. The successful ground test confirmed the turboshaft engine’s aeromechanical behavior and performance, according to Turbomeca.
Beechcraft recently certified a range of wireless in-flight connectivity equipment to fit low- and high-occupancy aircraft and has begun installations.
ATG 2000, a new Aircell equipment package that provides Gogo Biz Internet and voice service, is available with certified Wi-Fi as an upgrade through Hawker Beechcraft Services (HBS) for most Beechcraft and Hawker aircraft.
AAR recently completed the first heavy maintenance check at its new maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles, La. The work was performed on an Airbus A330. AAR occupies approximately 520,000 sq ft of service and administrative space at the facility, including eight hangar bays, seven of which can accommodate widebody aircraft. Construction of a 112,000-sq-ft hangar that can accommodate aircraft as large as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8 is under way and expected to be completed next summer.
Marenco Swisshelicopter unveiled the first prototype of its all-composite SKYe SH09 light single helicopter on Thursday at Mollis Airport in Switzerland. First flight is expected early next year and production should start in 2015, the company said.
Targeting the higher end of the light single segment, the SH09 features a carbon-fiber airframe, a five-blade main rotor to cut vibration and a 1,020-shp Honeywell HTS900-2 turboshaft. A compact instrument panel and extended transparencies afford the helicopter exceptional visibility for the crew and passengers, Marenco said.
A Eurocopter EC135T2i light twin helicopter, operated by Bond Air Services for Police Scotland, crashed into a busy pub in Glasgow on Friday night, killing nine and injuring more than 30. Among the nine fatalities are the helicopter’s three occupants–a Bond pilot and two police officers.
The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is investigating, along with Eurocopter engineers. Eurocopter asserted that since the four main rotor blades are still attached to the main rotor mast, a crack in the mast is unlikely to have caused the accident.
Last Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, was one of those perfect Northern California late-autumn days, and it was a day off so I took my stepfather Dennis flying. Although he has a private pilot certificate he no longer flies. But every time I visit he asks if I can take him flying. This time, the answer was “Yes,” instead of the usual, “No, because I’m not checked out at any of the local airplane rental companies.”
So we drove over to Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, showed my pilot and medical certificates and renter’s insurance papers to the friendly folks who run Trade Winds Aviation, and just minutes later preflighted a Cessna 172S and took off into the bright blue skies for a day of aviation adventuring. This all happened without my having to get a formal flight checkout at Trade Winds, saving me at least $200 in rental and instructor fees. Before that day, I had never set foot in Trade Winds Aviation.