In the first quarter of 2013, revenue at Eurocopter fell by 13 percent, to €1.04 billion ($1.35 billion), with deliveries of 58 helicopters during the three-month period. Parent company EADS attributed the downward performance to the ongoing “technical problems with the Super Puma/EC225 fleet.” Affected have been both deliveries and the service revenue generated by helicopter operations. In the first three months, Eurocopter booked net orders for 51 helicopters, the company said.
Rockwell Collins has surpassed 250 deliveries of its Venue cabin management and entertainment system for business aircraft. Unveiled in 2007, Venue is an open-architecture design that “accommodates future technologies,” such as the company’s new Skybox solution that allows content to be shared and viewed on Apple devices inside the cabin. According to Collins, Venue can easily be scaled for business aircraft ranging from King Airs to bizliners.
An announcement made this week by cabin equipment manufacturer Vision Systems hints that Eurocopter will unveil a VIP variant of the EC175 medium twin at EBACE, which opens on Tuesday in Geneva. Vision Systems said it provided a Wi-Fi network, a tablet application, ceiling displays for movies and electronically dimming windows–all integrated in a cabin management system–for the EC175 that will be displayed at Eurocopter’s EBACE booth.
Business aircraft activity in the U.S. fell for the third consecutive month, with flying hours down slightly–by 0.4 percent–year-over-year last month, according to TraqPak data released on Friday by aviation services company Argus. As has been the trend for much of this year, Part 135 was the only operational category to experience a gain in flying activity, increasing 10.5 percent from a year ago and marking its seventh consecutive monthly increase. Part 91 activity was down 3.2 percent year-over-year, while fractional flying dropped by 10.6 percent, the Argus data shows.
Alenia Aermacchi said operational M-346 advanced jet trainers were grounded as a precaution following the May 11 crash of a company-owned prototype in northern Italy. It was the second crash of an M-346 pre-production aircraft; the first jet crashed off the coast of Dubai in November 2011 after appearing at the Dubai Air Show.
The first production iteration of the Bombardier Learjet 75 will make its debut next week at EBACE, one year after the company announced the Learjet 70 and 75–upgraded versions of the Learjet 40 and 45, respectively–at EBACE 2012. “This debut of the Learjet 75 marks another exciting year of innovation and we look forward to delivering the first one in the fourth quarter,” said Bombardier Business Aircraft president Steve Ridolfi. The Canadian aircraft manufacturer will also have a Challenger 300, Challenger 605 and Global 6000 on display alongside the new Learjet.
The FAA adopted an airworthiness directive for Eurocopter Deutschland MBB-Kawasaki BK117C2 helicopters requiring inspection of the long tail-rotor drive shaft assembly for blind rivets. If any blind rivets are located, the shaft assembly must be replaced. The AD was prompted by the discovery that some helicopters have blind rivets installed in place of solid rivets, which could lead to failure of the tail rotor drive shaft and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
The U.S. Navy restarted the VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program by issuing a final request for proposals on May 3. The next day, Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) officially welcomed a new type into the presidential fleet–the MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor–which will be used in a support role to carry White House staff and reporters following the President.
A debate has unfolded in Russia over whether to invest further in the MiG-31 series or to concentrate funding on the Sukhoi Su-35. United Aircraft’s Sokol factory in Nizhny Novgorod continues to deliver MiG-31BM multirole aircraft modified from MiG-31 interceptors built earlier. The plant’s general director, Alexander Karezin, reported that the company handed over 15 last year, and the plant “holds a firm order for about sixty MiG-31BMs due for delivery in 2011-2018.” He added, “This is a considerable contribution to the national defense of the country.”
Worldwide business jet deliveries rose by 4 percent, to 129 units, in the first quarter, according to statistics released today by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Pressurized turboprops, meanwhile, saw an increase of nearly 53 percent year-over-year.