This article contains additional information from the story first published on February 24.
A Sikorsky RH-4 made the first documented rescue by helicopter on Nov. 29, 1945, so it’s not surprising that Sikorsky sponsors the HAI Humanitarian Award. This year’s award goes to the Gander, Newfoundland-based flight crew of a Royal Canadian Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter for a successful rescue accomplished under extreme weather conditions on Feb. 9, 2013.
Elan Head, recipient of the Helicopter Association International’s 2014 Excellence in Communications Award, had her first helicopter ride in a Bell JetRanger in 2004, while working on a story about a high-end fishing lodge in British Columbia. “It was hands-down the coolest thing I’d ever done,” she told AIN.
FlightSafety International (Booth No. 5902) is upgrading its helicopter simulator graphics with its new Vital 1100 visual system and already has qualified it in several level-D units and for use in other advanced training devices. FlightSafety says the new system has five times the computing power of its Vital X predecessor and significantly enhances training by providing realistic mission-specific imagery with improved scene content and greater levels of detail.
The civil helicopter industry is, at last, taking advantage of simulators in pilot training decades after the fixed-wing aircraft industry began to do so. Simulators are proliferating around the world and, after having been concentrated in the medium-twin segment, now also include light turbine singles. The emergence of rotorcraft simulators in recent years was prompted by a combination of factors: technology, cost, insurance and a realization that the industry must improve a poor safety record.
AgustaWestland gained EASA approval for its new AW189 medium-twin helicopter on February 7. The company said that delivery of the first two AW189s in offshore configuration to Bristow Group was “imminent.” More than 100 AW189s are on order. To date, Bristow has placed a firm order for 11 AW189s for use on a UK search-and-rescue contract and for offshore operations. Other large fleet customers include Gulf Helicopters and Era, with 15 orders each.
Among the many services that Rotor F/X offers from its Van Nuys, Calif., headquarters, the company’s helicopter shipping service is probably of most interest for Heli-Expo attendees. Rotor F/X (Booth No. 3105) also provides helicopter and fixed-wing flight training, helicopter maintenance, air tours, aerial photography and even assembly of kit helicopters such as the Mosquito ultralight and other kit-built rotorcraft.
Thirty-four students have graduated from the Aircraft Structures Training Program founded in part by the West Virginia-based aviation employment services company HQ Aero Management (US), which is exhibiting here at Booth No. 3530. HQ Aero entered into a partnership with Workforce West Virginia and local aviation companies to create the eight-week training program at Pierpont Community and Technical College in Fairmont, W.Va. in 2013. The fourth class of 12 students will graduate in March.
Keith Storey, CFO for Colorado and Nevada-based Rotor Leasing (Static 1 and 3), will be the first one to tell you that the name of the company is a little bit of a misnomer. In fact, the company does not lease helicopters at all today. Instead, the company, with its own facilities, including a helipad at 7,300 feet agl (66CO), researches, imports and restores French, British and Irish SA341 Gazelles and SA365 Dauphin helicopters in the U.S.
For the first time in North America, Italian OEM AgustaWestland (Booth No. 6937) is displaying here at Heli-Expo its complete family of new-generation helicopters, a lineup comprising the AW169, AW139 and AW189, along with the PZL-Swidnik SW-4, which is making its debut Heli-Expo appearance. The three new-generation helicopters cover the four- to eight-ton categories and share a common cockpit layout, design philosophy and maintenance concept.