Leasing company Milestone Aviation continued its buying binge here at Heli-Expo yesterday, announcing firm orders for 30 new Sikorsky S-92A and S-76D helicopters and options for 24 more. Both Milestone and Sikorsky declined to place a total value on the order and options. Deliveries run from now through 2017.
Bell Helicopter has tapped Honeywell (Booth No. C4304) to provide the auxiliary power unit (APU) and environmental control system for the new Bell 525 Relentless, which is scheduled to start flying next year. The Honeywell RE100 APU selected for the super-medium twin helicopter is lighter and more fuel efficient than competing systems, according to Honeywell. It allows operators to run critical avionics and electronics systems without turning on the main engine, further reducing total fuel consumption.
Night vision goggle (NVG) technology provider Rebtech, of Bedford Texas, announced the initial night-vision compatible conversion of an AS350B3 owned and operated by rotor training provider HeliStream. Rebtech (Booth No. N4724) provided both the supplemental type certified equipment and integration support for the conversion. Rebtech also modified the aircraft’s external lighting. The NVG-compatible lighting inside and outside the helicopter will allow HeliStream to provide specialized NVG training for both initial pilot transition and recurrent training.
Law enforcement helicopters are well represented at Heli-Expo ‘13, and American Eurocopter machines, with several different helicopter models well suited to EMS operations (AS350 B2/B3 and EC130T2, EC135, EC145 and AS332 Super Puma) are easy to spot in the exhibit hall.
I strap into the Eurocopter EC135 light twin and head for California’s Cajon Pass. Cajon can deal helicopter pilots some of the worst conditions imaginable. The pass was created by the San Andreas fault and separates the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains, not far from the HITOP VFR intersection and the San Bernardino and Rialto airports. The stretch of Interstate 15 and state road 138 that run through the pass are frequent scenes of automotive carnage.
Bristow Group posted strong financial results for the nine months ending Dec. 31, 2012, reporting net income of $90 million on $993 million in revenues. Revenues for the quarter ending the year were $346.7 million, a 17-percent increase from the same period one year ago.
Bristow, which provides helicopter services to the oil-and-gas industry worldwide, attributed its improved quarterly results to increases in revenues in Canada, Europe, Australia, West Africa and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
The FAA has issued a policy statement about the installation of non-required safety-enhancing equipment (NORSEE) into rotorcraft and is accepting comments until March 25.
March 6 will be a big day for helicopter OEMs and could shape the future of the industry for decades to come. Phase One proposals are due into the Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate by tomorrow that likely will lead to the construction of Joint Multi-Role demonstration aircraft (JMR TD) that could fly as early as 2017 and lead to the start of production aircraft between 2025 and 2030.
The Coanda effect, which is central to the performance of the MD Helicopters Notar (no tail rotor) and the tail-boom strakes on many other helicopters, inspired 16-year-old Ethan Chu’s design for a helicopter that won him the Igor Sikorsky Youth Innovator Award in the second annual Helicopter 2050 Challenge (http://www.helicopter2050.com).
“I was fascinated with the Coanda effect,” Chu said, “and I decided to use it to make my helicopter design more efficient.”
Pratt & Whitney Canada has a number of engines in development for the medium-twin helicopter category. The latest version of the PT6C family, the PT6C-67E, powers the Eurocopter EC175. Meanwhile, the PW210S is about to enter into service on the now-certified Sikorsky S-76D. Two more PW210 variants will power the AgustaWestland AW169 and the Eurocopter X4. Last year, the Longueuil, Quebec-based engine manufacturer (Booth No. N3718) produced more than 850 turboshaft engines.