In the military segment, while clearly concerned with continuing budget constraints, Sikorsky expects to achieve two milestones this year with the first flights of the CH-53K, the latest version of its heavy-lift military transport, and the S-97 Raider.
Building on its Rolls-Royce M250 maintenance program, StandardAero announced during Heli-Expo 2014 that it has seen growth in its nascent Rolls-Royce RR300 program, having recently released its first engine back into service. The RR300 powers the Robinson R66 helicopter. As of yesterday StandardAero showed five recent engines coming into MRO at its Winnipeg, Canada location, and 50 scheduled globally.
SkyTrac Systems (Booth No. 5822) has partnered with DAC International. Under the agreement DAC will become a regional distributor for SkyTrac’s fleet management and flight data services. DAC will now distribute the SkyTrac ISAT-200A transceiver and fleet management services including business support, flight tracking and flight data monitoring across a territory that includes Latin America, Oceania and Asia.
Eagle Copters has resumed work on the Eagle 407HP conversion that retrofits the Honeywell HST900D-2 engine into the Bell 407 in place of the stock Rolls Royce C47. The Honeywell engine maintains power through higher altitudes, according to Eagle, improving payload capacity by 40 percent at 12,000 feet while reducing specific fuel consumption and delivering a 22 percent better power output than the stock engine in high/hot conditions. The new engine also offers e an 8 percent reduction in takeoff and 10 percent lower max cruise specific fuel consumption.
Enstrom Helicopter unveiled a mockup of a new, low-cost, two-seat piston-powered trainer yesterday at Heli-Expo 2014 in Anaheim, Calif. The TH-180 is a scaled-down version of the company’s three-seat FX-280.
Company officials said the TH-180 should have direct operating costs of $175 per hour and an hourly fuel burn of less than 12 gph. The launch price is $365,000. It will be powered by the 210-hp Lycoming HIO-390 and feature an engine governor and electric clutch switch. First flight is anticipated this summer and certification is targeted for 2015.
New Airbus Helicopter CEO Guillaume Faury and the head of its U.S. arm, Marc Paganini, were visibly penitent when discussing the company’s traditionally problematic customer service yesterday at Heli-Expo. Faury left no doubt that he is committed to focusing more company resources and attention on product support. “It is time for new priorities,” he said. Paganini echoed that sentiment, admitting, “We need to do better.”
For Sikorsky, 2013 was a mixed bag, according to company president Mick Maurer, who gave his company’s year-end summary presentation yesterday at Heli-Expo. While the company reached a record backlog of more than $15 billion, it also recorded an 8-percent drop in sales, to $6.3 billion, the decrease driven largely by a drop-off in U.S. government orders on both the OEM side and the aftermarket segment last year.
Kurt Robinson was generally upbeat about the prospects for his family’s iconic helicopter company, Robinson Helicopter, during a press conference yesterday at Heli-Expo. Last year, the company delivered its 11,000th helicopter and it will soon deliver its 500th R66 single-engine turbine ship. Production currently stands at two to three R66s, five R44s and one R22 per week.
MD Helicopters unveiled its new MD 530G armed aerial scout helicopter yesterday at Heli-Expo. It also revealed that it is already flying the new model and plans to have it certified in the second quarter, with deliveries slated for the third quarter. The company is now taking orders for the $4- to $5 million single-engine helicopter, which will come standard with Moog’s new weapons system platform.
Airbus Helicopters saw stable revenues and profit last year: €6.3 billion ($8.7 billion) and €397 million ($546 million), respectively, according to the financial results Airbus Group unveiled today in Toulouse. The company delivered 497 helicopters and recorded orders for 422 more, compared with orders for 469 the previous year. However, the value of the orders increased year-over-year by 7 percent, to €5.8 billion ($7.9 billion). The civil market accounted for 55 percent of revenues. The backlog, as of December 31, stood at 995 helicopters worth €12.4 billion ($17 billion).