Sikorsky Aircraft completed the first flight of an optionally piloted Black Hawk demonstrator last month in a joint effort with the U.S. Army, the company said on April 21. The Black Hawk serves as a second testbed (joining an S-76) for Sikorsky’s Matrix research program to develop and field systems for autonomous vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.
As part of a broader customer support initiative, Breeze-Eastern says it has made significant (54-percent) reductions in overhaul and repair turnaround times over the past year. It is now expanding its customer support organization with new leadership, an expanded team and a new 24-hour support line. Breeze-Eastern designs and manufactures lifting and pulling devices for helicopters and military cargo aircraft, including rescue hoists, winches, cargo hooks and weapon-lifting systems.
Onboard Systems (Booth No. N4431) is exhibiting its range of external load equipment, including a new Bell 407 hydraulic cargo hook kit, at Heli-Expo ’13.
The new kit, which may be installed for either right- or left-hand pilot operation, uses the company’s proprietary pin load cell technology, which features a single attachment point to replace the conventional two-hole load cell linkage.
Sensor Technology (Booth No. C2432) announced upgrades to the HeliNav LoadMaster wireless load monitoring system for helicopter-mounted cargo hooks at Heli-Expo ’13. The system checks the actual weight of an under-slung load 10 times every second and displays that information on a cockpit-mounted display. The data may also be stored in the system for downloading post-flight.
Robinson Helicopter announced Tuesday at Heli-Expo that it is working with Lycoming and the FAA to have unleaded fuels approved for use in piston engines installed in its R22 and R44 models.
CEO Kurt Robinson said the FAA had issued the company a project code for the effort and made it a priority. He said he hoped to have all the necessary approvals from engine maker Lycoming in the first half of this year. “It’s environmentally the right thing to do and it bothers me that it hasn’t been done,” Robinson said.
Led by increasing demand for its R66 turbine single, Robinson Helicopter posted strong numbers last year, delivering 517 aircraft, up from 365 in 2011, according to company CEO Kurt Robinson. “Things have definitely picked up,” he told AIN.