Air Medical Group Holdings placed an order for 30 Bell 206L4 and 407GX singles yesterday here at Heli-Expo. The company is the parent of helicopter EMS providers Air Evac Lifeteam, Med-Trans and EagleMed. No breakdown of the precise number of each type or the value of the order was provided by Air Medical Group. The three companies operate a fleet of Bell 206 LongRangers (Air Evac Lifeteam), Bell 407s and Eurocopter EC135s (Med-Trans) and Eurocopters and Beechcraft airplanes (EagleMed).
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.
Eurocopter released financial results for 2012 last month, logging another year of growth despite continuously eroding deliveries. Services, such as maintenance and training, are set to become Eurocopter’s number-one revenue producing activity, surpassing helicopter production. And during the next five years, the European manufacturer is betting on growth in emerging countries.
Eurocopter managed to boost revenue last year despite sagging deliveries, in part on the strength of its service activities. The Marignane, France-based manufacturer plans to ramp up production this year, with the aim of delivering 15 percent more aircraft than it handed over last year.
In 2012, revenue amounted to €6.3 billion ($8.4 billion), a 15-percent increase over the previous year. “This was the second year in a row with double-digit growth,” said CEO Lutz Bertling at the company’s annual press conference in Paris in late January.
India’s Ghodawat Industries placed an order for a Eurocopter EC135 helicopter at the Aero India show in Bangalore this week. The aircraft will be configured for four passengers and is due for delivery in May, when it will replace the customer’s existing EC120 model.
Sion, Switzerland-based operator Air-Glaciers is updating its fleet of light singles and twins in anticipation of eventually phasing out its Aerospatiale SA316 Alouette IIIs.
American Eurocopter is doing more than just showing off its offerings at its booth during the NBAA Convention. The company will also offer flying demonstrations of its EC135 and EC155 helicopters during the show.
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