Bell Helicopter is stepping up efforts to bring its “short light single” helicopter to market, having formally unveiled the new model as the 505 Jet Ranger X at the Heli-Expo show in Anaheim, California, in February. Here at ABACE, the company is exhibiting with its Chinese distributor Aerochine (Booth P529) and is also promoting its new twin-engine Bell 525.
Deliveries of the Airbus Helicopters EC135 T3/P3, an upgraded variant of the EC135 light twin, will begin in the fourth quarter of this year, instead of early 2014 asannounced last year,according to an Airbus Helicopters spokesperson.
The new helicopter offers several improvements over the current EC135 T2i/P2i, yielding a 66-pound increase in mtow and improved hot/high performance–an additional 440 pounds of payload at about 5,000 feet, ISA+20.
Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca (Booth No. 2814) is exhibiting a mockup of its Arrius 2R for the Bell SLS and has a variety of ongoing developments. The company is also considering the launch of a new family of turboshafts to power medium-heavy to heavy rotorcraft. Meanwhile, deliveries are on a downward curve.
Shreveport, La.-based Metro Aviation (Booth No. 415) had more than completions to announce at Heli-Expo 2014. The multifaceted business recently completed for the EC135 a single-pilot IFR digital cockpit supplemental type certificate (STC) that incorporates Garmin GTN 650/750 touchscreen technology and ADS-B to create a cockpit ready for 2020, when all aircraft flying in the U.S. will be required to have ADS-B OUT capability. FAA, Garmin (Booth No. 2427) and Metro Aviation representatives are at the Metro Aviation booth throughout Heli-Expo to talk about the STC.
The rarefied offshore energy market continues to be the prime driver for development of new civil helicopters, but the training and entry-level market is also heating up, with Bell and others announcing or hinting at new models. Various studies predict that worldwide civil helicopter production will double between now and 2020 in terms of overall sales value as OEMs focus on delivering larger and more expensive helicopters.
The Eurocopter EC135 light twin that crashed into a busy pub on November 29 in Glasgow, Scotland, was intact when it hit the roof, but neither the main rotor nor the fenestron tail rotor were rotating at that time, the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch preliminary report reveals. The helicopter had been flying for one hour and 33 minutes when the pilot requested clearance to return to Glasgow City Heliport. No further radio transmission was received.
Maverick Helicopters in Las Vegas is preparing to receive its second Eurocopter EC130T2, part of a firm order for 10 new helicopters and options on another 40.
Eurocopter’s presence in China goes back more than 40 years to the first sale of an Alouette III helicopter in the country in 1967. But since then, the European manufacturer has set down much deeper roots in China and the new twin-engine EC175 (or Z15, as the Chinese version is known) represents the latest stage in a wide-ranging cooperation with China’s Avicopter (see box) through the Shanghai-based joint venture Eurocopter China.
The NTSB will meet in its Washington, D.C., conference center on Tuesday, April 9, to begin the process of determining the probable cause of an August 2011 helicopter accident. The incident involved a Eurocopter AS350B2 that crashed near the Midwest National Air Center in Mosby, Mo. The pilot, flight nurse, flight paramedic and patient were killed and the helicopter was destroyed.
Eurocopter unveiled an upgraded version of its EC135 helicopter yesterday at Heli-Expo in Las Vegas. The new light twin-engine EC135T3/P3 offers several improvements over the current EC135T2i/P2i, including optimized Fadec software, longer rotor blades and a change in the location of the air intake.
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