India’s twice-bid reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter (RSH) competition has been delayed again. An oversight committee is now scrutinizing the latest bids to inquire into allegations of improper conduct by an army officer during flight trials of the finalists. The Kamov Ka-226T and Eurocopter AS550C3 Fennec are competing for an Army and Air Force requirement for 197 helicopters.
Aérospatiale Alouette III
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.
The French Sécurité Civile (the state rescue arm) no longer has a defined entry-into-service schedule for its Eurocopter EC 145 twin-turbine helicopters. It has officially taken delivery of the first three of 32 ordered aircraft (a $150 million contract) during the last six months, two years after the originally planned date.
Three people were killed and one seriously injured on the ground when an Aerospatiale Alouette II crashed on Sunday afternoon in the Camargue region in southeast France. The pilot reportedly suffered two broken vertebrae but the three passengers escaped injury. The privately owned helicopter was attempting to take off near a restaurant where the occupants had had lunch.
Aerospatiale SA 319B, Escalante, Utah, Dec. 14, 2005–The NTSB said the probable cause of the SA 319 accident was the pilot’s inadequate remedial action when the helicopter entered ground resonance. The rough/uneven terrain and inadequate company maintenance were contributing factors.
Eurocopter is celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of its most popular helicopters–the Sud-Aviation (SA) 318 Alouette (Skylark). In May 1955, the second prototype of Sud-Aviation’s new turbine single took to the air for the first time near Paris. The next month, test pilot Jean Boulet took the new helicopter to a record (at the time) altitude of 26,932 feet.
Some two years after the Eurocopter EC 145 entered service, it seems customers have forgotten the problems that delayed the program and caused early operational difficulties. Instead, European helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) providers focus on the positive: they say they like the spacious cabin, significant payload, low noise and the extensive certified equipment.