After a year-long delay, the Airbus Military A330MRTT has gained its “release to service” as a tanker in the UK, allowing the Royal Air Force (RAF) to start operational refueling. The service had been obliged to extend the service life of its aging VC10 and TriStar tankers in the meantime. The recent deployment of RAF Eurofighter Typhoons to Malaysia relied on Italian Air Force Boeing KC-767s to refuel the aircraft en route.
Bombardier is expanding maintenance capacity at its Tucson, Ariz., service center for its Q400 and Q400 NextGen twin turboprops. The airframer has added three additional lines of maintenance staff in southwestern U.S. facility, supplementing capacity already available to regional airline customers in Bridgeport, W.Va., and Macon, Ga.
The FAA is superseding an existing airworthiness directive for the Bell 212 and adopting requirements for Bell 204B, 205A, 205A-1, 205B and 210 helicopters with certain part-numbered main rotor hub inboard strap fittings. The AD requires magnetic particle inspection of the fittings for a crack, and if a crack exists, replacing the fittings with airworthy fittings.
State-owned Aviation Industry Corp. of China (Avic) brought its Avicopter rotorcraft unit to Heli-Expo for the first time.
Portland, Ore.-based Simplex (Booth No. N2511), known for its unique, easily convertible aerial firefighting spray booms, announced that it is teaming with Advanced Helicopter + Rescue Techniques (AH+RT), also Portland-based, to provide rotary-wing aerial firefighting and technical rescue training, including turnkey solutions for customers.
Bell Helicopter is on a mission, to diversify its business model. CEO John Garrison wants to increase the company’s share of revenues from the civil sector, now estimated at 40 percent of its overall 2012 results of $4.2 billion.
The Japan Civil Aviation Bureau and EASA have approved applications of BLR Aerospace’s FastFin system. The Japanese agency approved installation of the FastFin on the Bell 412EP, and EASA on the Bell 205. The FastFin upgrade is also EASA approved on the Bell 212. An EASA certification program is under way for the Bell 412, according to BLR (Booth No. N3724).
Two former Carson Helicopter Services executives, Steven Metheny and Levi Phillips, were indicted by a federal grand jury February 1 for “endangering the safety of flight” by falsifying aircraft documents, including weight-and-balance and performance charts on a Sikorsky S-61N helicopter owned and operated by the company. The helicopter crashed in December 2008 while performing firefighting duties for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Nine of 13 people aboard were killed in the crash, while four others received serious injuries.
The Pentagon notified the U.S. Congress on November 9 of a proposed foreign military sale (FMS) of 25 Lockheed Martin C-130Js and KC-130Js to Saudi Arabia, a transaction valued at $6.7 billion. The sale to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) would be the largest FMS in the history of the C-130J program, according to Lockheed Martin.
A new Japanese regional airline called Link plans to place the first of three new 70-seat ATR 72-600s into service during next year’s fourth quarter, marking the introduction of the Franco-Italian turboprops into a market until recently held captive by rival manufacturer Bombardier.
Appearing at the Japan Aerospace Exhibition, held in Nagoya from October 9 to 14, Link said it plans to lease the airplanes, but as of press time it remained unclear whether or not they would come from an existing ATR customer.