One of the few public scheduled helicopter routes in the world, linking Helsinki, Finland to Tallin, Estonia, has been discontinued. Finnish operator Copterline has ceased flying over the Baltic Sea between the two capital cities. In April, it contracted UK-based International Bureau of Aviation (IBA) for the remarketing of two AgustaWestland AW139s. Last month, IBA announced the medium twins had been sold to U.S.-based operator PHI.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) will step up plans this year to expand its operations with the delivery of three new helicopters. At December’s LIMA airshow in Langkawi, First Admiral Zammani Mohd Amin, the agency’s director of Air Wing operations, told AIN that it will continue to grow.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is changing its voluntary operational evaluations to mandatory operational suitability (OS) approvals for new aircraft designs. This appears as an extension of type certification, at additional cost to manufacturers. The new rule will take effect in 2012.
Donaldson’s Aerospace Filtration Systems (AFS) unit has received supplemental type certificate approval from the FAA for an inlet barrier filter (IBF) system for the AgustaWestland AW139. The new AW139 IBF system features low-profile conformal fore and aft fairings with dual filter assemblies mounted on the existing engine doors, creating a sealed intake plenum and an alternate inlet air bypass system activated by a cockpit switch.
The Eurocopter EC 175 medium twin helicopter made its first flight on Friday at the company’s headquarters in Marignane, France, according to a source close to Eurocopter. Another source–a Eurocopter official–told AIN that the first flight was the culmination of almost one month of ground tests. The manufacturer will stage an official “maiden flight” on Thursday next week.
Eurocopter Training Services (ETS) will offer a training module for helideck landing officers (HLOs), the surface personnel in charge of helicopter operations on offshore oil platforms, starting in the middle of next year. The company sees a major market in regions such as Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, where HLOs receive little training, according to ETS officials.
Canada-based offshore operator VIH Aviation Group (VIH) and New Zealand-based HNZ Group last month announced the formation of a joint venture to provide offshore helicopter services in Australia and its coastal regions.
AgustaWestland last week achieved two significant milestones, with the first flights of two new military helicopter designs on consecutive days. First to fly was the AW159 Lynx Wildcat, which lifted off on Thursday at Yeovil in the UK. The aircraft performed “as expected” in general handling checks, according to chief test pilot Donald Maclaine.
For the first time at the Dubai Air Show, Eurocopter (Stand A140) is showing its full-scale mockup of the in-development EC175 medium-twin helicopter. The manufacturer recently disclosed some performance numbers for the seven-metric-ton-class rotorcraft, which will compete mainly with the AgustaWestland AW139. What is now official is the EC175’s radius of action offshore–270 nm at ISA+20–and a cruise speed of about 135 knots.
The reformed European Helicopter Association–operating under the acronym newEHA–publicly touched down for the first time at the 2009 Helitech show at Duxford, UK, albeit having had to adopt a slightly revised flight plan. At the 11th hour, the European HEMS and Air Ambulance Committee (EHAC) opted not to merge with newEHA.