The British Government has selected a consortium that includes CHC as the preferred bidder for a 25-year, search-and-rescue helicopter (SAR-H) contract that could be worth as much as $10 billion. CHC, based in Vancouver, B.C., is the world’s largest commercial provider of offshore helicopter services with a fleet of more than 270 aircraft operating in 30 countries.
The collapse of a Gulf Helicopters AgustaWestland AW139 tailboom while the helicopter was taxiing last year has prompted issuance of an airworthiness directive (2009-SW-50-AD) for a special repetitive inspection every 50 hours time-in-service to check for delamination on the boom’s composite skins. The helicopter with the failed boom had sustained a boom strike some months before the incident.
In the wake of a tailboom failure on a Gulf Airways AW139 in August, AgustaWestland is assuring customers with helicopters on order that it will deliver them with a newly designed boom starting in April. The tailboom on the Gulf AW139 failed while the helicopter was taxiing on the ground in Doha, Qatar. There were no injuries. That boom exhibited signs of debonding, as have numerous other AW139 tailbooms, according to several operators.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) will step up plans this year to expand its operations with the delivery of three new helicopters. First Admiral Zammani Mohd Amin, the agency’s director of Air Wing operations, told AIN that it will continue to grow.
In Vergiate, Italy, last month, AgustaWestland delivered an AW139 to VIH Cougar Helicopters. The U.S. operator will use the 12-passenger aircraft for offshore transport missions in the Gulf of Mexico. A few days earlier, Eurocopter handed over two EC145s to Helicopteros Marinos, an Argentinean offshore operator that serves the oil and gas industry in the southernmost area of the country.
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.