The Eurocopter X3 hybrid made its record-breaking speed run just 10 days before the opening of the Paris Air Show, so it was not surprising that the EADS company brought both the unique aircraft and its crew to the Le Bourget biennial event. On June 7, the X3 flew at 255 knots in level flight and 263 knots in a dive, besting the previous record set by the Sikorsky X2 in September 2010 (250 knots level and 260 knots in descent).
Completing a safe landing after a power failure or autorotation requires regular training, the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) reminds helicopter students and flight instructors.
On April 9, the NTSB held a public meeting to discuss the crash of a LifeNet helicopter in Mosby, Mo., on Aug. 26, 2011. The Eurocopter AS350B2 ran out of fuel, according to the NTSB, and the pilot failed “to successfully enter an autorotation when the engine lost power due to fuel exhaustion.” What the pilot did not do, the Board explained, is move the cyclic control aft when the engine failed.
Several helicopter EMS accidents occurred over the last couple of months in the U.S.
Two Las Vegas Police Department flight officers, both flight instructors, sustained minor injuries on September 24, when their MD 369 helicopter landed hard during a VFR practice autorotation during a training mission at the North Las Vegas Airport (KVGT). The senior officer flying said the helicopter entered a high vertical sink rate before he could stop it. The helicopter was destroyed when it rolled on its right side after striking terrain. The tailboom quickly separated.
FOCUS on…AUTOROTATION TRAINING “Infrequent autorotation training is dangerous,” said Chad Oakley, chief pilot at the Bell Academy, yesterday at a Heli-Expo training session called, “Autorotations, Reality Exposed.” Other participants at the one-hour session–pilots, instructors, and representatives from the FAA, NTSB, OEMs, and several fleet operators–agreed.
Eurocopter expects that its recently tested helicopter hybrid power concept will enter commercial service, soon perhaps as early as next year.
Following a watershed year that marked the retirement of company founder Frank Robinson, the certification and first deliveries of its new R66 turbine single and its worst sales numbers since 1987, Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. 2928) is positioning itself for strengthening sales and new product development.
Canadaπs Transportation Safety Board (TSB) issued its final report February 9 on the fatal 2009 accident of a Cougar Helicopters Sikorsky S-92A off Newfoundland that killed 17. The helicopter crashed while attempting to ditch after its main gearbox lubrication system failed due to two cracked oil filter bowl mounting studs.
MD Helicopters MD902, Salinas, Calif., July 21, 2008–The NTSB has determined that the pilot’s inability to maintain directional control of the helicopter stemmed from the fatigue failure of the threaded portion of the forward directional-control cable, resulting from an improperly installed lock washer.