The lobbying association for the French helicopter industry, the Union Française de l’Hélicoptère (UFH), is raising concerns about gestating noise rules that could practically ban commercial flights from urban areas. The association fears legislators are writing such a rule with input only from heli- port neighbors, some of whom are members of anti-helicopter associations.
Bell 407, Decatur, Texas, Dec. 25, 2009–The medevac helicopter was departing on a Part 91 positioning flight to pick up a patient when it lost all engine power at a height of about 100 feet, according to the pilot, who autorotated the helicopter back to the original helipad. The 407 sustained structural damage to its lower fuselage as it landed hard in an upright position.
Bell 206B, Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada, May 13, 2008–Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) was unable to determine the cause of the power loss that led to the crash of the JetRanger.
The 206B was traveling at about 120 feet above the city on a power-line inspection flight when a sudden decrease in rotor rpm caused it to plunge uncontrolled to the ground.
Bell 407, DeLand, Fla., Jan. 7, 2008– A total loss of engine power due to the fatigue failure of a third-stage turbine wheel blade downed the single-engine helicopter, the NTSB determined. The 407–operating as an EMS transport– was nearing its patient pickup destination when the pilot reported hearing a loud bang, which was followed by a yaw to the left.
BELL 206L-4, AURORA, COLO., MAY 8, 2003–At 5:15 p.m. MDT Bell N70TV, registered to Helicopters Inc. of Cahokia, Ill., and flown for KMGH-TV in Denver, was destroyed when it collided with terrain during a simulated engine failure in Aurora. The ATP-rated check airman received minor injuries and the commercial pilot and a mechanic passenger were uninjured. The aircraft was operating in VMC and was not on a flight plan.
The ongoing investigation into the fatal crash of a Bell 407 following a loss of engine power during a low-altitude hover has prompted the NTSB to ask the FAA to address an allegedly “catastrophic failure mode” with the full-authority digital electronic control (FADEC) system.
Sikorsky S-92 test pilots John Dixon, company flight operations director, and Bob Spaulding, S-92 chief pilot, performed two full power-off landings last month, passing an important milestone on the medium-lift, twin-engine helicopter’s road to certification. Both landings were performed at slightly above the model’s max gross weight of 26,250 lb.
MD 369D, Columbus, Mont., May 28, 2007– The commercial pilot and one crewmember were seriously injured and a second crew-member was killed when the Dylan Aviation MD 369 crashed during an attempted forced landing, after the helicopter had lost power.
For the helicopter owner, operator or flight program looking to cut costs while simultaneously maintaining or expanding existing levels of service, Agusta’s A119 Koala may be the answer. Certified in 1999, the single-engine Koala has many of the same capabilities of, and in fact is faster than, most light twins.
In aviation, like most other industries, success breeds regulation. The bigger an industry becomes, the more the government perceives the need to regulate it, often citing reasons such as safety, unfair competition and environmental protection. Yet, in typical Darwinian fashion, most industries adapt–or die. In aviation, hush kits quiet noisier jet engines, airplanes are made RVSM compatible and helicopters are flown neighborly.