Although popular with police, EMS and offshore operators in Europe and Asia since its introduction in 1999, the Airbus Helicopters (née Eurocopter) EC155 has been slow to catch on in the U.S. market. Customers panned the initial model for its unreliability and inadequate engine power. Those issues were largely addressed with an improved variant, the EC155B1, which entered production in 2002 and introduced uprated engines.
Bell 430, Kurnoon, India, Sept. 2, 2009–Operated by the Government of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, the helicopter crashed en route to Chitoor, India, from Hyderabad, India. The two crewmembers and three passengers–including the Secretariat of Hyderabad–were killed and the helicopter was destroyed.
On Friday, Bell Helicopter’s 429 team froze the final exterior profile of its light twin-engine helicopter after months of development flight testing. Since introducing the Bell 429 GlobalRanger at Heli-Expo 2005, Bell has flown two prototypes for more than 400 hours of flight testing. One aircraft is now in Colorado performing high-altitude testing and the other is in Arizona for high-temperature trials.
A very sore-throated EMS pilot named Mark Graveline, who flies a Bell 206 equipped with the Chelton Flight Systems FlightLogic EFIS for Air Methods of San Antonio, talked about the cockpit system with HAI Convention News at the show yesterday.