Bell 407, Newberry, S.C., July 13, 2004–The NTSB blamed the EMS helicopter accident on the pilot’s failure to maintain terrain clearance as a result of fog conditions. A contributing factor was inadequate weather and dispatch information relayed to him.
With growing environmental concerns about fuel, oil, de-icing fluids and even washwater, FBOs have had to spool up to speed in their knowledge of stormwater runoff from their airport properties.
In January, the Helicopter Association International (HAI) urged its members to press their Congressional representatives to support improved communications and weather services over the Gulf of Mexico.
Columbia Helicopters will send a second Boeing Vertol 234 Chinook to Papua New Guinea, to work on heli-rig contracts with local exploration company Oil Search.
Both aircraft will be used to lift components of oil and gas drilling rigs and ancillary equipment above areas of dense jungle to remote drilling locations that are inaccessible by road.
Eurocopter AS 350-B2, Nuiqsut, Alaska, Aug. 21, 2006–The commercial pilot of the AS 350, the sole occupant, was killed when it crashed into a lake in marginal and deteriorating weather conditions.
Bell 206B JetRanger, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, Oct. 20, 2007–Bell N345TV lost power while hovering out of ground effect and was substantially damaged during its emergency descent and landing. The commercial pilot was seriously injured and the boom operator had minor injuries. The USA Airmobile helicopter was on a “series of local utility maintenance flights” to clean electrical power line insulators.
VIP and government flight specialist Dubai Air Wing has ordered two AW139s in executive configuration. In Qatar, Gulf Helicopters has ordered 10 AW139s for offshore-oil passenger transport.
CHC Helicopter has ordered 12 Sikorsky S-92s and 13 AgustaWestland AW139s. The contracts are worth nearly $400 million. CHC plans to use the S-92s for offshore support and commercial search-and-rescue operations. Delivery of S-92s under the new order is scheduled to begin in 2009. AgustaWestland values CHC’s latest AW139 order at “approximately $140 million.” CHC plans to use the AW139s for offshore support and EMS missions.
Honeywell last month announced it has joined two European technology research programs, one intended to improve air traffic flow management across the continent and the other aimed at developing low-cost flight controls for light airplanes.
Bertrand Piccard, initiator of the Solar Impulse program, which is calling for a flight around the world with an aircraft powered exclusively by solar energy, showcased the state of his venture in a media conference at Duebendorf airfield near Zurich, Switzerland, last month.