The widow of a Blue Hawaiian pilot killed in the crash of a company Eurocopter EC130B4 in November 2011 has filed a suit against the air-tour operator and the helicopter’s manufacturer, citing product defects. Pilot Nathan Cline and four passengers were killed when the helicopter crashed on Molokai during a sightseeing flight. Witnesses at an elementary school near the crash site reported heavy rain squalls at the time of the accident.
Marenco Swisshelicopter unveiled the first prototype of its all-composite SKYe SH09 light single helicopter on Thursday at Mollis Airport in Switzerland. First flight is expected early next year and production should start in 2015, the company said.
Targeting the higher end of the light single segment, the SH09 features a carbon-fiber airframe, a five-blade main rotor to cut vibration and a 1,020-shp Honeywell HTS900-2 turboshaft. A compact instrument panel and extended transparencies afford the helicopter exceptional visibility for the crew and passengers, Marenco said.
Air Methods, the largest helicopter EMS provider in the U.S., continued its foray into the air-tour business last week when it signed an agreement to acquire Blue Hawaiian Helicopters for an undisclosed sum. Blue Hawaiian operates a mixed fleet of 24 Eurocopter EC130s and AS350s and operates tours on five of Hawaii’s six islands. Blue Hawaiian posted revenues of $47 million in 2012.
A2B Heli Maintenance, an EASA Part 145 independent commercial helicopter maintenance company, has formally opened its doors at London Oxford Airport. A2B Heli chose London Oxford as an expanding business aviation airport with close links to co-owned Barclays London Heliport in Battersea (20 minutes’ flying time from Oxford) and other strong transport links.
India’s small-but-strategic South Asian neighbors, including Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, will procure around 30 helicopters in different categories in the next five years, according to an internal study conducted by Sikorsky.
While Indian military helicopter procurement plans are for more than 1,000 helicopters by 2020, including light utility, attack, Mi-17 medium transport, heavy-lift and multi-role platforms, even as its GDP grew by over 6 percent last year, Bangladesh has the largest budget for procurement in the Indian periphery.
Maverick Helicopters in Las Vegas is preparing to receive its second Eurocopter EC130T2, part of a firm order for 10 new helicopters and options on another 40.
Part of the allure of a helicopter is the incredible visibility from inside the cockpit and cabin. Fort-Worth, Texas based Tech-Tool Plastics (Booth No. C3601) introduced a new version of its Cabin Comfort window for the Eurocopter EC120 and EC130 T2 during Heli-Expo ’13.
“The added visibility and room provided by our windows is ideal for the tourist industry,” said Johnny Wilson, founder and president of the company.
Last December Air Methods announced orders for 42 new Eurocopter and Bell helicopters, issued a special cash dividend and announced a three-for-one stock split. It also acquired the assets of Las Vegas air-tour operator Sundance Helicopters, including its fleet of 22 Eurocopter AS350s and EC130s.
Air Methods, the nation’s largest air ambulance provider, ended last year by placing orders for 42 new helicopters, including 20 Bell 407GX singles and 22 Eurocopters (10 EC130T2 and six AS350B3e light singles, and six EC135P2e light twins). All of the helicopters ordered are recently upgraded and improved editions of legacy models and feature new avionics and/or enhanced performance. The Eurocopter order is valued at more than $80 million. Deliveries are scheduled for 2014 and 2015.
Las Vegas heli-tour operator Maverick Helicopters has taken delivery of the first Eurocopter EC130T2. Maverick was a launch customer for the upgraded and redesigned EcoStar, signing an agreement earlier this year to purchase up to 50. Maverick operates EC130s exclusively and currently has the world’s largest fleet. It took delivery of its first EC130B4 in 2003.