Airbus Helicopters will kick off opening day of Heli-Expo 2014 with a pair of major order announcements. Lease Corporation International (LCI) aviation CEO Mike Platt and executive chairman Crispin Maunder will join Airbus Helicopters president Guillaume Faury at 11 a.m. to announce an order for EC175 and EC225 utility helicopters. The manufacturer will also announce a six-frame follow-on EC175 order from Belgian aviation services provider NHV.
Known primarily in the rotorcraft segment for its flight data management (FDM) products, Appareo Systems returns to Heli-Expo this year with a series of customer events and presentations planned throughout the show, including demonstrations of its Stratus 2 wireless automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B IN) receiver.
Air Methods, the largest helicopter EMS operator in the U.S., is expanding its international operations, growing its heli-tourism division and has expanded its fixed-wing operations into jet ambulances.
The rarefied offshore energy market continues to be the prime driver for development of new civil helicopters, but the training and entry-level market is also heating up, with Bell and others announcing or hinting at new models. Various studies predict that worldwide civil helicopter production will double between now and 2020 in terms of overall sales value as OEMs focus on delivering larger and more expensive helicopters.
The pilot of a Eurocopter EC130 helicopter said she was on day-visual approach to Nevada’s Boulder City Municipal Airport when the engine flamed out on a post-maintenance flight. In the January 1 incident, the aircraft was still 200 feet in the air when a “low fuel pressure” indicator light illuminated followed by the engine shutting down. The pilot attempted an autorotation but didn’t have enough forward speed to complete the maneuver. The tailboom hit the ground first followed by the main skids, which quickly separated from the airframe, resulting in substantial damage.
Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services North America (HS-NA), a subsidiary of Vector Aerospace, has signed a five-year, exclusive MRO support contract with Blackcomb Aviation, a privately owned helicopter and jet charter company.
The largest helicopter EMS provider in the U.S. is continuing its foray into the air-tour business. Air Methods has acquired Blue Hawaiian helicopters for an undisclosed sum. Blue Hawaiian flies a mixed fleet of 24 Eurocopter EC130s and AS350s and operates tours on five of Hawaii’s six islands. Last year it posted revenues of $47 million.
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.