Helicopter and business aircraft leasing firm Milestone Aviation announced at the Air Medical Transport Conference yesterday that it would purchase five new Eurocopter EC130B4 helicopters. The order is valued at $17 million, with deliveries slated for the second half of next year.
The FAA awarded an STC to Cobham for installation of its HeliSAS autopilot and stability augmentation system on Eurocopter’s AS350 and EC130. HeliSAS is designed for use in all phases of flight and automatically returns the helicopter to a near-level attitude when the pilot releases the controls. The system costs and weighs much less than traditional large military and commercial helicopter autopilot systems, according to Cobham.
Last month in Marignane, France, Eurocopter quietly flew the first prototype of a helicopter that is to replace the EC130 light single and possibly the entire Ecureuil family, Jean-Michel Billig, the companyπs executive vice president for research and development, told AIN yesterday. The program is codenamed X2, although it has no relationship with Sikorskyπs technology demonstrator of the same name. Certification is planned for 2013.
The National Park Service (NPS) is proposing new rules to cap the number of air-tour flights over the Grand Canyon, further restrict flight corridors and altitudes adjacent to it, and mandate the use of “quiet-technology” helicopters flying tours there.
Air Medical Resource Group ordered seven Eurocopter AS350B3e rotorcraft at Heli-Expo, becoming the launch customer for the new model AStar introduced at this year’s convention. A more powerful version of the AS350B3, it’s powered by a Turbomeca Arriel 2D turboshaft engine and new generation Fadec. Certification is planned for this summer and deliveries are scheduled to begin by year’s end.
Aviation Specialties Unlimited (Booth No. 3033) has passed a major milestone, having made more than 500 night-vision-goggle cockpit modifications.
ASU’s first modifications were to two Eurocopter EC135s, one for Collier County Emergency Medical Services of Naples, Fla., and one for St. Vincent Healthcare of Billings, Mont.
To signify their continuing evolution, Eurocopter is applying an “e” suffix to the latest variants of its helicopters. One of these evolved products, the AS350B3e, is at Heli-Expo 2011 on the Eurocopter display and shown here in an air-to-air factory publicity photo.
Aerospace Filtration Systems (AFS), a subsidiary of Donaldson (Booth No. 8315), has an agreement with Wintech-Int of Australia to represent the St. Louis company’s rotorcraft Inlet Barrier Filter product line in Australia and New Zealand.
Spirits were high and attendance reached a healthy 15,243 at Heli-Expo’10, held February 21 to 23 in Houston. The number of exhibitors, 596, was higher than last year, and this year’s attendance was the third highest in Heli-Expo history, underscoring the helicopter industry’s assertion that the diversity of the markets it serves has moderated the effects of the recession.