Nearly 15,000 attendees filled the exhibit hall at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston through the second day of Heli-Expo 2010. The three-day show officially comes to a close today. The total number of exhibitors this year was 596, up from 585 last year. Total attendance was expected to be within 1 to 3 percent of last year’s record 17,373.
Eurocopter (Booth No. 3128) brought back its full-scale, medium twin EC175 mockup to Heli-Expo–with a twist: it is reconfigured for search-and-rescue (SAR) operations.
We hear a lot about turbofan engine research, in such things as unducted fans, open-rotor designs and geared turbofans. Where is rotorcraft engine technology headed?
“The Bell 429 is the first helicopter to have a maintenance program designed under MSG-3,” Neil Marshall, program director for the Bell 429 project, told AIN. “We had a working group composed of Bell Helicopter specialists, lead mechanics from customers, representatives from the FAA, Transport Canada and EASA giving input into the design.
The new TopDeck avionics suite from Thales is set to enter service in about a year on board Sikorsky’s new S-76D, which is due to complete certification in the early part of 2011. But you can see live demonstrations of the integrated system by Sikorsky pilots here at the company’s Heli-Expo exhibit (Booth No. 4536).
AgustaWestland has begun delivering a tailored version of the AW109S Grand to Swiss air rescue organization Rega. The Da Vinci, the result of a set of specifications issued by Rega to replace its A109 K2s, is thus not offered to other customers.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has two helicopter engine programs nearing the final stages of development and both remain on schedule.
The annual Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo–at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston February 21 to 23–opens at a time of continued uncertainty about the direction of the global economy. Last year, the buzz at the show revolved around how fortunate the helicopter industry was because its members serve such diverse users, including commercial, corporate, government and military customers.
Both product support and research and development have taken hits in the helicopter industry as cash flow and current sales shrink, while future orders are clouded by important changes and growing uncertainty in key customer sectors.
The prototype of the Eurocopter EC 175 made its “official maiden flight” on December 17, almost two weeks after its actual first flight on December 4 in Marignane, France. The flight-test phase is now well under way. The event, attended by customers, employees, suppliers and journalists, was also the opportunity for Eurocopter to highlight the cooperation with China’s Avicopter.