Eurocopter officially opened its new North Sea Service Centre today in Aberdeen, on the northeast coast of Scotland. The facility provides maintenance, repair and overhaul support for Eurocopter helicopters operating in the oil and gas fields of the North Sea. It also has a pilot training center, which features a full-flight simulator for the Eurocopter EC225.
Eurocopter unveiled a compound helicopter demonstrator called the X3 (“x cubed”) designed to cruise at 220 knots–about 50 percent faster than today’s medium twins. The helicopter manufacturer believes it has found a sweet spot at a target speed that should make time savings profitable, and the technology could be incorporated into helicopters in less than a decade.
Eurocopter EC225 Super Pumas manufactured next year will feature a series of upgrades in avionics, search-and-rescue (SAR) equipment and passenger comfort that will come standard in the offshore version of the medium twin.
VIH Aviation Group (Booth No. 3728) ordered a pair of Eurocopter EC225s to support its oil and gas offshore activities in Australia. The helicopters will be flown by HNZ Cougar Helicopters, a new joint venture. VIH is the only Canadian-controlled helicopter company to operate the EC225, according to VIH CEO Ken Norie. The EC225 is powered by two Fadec-controlled Turbomeca Makila 2A1 engines.
Frasca International announced that Bristow Academy of Aberdeen, Scotland, has received dual qualification for its Frasca Sikorsky S-92 full-flight simulator (FFS). The S-92 FFS is the first device approved under JAA with both level B FFS and level 3 FTD approval. A second FFS for the Eurocopter EC225, scheduled for delivery to Bristow in mid-2010, will also be dual certified.
The Sikorsky S-92A will take over search-and-rescue helicopter (SAR-H) duties in the UK, following selection of the Soteria Consortium by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
France-based turboshaft manufacturer Turbomeca has delivered its 2,000th Makila engine to Eurocopter. The engine powers an EC225. The latest version of the Makila, the 2A1, offers 2,411 shp at maximum emergency power (one engine inoperative). The engine maker plans a TBO increase, to 4,000 hours.
Canada-based offshore operator VIH Aviation Group (VIH) and New Zealand-based HNZ Group last month announced the formation of a joint venture to provide offshore helicopter services in Australia and its coastal regions.
Bell Helicopter Textron of Fort Worth, Texas, expects Transport Canada to issue the type certificate for the company’s twin-turbine Bell 429 light helicopter by the end of this month. Approval from U.S. and European authorities should follow just a few weeks after that.
The latest variant of Agusta Westland’s AW101 medium-lift helicopter is appearing at the Paris Air Show for the first time here this week, raising the new variant’s international profile and helping the manufacturer promote new business with the likes of Fittipaldi Aircraft, a joint venture between car racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi and investment bank State Capital.