Eurocopter used the Helitech show to highlight some recent contracts. First, the UK-based Avincis group announced a firm order for three EC225s. The first two aircraft will be delivered next month, with the third slated to arrive in next year’s second half.
Deliveries of civil turbine helicopters will recover slowly until they exceed their 2008 peak in 2018 and then reach a demand plateau, according to the Teal Group’s rotorcraft market forecast covering 2013 through 2022. The study predicts that 10,300 civil turbine helicopters worth $60.3 billion will enter service during that period.
ExecuJet Europe has plans to launch commercial helicopter charter operations from the company’s London Cambridge FBO later this year, the company announced at Helitech in September. ExecuJet Europe expects to receive a helicopter air operator certificate (AOC) from the UK Civil Aviation Authority next month.
It will not operate its own helicopters but rather use those it has under management contracts. The company’s managed fleet already includes two Eurocopter EC155s based at Cambridge Airport, with another two contracts in the final stages of negotiation.
Oxford-based A2B Heli Maintenance is expanding the portfolio of helicopter types it works on. It plans to add Bell and AgustaWestland types to the current Sikorsky S-76 and Eurocopter EC120, AS350/355, EC135, AS365, EC155 and BO105. A2B, which holds EASA Part 145 approval, offers a range of services, from line maintenance to pre-buy survey and training.
Director Andy Bloxham expects to service 10 to 15 aircraft per yearas the three-year-old company becomes established. Under its airworthiness management activity, it already oversees 21 helicopters. A2B has seven employees.
Certification of the EC145T2, an upgraded version of Eurocopter’s light twin, is now expected next spring rather than this year, as originally planned. Program leader Manfred Merk attributed the delay to longer-than-expected aerodynamic and avionics development work.
“It took us one month to solve a problem that was appearing in sideways flight,” Merk said. The helicopter was shaking, a certification red flag, so the engineers recontoured the edge of the vertical tail fin and the mod proved successful.
AgustaWestland expects its AW189 and AW169 medium twins to achieve certification by the end of next year.
American Eurocopter awarded Boston MedFlight its 2013 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award. Boston MedFlight is a not-for-profit organization providing critical care transport service to more than 2,700 patients a year.
AeroVironment and Eurocopter are exploring opportunities for cooperation. The potential transatlantic team would combine AeroVironment’s unmanned aircraft technology and systems integration skills and knowledge with Eurocopter’s helicopter technology expertise, a Eurocopter spokesman told AIN.
Helicopter operator Inaer, which is part of the Avincis group, has been awarded a five-year contract for emergency medical services in France’s Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. Starting January 1, five Eurocopter EC135T2+s will be dedicated to Marseille, Avignon, Toulon, Nice and Gap hospitals. Avignon and Marseille bases will be subcontracted to Mont Blanc Hélicoptères, with the latter city’s helicopter being available around the clock. It is the first time a contract that includes several hospitals has been signed in France.
American Eurocopter (Booth No. C11606B) selected a unique EC145 to show off at its booth during NBAA 2013. The twin-engine helicopter was outfitted to customer specifications for Chandler, Ariz.-based businessman Ron Pratte. Interior features include a spacious passenger cabin, ideal for carrying business partners and family.