Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) has admitted to the beginning of studies intended to result in a new family of light turbine engines derived from the basic PW200 core and intended to power an as-yet unannounced family of new light helos.
Last year in Toulouse, France, Eurocopter completed two series of tests that demonstrated the feasibility of satellite-navigation precision approaches for helicopters. Europe, which lags behind the U.S. in creating satnav nonprecision approaches for helicopters, has almost completed some research toward addressing that imbalance.
Since EASA certified the first night-vision image system on a civil helicopter (see AIN, September 2007), several European operators have expressed interest in or have started to adopt night-vision goggles (NVGs). Eurocopter reports it has begun testing for a German operator. No doubt, newcomers will draw from the experiences of two major European rescue operators–Sécurité Civile and Rega.
The civil night-vision goggle market is booming for emergency medical service (EMS) and law enforcement applications, but significant regulatory barriers could limit new entrants into the market and restrict the export of the most popular NVGs.
In addition to repairing its 10,000th rotor blade at its Grand Prairie, Texas shop, American Eurocopter announced that it will open its first regional service center, one of several it plans to launch within the U.S. The West Coast Regional Service Center is to be located at the Long Beach Airport in the Daugherty Skyharbor Complex.
Turbomeca’s subsidiary CGTM, known primarily as the engine manufacturer’s flight-test center, plans to offer a new air filter for the Eurocopter AS 350 Ecureuil. Developed jointly with filtration specialist Pall Aerospace, the air filter should be certified by early next year. Pau, southwest-France-based CGTM plans to certify the new air filter even for inadvertent flight into icing conditions.
Swiss-based simulation specialist Elite is now offering a helicopter flight-training device (FTD). Elite exhibited the S623, based on the Eurocopter AS 350, for the first time at the Heli Trade show in Geneva.
The first edition of the International Heli Trade helicopter show in Geneva last month seems to have met exhibitors’ expectations. Visitors and organizers alike, however, may have been disappointed by the absence of such major manufacturers as Robinson and Eurocopter. But the conference program was rich and, from the first roundtable, it proved a good opportunity for operators to express their needs and concerns.
The Department of Homeland Security has awarded American Eurocopter a contract to supply no fewer than 56 EC 120s to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. The value of the award, over the five-year term of the contract, is potentially $75 million.
India scrapped a $600 million deal with Eurocopter for 197 AS 550 Fennec light helicopters. Last February, the Indian Army chose the AS 550 to replace its large fleet of Cheetah and Cheetak light helicopters, in preference to the Bell 407. But the selection process was controversial, and Eurocopter was accused of illegal use of agents to influence the deal.