Eurocopter EC 120B, Gulf of Mexico, La., Feb. 12, 2007–The commercial pilot and his passenger were killed and the Era Helicopters EC 120B substantially damaged when it crashed into an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The pilot had announced on the radio that he was approaching for a landing. Personnel on the platform heard the helicopter approach and then felt the platform shake.
By launching the IFR version of its 427 model at Heli-Expo, in Las Vegas in March, Bell Helicopter finally acknowledged its mistakes in introducing the type in the first place, almost 10 years before.
The European Aviation Safety Agency in late August certified the Eurocopter EC 225 twin-turbine helicopter for unrestricted operations in icing conditions. To be able to fly in such conditions, the 11-ton, $17 million helicopter is fitted with an optional duplex-architecture protection system. The five main rotor blades are deiced cyclically by mats heated by metal resistors.
Goodrich Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., announced yesterday that it has developed DC starter-generator brushes to extend the time between overhaul required on a helicopter’s starter or generator.
Under pressure from its competitors, Eurocopter–still the number-one manufacturer in the civil helicopter market–is working hard to cope with a rapid production ramp-up of its own helicopters at a time when rivals are introducing a dizzying array of new models.
AgustaWestland and Eurocopter have confirmed “their joint commitment to the NH90 program,” the two companies announced here at Heli-Expo’07. They will ensure that commitment is reaffirmed during meetings planned during the next few weeks between the NATO Helicopter Management Agency and government representatives. The NH90 backlog stands at 445 firm and 100 options ordered by 18 armed forces in 14 countries.
Era Helicopters of Lake Charles, La., announced that it has signed a 20-aircraft order with Eurocopter. The contract is for eight EC 145 intermediate-twin-turbine helicopters, eight EC 135 light-twin helicopters and four AS 350B2 single-turbine helicopters. Deliveries are expected to begin next year. Era’s current fleet includes EC 120s, AS 350B2s, EC 135s, BK 117s and BO 105s.
MD Helicopters CEO Lynn Tilton said yesterday that the company plans to deliver 48 helicopters this year even as it continues to struggle with supply-chain issues and clear away the debris left by decades of mismanagement. “It’s not a one-year fix. It’s not a two-year fix. This is a five-year turnaround,” she said of the company.
Maverick Helicopters, based in Las Vegas, announced plans to buy an additional 10 Eurocopter EC 130B4s for its air-tour operations in Las Vegas; the Grand Canyon; Sedona, Ariz.; and “anywhere else in the U.S. that a customer wants to fly,” Greg Rochna, Maverick president and CEO, told HAI Convention News.
After a year in which only 29 EC 225 Super Pumas were sold, industry leader Eurocopter announced yesterday two separate deals for the helicopter, totaling 19 aircraft in all with an option for an additional eight. CHC Helicopter Corp. of Vancouver, British Columbia, ordered 16, while the Bristow Group of Houston bought three and took options for eight more.