The FAA is issuing an Airworthiness Directive for Airbus Helicopters (previously Eurocopter France) EC130B4 and EC130T2. The AD requires repetitive inspection of the fenestron-to-tailboom junction frame for a crack. This AD is prompted by reports of a crack propagating through the junction frame on two EC130B4 helicopters. These actions are intended to detect a crack and to prevent failure of the junction frame, which could result in loss of the fenestron and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
Yesterday was a banner day for French helicopter manufacturer Guimbal as it marked its entry to the U.S. helicopter market, with the delivery of its first Cabri G2 light single to Newberg, Ore.-based operator and training provider Precision Helicopters.
The widow of a Blue Hawaiian pilot killed in the crash of a company Eurocopter EC130B4 in November 2011 has filed a suit against the air-tour operator and the helicopter’s manufacturer, citing product defects. Pilot Nathan Cline and four passengers were killed when the helicopter crashed on Molokai during a sightseeing flight. Witnesses at an elementary school near the crash site reported heavy rain squalls at the time of the accident.
The Eurocopter EC135 light twin that crashed into a busy pub on November 29 in Glasgow, Scotland, was intact when it hit the roof, but neither the main rotor nor the fenestron tail rotor were rotating at that time, the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch preliminary report reveals. The helicopter had been flying for one hour and 33 minutes when the pilot requested clearance to return to Glasgow City Heliport. No further radio transmission was received.
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.
The German defense ministry ordered 15 Eurocopter EC645T2 light utility helicopters worth €194 million. They will be used by the Kommando Spezialkraefte, Germany’s Special Forces Command. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2015 and run through mid-2017.
Making its Paris Air Show debut is the Russian Helicopters/Kamov Ka-62, a 6,500-kg mtow, 15-passenger helicopter in the same class as the AgustaWestland AW139, Eurocopter EC155 and Sikorsky S-76 series. The mockup made it first appearance on the international show circuit at last year’s Farnborough Air Show.
India’s yet-to-take off helicopter emergency medical services program (HEMS) received a boost earlier this year with a firm contract for seven Eurocopter EC135s by Bangalore-based Aviators Ltd. signed in the presence of visiting French president François Hollande.
The Z-10 and Z-19 helicopters both made their public debuts at Airshow China in Zhuhai last week. The Changhe-built Z-10 performed daily during the show, while the Harbin-built Z-19 appeared twice. Neither was available for close inspection in the static park. Both are tandem-seat machines with nose-mounted gyro-stabilized sensor/targeting “ball”-style turret, and stubby wings with weapons pylons.
American Eurocopter is doing more than just showing off its offerings at its booth during the NBAA Convention. The company will also offer flying demonstrations of its EC135 and EC155 helicopters during the show.
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