Airbus Helicopters will lead the design of a compound rotorcraft demonstrator dubbed “LifeRCraft” (low-impact, fast and efficient rotorcraft) as part of Europe’s recently launched Clean Sky 2 Joint Technology Initiative. The LifeRCraft architecture combines a main rotor for vertical takeoff and landing, fixed wings for energy-efficient lift and open propellers for speed. The company will use experience gained on its X3 compound demonstrator between 2010 and 2013.
The first Bell 525 Relentless super-medium twin helicopter is moving closer to final assembly at Bell Helicopter’s plant in Amarillo, Texas. Matt Hasik, Bell’s senior vice president of commercial programs, told AIN that the three main cabin sections will be joined within the next few weeks. He also said that the first carbon-fiber, all-composite main rotor blade for the 525 has been completed and is undergoing testing.
Marenco Swisshelicopter is still preparing to fly its SH09 SKYe single-turbine helicopter. The company is finalizing testing of the major systems, a spokesman told AIN. “We have done a number of trials on the aircraft,” he said. In addition, the “whirl tower” test bench is running at full speed with the main rotor head and gearbox. Certification of the 5,840-pound-mtow rotorcraft is expected in the second half of next year.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has found that the fatally injured pilot and sole occupant of a Gemini Helicopters Robinson R44 that crashed on Jan. 27, 2013, near Fox Creek, Alberta, after an in-flight break-up “was under the influence of alcohol” and made “inappropriate control inputs that caused the main rotor blade to make contact with the fuselage.” The TSB also noted the failure of the R44’s emergency locator transmitter in the final report.
MD Helicopters showed off its prototype MD540A armed scout helicopter last week at the Sofex show in Jordan, marking the type’s first appearance outside the U.S. The choice of venue was made to highlight the type’s credentials in an area where its hot-and-high performance is of considerable interest, at a show where its special-forces support capability is highly relevant, and in a country that has a requirement for a new armed helicopter.
Composite rotor blade manufacturer Van Horn Aviation (VHA; Booth No. 7129) of Tempe, Ariz. is showcasing the company’s Bell 206 main rotor blade development project. This program is aimed at creating a replacement for the metal blades in legacy 206 models, starting with the 206B3 JetRanger. The JetRanger that will serve as the program’s test bed is on display at the company’s booth. “Our goal is to have the 206B3 blade certified by the end of this year,” VHA president James Van Horn told AIN.
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.
Find out more about your MD Helicopters 369, 500 or 600 helicopter’s rotor track and balance, vibration troubleshooting and ride quality assessment during Heli-Expo 2014 by joining Helicopter Technology Company (Booth No. 4526) experts in Room 207-A from 1:30 p.m. 3:30 p.m. today. Los Angeles-based HTC is known for its main rotors and tail rotors, which are designed and built in its California facilities.
The FAA is adopting an airworthiness directive (AD) that establishes a new life limit based on a prorated formula for some Sikorsky S-70, S-70A and S-70C components that were previously installed on military helicopters. Some of the parts, including the main rotor hub, main rotor shaft, main rotor spindle nut, rotating swashplate and main rotor gearbox, have been interchanged with military helicopter models with life limits different from those of the civilian version.
Bond Air Services has grounded its EC135 helicopter fleet in the wake of a November 29 accident in which one of the aircraft it operates for local police crashed into a pub in Glasgow, Scotland, killing nine people and injuring 32 others.
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