Bell 206L-1 LongRanger, Heber Springs, Ark., Aug. 11, 2008–The LongRanger, registered to Hillsboro Aviation of Hillsboro, Ore., partially lost engine power while maneuvering near Heber Springs. In the course of a forced landing, the tailboom separated, the main rotor blades bent and the right side of the fuselage was damaged. The ATP-rated pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured.
At a small airfield near Horseheads, N.Y., Sikorsky is slowly expanding the flight envelope of its X2 technology demonstrator. After a first flight at the end of August, the coaxial rotor helicopter is currently midway through the first of four flight-test phases that should enable it to reach a forward speed of 250 knots by the middle of next year.
Biggin Hill, UK-based helicopter charter operator Sky Charter has been designated the UK dealer for PZL Swidnik rotorcraft. The company has ordered three SW4 light singles and is expecting deliveries next spring.
Just a few years ago Eurocopter scored a major coup at an HAI Heli-Expo show, amazing the crowds by introducing a new helicopter as a completely certified aircraft instead of a promise-laden prototype encumbered with the usual waits for first flight, inflated claims of launch customers and delays in FAA approval. Instead, Eurocopter presented its EC 130 as a done deal.
For Robinson Helicopter, switching from aluminum to stainless-steel skin for main rotor blades has been “a mixed bag,” said company vice president Kurt Robinson, who defended the move on the grounds that the change means lighter and stronger blades with better corrosion resistance. But critics argue that the stainless skins do not hold paint well and that the switch from aluminum
A proposed airworthiness directive for the Sikorsky S-76 would require inspections of the tail rotor vertical stabilizer aft spar assembly every 50 hours after an assembly has 1,000 hours time-in-service. It would also require track and balance of the tail rotor within 30 days and every 200 hours thereafter. The AD would affect an estimated 216 S-76A/B/Cs on the U.S. registry.
The NTSB has issued a Safety Recommendation calling for the development of nondestructive testing techniques for Robinson main rotor blades after approximately 596 hours time-in-service to check for bond defects in areas between the skin and spar at the tip of the blade and between the skin and tip cap on all R22s and R44s.
Bell 407, Morristown, Tenn., Nov. 9, 2007–The NTSB blamed the death of
In aviation, like most other industries, success breeds regulation. The bigger an industry becomes, the more the government perceives the need to regulate it, often citing reasons such as safety, unfair competition and environmental protection. Yet, in typical Darwinian fashion, most industries adapt–or die. In aviation, hush kits quiet noisier jet engines, airplanes are made RVSM compatible and helicopters are flown neighborly.
American Eurocopter has sold its first EC 145 in the U.S., to the Lee County (Florida) division of public safety/EMS. The launch customer will use the EC 145 primarily to support Lee County’s EMS operation, which encompasses the cities of Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Bonita Springs as well as 625,000 acres of coastal area and barren islands.