Less than two weeks after the July 16 crash of a Bristow Sikorsky S-76A+ (G-BJVX) that killed all 11 passengers and crew when the helicopter apparently lost a main rotor blade and plummeted into the waters of the North Sea, the FAA issued an emergency AD covering all S-76As, -Bs, and -Cs.
The European Aviation Safety Agency has granted approval of a recent FAA-approved rotor blade tape installation STC for Robinson R22s and R44s. Airworthiness Directive 2007-26-12 was issued to address delamination of the helicopters’ main rotor blades.
Helicopter manufacturers are exploring a number of technologies to reduce noise, both that perceived from the ground and inside the cabin. European manufacturers are working on several demonstration programs to reduce noise by changing the helicopter’s airframe dynamics.
AGUSTA A109E, DALLAS, TEXAS, SEPT. 3, 2003–The Agusta twin-engine helicopter (N143CF) was substantially damaged at approximately 7:50 p.m. CDT during an aborted takeoff from the Methodist Dallas Medical Center helipad. The commercial pilot received minor injuries and the flight paramedic and flight nurse were uninjured.
Two European helicopter manufacturers, Eurocopter and AgustaWestland, are the coleaders of the Green Rotorcraft research program in the European Commission’s Clean Sky joint technology initiative, which was launched in Brussels on February 5. The aim of Green Rotorcraft is to reduce the impact on the environment in all phases of the lifecycle of a rotorcraft, from manufacturing to operation and eventually disposal.
Guimbal Hélicoptères has plans to take on the ubiquitous R22 in the training market. The company, launched by a former Eurocopter employee, has made headway, having secured orders from several European companies, including Eurocopter.
An airworthiness directive issued by the FAA on Thursday warns of tightening torque loss on the main-rotor-hub (MRH) to main-rotor-mast attachment bolts on Eurocopter AS 365 and SA 365 helicopters, which could lead to an in-flight loss of the main rotor head. The AD, which affects 36 U.S.-registered AS 365N/N1/N2/N3 and SA 365C/C1/C2 helicopters, becomes effective March 6, but the FAA is accepting comments on AD 2008-04-03 until April 21.
Van Horn Aviation (VHA) is showing a prototype of its new composite tail-rotor blade for Bell 206-series helicopters at its Heli-Expo’08 booth (No. 3307).
Guimbal Hélicoptères, a French startup company, announced it has received EASA certification for its light twin-seater, the Cabri G2. Bruno Guimbal, the designer of the small piston-engine helicopter, told HAI Convention News he has received 12 firm orders to date.
Airwolf Aerospace has been issued an FAA STC for its permanent fix for main rotor blade delamination on the Robinson R22 and R44, an issue covered by Airworthiness Directive 2007-26-12. According to the AD, the blade skins begin to debond at the skin-to-spar bond line near the blade tip, and can separate when the bond line is exposed due to excessive erosion of the blade finish or when corrosion occurs on the internal aluminum tip cap.