The maintenance and logistics behind keeping big helicopters such as the tandem-rotor Columbia Helicopters 234 and the Erickson Aviation S-64 Air Crane flying can seem downright daunting.
AgustaWestland could fly a larger “next-generation civil tiltrotor” (NGCTR) by 2020. Propelled by internal company studies and research that began in 2000, the larger tiltrotor project is now being pushed to the next level with $328 million in new funding from the Industry/European Union’s CleanSky2 initiative.
Sikorsky performed a ceremonial rollout of the S-97 Raider helicopter at West Palm Beach on October 2. The aircraft is one of two prototypes that are based on the company’s X2 rigid coaxial rotor plus pusher-propeller technology demonstrator that broke the rotary-wing world speed record in 2010. Sikorsky is proposing the Raider as a replacement for the U.S. Army’s large fleet of OH-58D Kiowa Warriors armed aerial scouts, and for special operations.
The SKYe SH09 single-engine helicopter flew for the first time today in Molis, Switzerland, Marenco Swisshelicopter announced. With chief test pilot Dwayne Williams at the controls, the helicopter performed five hover flights, logging 20 minutes in the air.
The NTSB is faulting the pilot for the fatal air tour crash of a Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Airbus EC130B4 that went down in heavy rain and limited visibility on the island of Molokai on Nov. 10, 2011. The crash killed pilot Nathan Cline and his four passengers.
Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services North America (HS-NA) has been named an Airbus Helicopters D-Level certified repair center for the AS350/AS355 and EC130. D-Level structural repairs include landing gear, main gearbox, engine and component attachment points as well as fuselage/tailboom, vertical fin and horizontal stabilizer junction.
Greg Maitlen pivoted the Bell 407GX carefully as we approached a ridge slightly lower than nearby 10,064-foot Mount San Antonio (also known as Mount Baldy), the highest peak in southern California’s tinder-dry San Gabriel mountain range. Maitlen, Bell Helicopter’s regional sales manager for the mountain U.S., was piloting a demo of the 407GX’s new flight manual supplement allowing carriage of a heavier payload in hot-and-high conditions. The new AFM supplement was certified in July and involves no changes to the 407GX other than placing the new FMS-12 supplement in the helicopter.
A German photographer spotted a modified EC135 at Airbus Helicopters’ development facility in Donauwörth, Germany. Most striking is the light twin’s new horizontal empennage, moved to the top of the vertical fin.
Airbus Brazilian subsidiary Helibras recently held its second “Operational Safety Days,” filling São Paulo’s Anhembi Morumbi University auditorium to its 300-seat capacity. “We’ll need a bigger place next year,” Helibras safety manager Antonio Modesto told AIN, describing the helicopter safety event as “the realization of a personal dream” with full company support.
Russian Helicopters and Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies have started testing the Mi-171A2 helicopter with KBO-17 avionics. The first flights of the upgraded Mi-171 will take place in Moscow. The medium-twin helicopter features a five-display suite and an obstacle warning system. With the new system, the required crew is reduced to two. Certification, once slated for this year, has been postponed to 2015.