Enstrom Helicopter announced late last week that it has been acquired by Chongqing Helicopter Investment Co. (CQHIC) for an undisclosed price. Chongqing is the fourth-largest metropolitan area in China. Menominee, Mich.-based Enstrom manufactures single-engine helicopters, including the 480B turbine and F28 piston series.
Led by increasing demand for its R66 turbine single, Robinson Helicopter posted strong numbers last year, delivering 517 aircraft, up from 365 in 2011, according to company CEO Kurt Robinson. “Things have definitely picked up,” he told AIN.
Erickson Air-Crane has entered into a non-binding letter of intent to acquire 14 helicopters and associated personnel and assets from HRT Participacoes em Petroleo (HRT). The deal requires Erickson Air-Crane to provide operational services, including both cargo and passenger transport, to HRT in the Amazon under a three-year renewable contract. Erickson traditionally had focused its efforts on building, selling, servicing and operating heavy-lift S-64 Aircranes. Erickson CEO Udo Rieder said the agreement provides “an excellent path to diversification and growth.”
Air Methods, the nation’s largest air ambulance provider, ended last year by placing orders for 42 new helicopters, including 20 Bell 407GX singles and 22 Eurocopters (10 EC130T2 and six AS350B3e light singles, and six EC135P2e light twins). All of the helicopters ordered are recently upgraded and improved editions of legacy models and feature new avionics and/or enhanced performance. The Eurocopter order is valued at more than $80 million. Deliveries are scheduled for 2014 and 2015.
The FAA is revising an earlier proposed airworthiness directive for the Eurocopter BO105A/C/LS/LS A-3 and 105S. The earlier AD proposed inspecting for debonding of the erosion protective shell (abrasion strip) on the leading edge of each main rotor blade. This SNPRM proposes to revise those inspection requirements by identifying specific dates of replacement of the applicable parts and identifying a specific inspection method to discover debonding of an abrasion strip.
The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST), a global organization dedicated to reducing the civil helicopter accident rate, has added Robinson Helicopter president Kurt Robinson to its executive committee. He is a commercial helicopter pilot and he holds an MBA and a law degree from the University of San Diego.
Preliminary Report: Brazilian Jet Overruns Runway
Cessna Citation CJ3, São Paulo (SBSP), Brazil, Nov. 11, 2012–The captain of a Cessna Citation CJ3 was seriously injured as the aircraft ran off the end of 4,700-foot-long Runway 35R at São Paulo Congonhas Airport. The first officer and lone passenger sustained only minor injuries. Witnesses said the aircraft bounced high into the air a number of times before coming to rest against an airport fence, reportedly after the brakes failed. There was no post-crash fire.
Beechcraft King Air C90, Springdale, Ark., Nov. 1, 2013–The private pilot and passenger were killed when the turboprop twin hit terrain four miles southeast of Springdale Municipal Airport. The aircraft was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed before the Part 91 flight departed Pine Bluff Airport headed to the northwest at approximately 5 p.m. The flight was apparently headed for Bentonville.
In Greek mythology, when Achilles was a baby, it was foretold that he would die young. To improve his chances of immortality, his mother, Thetis, took Achilles to the River Styx, which was supposed to offer powers of invulnerability, and dipped his body into the water. But Thetis held Achilles by the heel… The rest of the myth is well known. If the mother of the helicopter concept ever dipped it into the River Styx, she probably held it by the main gearbox.
Eurocopter’s ubiquitous light single, the AS350B3e Ecureuil/AStar, is subject to airspeed limits and repetitive inspections as a result of an early-October emergency service bulletin and accompanying airworthiness directive (AD). The helicopter is now limited to 100 knots airspeed at sea level to reduce dynamic loads on the tail rotor. In addition, repetitive inspections must be conducted, with maximum intervals of three flight hours, on the laminated half-bearings.