The latest edition of the Handbook of Brazilian General Aviation published here at LABACE this week by industry group ABAG shows that private use of aircraft by individuals and companies still dominates fleet utilization in Brazil. The number of aircraft available for air taxi use has only risen slowly over the past three years.
Helibras is displaying the first example of the EC130T2 to arrive in Brazil this week at LABACE. This latest version of the helicopter introduces new features that the company hopes will maintain the EC130’s position as the dominant type in the large single-engine helicopter marketplace. Having arrived just a few weeks ago from the Eurocopter factory, the EC130T2 was reassembled at the Helibras facility at Itajubá, where it was also painted with a new type of ecologically friendly water-based paint.
The Robinson Helicopter fleet in service in Brazil is the largest of any country in Latin America, according to the manufacturer’s Brazilian distributor, Audi Helicópteros. Audi is at LABACE 2013 (Chalet 6102) well positioned to take advantage of the growing popularity of rotorcraft in this part of the world.
With a chalet immediately adjacent to the main entrance, Audi has one of each of Robinson’s most popular aircraft on prominent display: the five-seat, turbine-powered R66; the four-seat piston-powered R44; and the two-seat piston-powered R22.
Bristow Academy, a division of Bristow Group, has introduced into service its first four Robinson R44 training helicopters with Garmin 500H glass cockpits with dual 6.5-inch LCDs.
The new HeliSure systems introduced by Rockwell Collins aren’t just synthetic-vision systems (SVS) and terrain awareness and warning systems (Taws) for helicopters but “a family of technologies that are going to provide solutions for helicopter cockpits,” said Dan Toy, principal marketing manager for the company’s rotor-wing business. The first products are HSVS and HTaws and will be fitted to new AgustaWestland AW149, AW189, AW101 and AW169 helicopters.
Sikorsky Aircraft is developing a set of hardware and software capabilities to support autonomous flight of unmanned or optionally piloted vertical-lift aircraft. Executives said the goal is to deliver an order of magnitude improvement in the safety and reliability of unmanned aircraft, which experience losses at a rate of once every 1,000 flight hours.
Three aircraft modification specialists with major markets in Latin America, and in particular in Brazil, have joined forces at the LABACE show with a one-stop-shop exhibit (Stand 5005) featuring performance-enhancing technologies. In many ways, the products offered by Blackhawk Modifications, BLR Aerospace and Raisbeck Engineering complement one another, and combined may result in even better performance results, according to the U.S. companies.
Mitsubishi has contracted with Sikorsky to acquire 11 S-76Ds for search-and-rescue operations by the Japan Coast Guard. Meanwhile, in China, Citic Offshore Helicopter has ordered two S-92s for offshore oil transportation. Sikorsky plans to deliver the new S-92s in December next year and March 2015. In another Chinese deal, Sikorsky and Zhuhai Helicopter announced a contract for four Sikorsky S-92s to be used for offshore missions.
Bristow is retrofitting a fleet of 44 Sikorsky S-76C++s and Sikorsky S-92As with Rockwell Collins’s traffic alert and collision avoidance (Tcas II) system. Installations are in progress. A new-generation system, the TTR-4100, will be fitted to 20 of the helicopters. It adds traffic computer capability and enables automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) in.
A Russian-owned Mi-8 helicopter being flown on July 31 in support of the United Nations World Food Program crashed in Ethiopia while en route to South Sudan. The helicopter was carrying four people–two pilots and two passengers–at the time of the accident. The extent of injuries to those aboard was not reported.