With the first commercial flight of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) now accomplished, at least two other potential certification efforts are under way for unmanned aircraft that would fly at opposite extremes of the airspace if the Federal Aviation Administration approves them.
Two crewmembers and five passengers aboard a Sikorsky S-92 operated in IMC by Cougar Helicopters were only 38 feet above the waters of the Atlantic Ocean when the pilot, having suffered a bout of spatial disorientation, regained control of the helicopter, according to a September 12 report from Canada’s Transportation Safety Board. The incident occurred on July 23, 2011, 217 miles southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Helicopter operator Bristow has inked several multi-year contracts with offshore oil and gas companies. The deals involve 12 large and three medium helicopters and are expected to generate up to $850 million in revenue. Operations will take place in Europe, Australia, the Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria, Tanzania and Mozambique. Six of the 12 large helicopters are new Sikorsky S-92s.
The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for the Eurocopter AS350 and AS355 to require inspecting for a crack in the control lever attachment yokes and, if needed, replacing the tail-rotor gearbox (TGB). The AD was prompted by the improper casting of TGB casing assemblies, which may lead to cracking. A crack in the control lever attachment yokes could cause a loss of tail-rotor pitch control and loss of control of the helicopter.
The new Sikorsky S-76D medium twin recently performed high-altitude takeoff and landing tests at Colorado’s Lake County Airport, the helicopter manufacturer announced last week. The trials, which took place at almost 10,000 feet msl, were part of a so-called envelope-expansion program.
A large helicopter crashed last month near Norfolk, Va., and not only wasn’t the National Transportation Safety Board mobilized; it probably even had advance warning. The planned wreck was part of a continuing series of rotorcraft crash tests sponsored by NASA in partnership with the FAA, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army, dating back to 2009.
Bell Helicopter delivered the first Bell 407GX to be operated in Russia to Helidrive in St. Petersburg, the rotorcraft manufacturer announced yesterday. The 407GX, which was officially handed over to Helidrive–Bell’s independent representative in northwest Russia–last week, will be used for both private and charter flights. To date, Bell has delivered more than 1,100 Bell 407s, including nearly 100 Bell 407GXs.
Bell Helicopter has delivered the first of its new Bell 407GX aircraft in Russia. St Petersburg-based Helidrive, which is the U.S. manufacturer’s independent representative in northwest Russia, will be using the new single for private and charter use. Bell is displaying an example of the 407GX at this week’s JetExpo show in Moscow.
Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services was re-certified as a Sikorsky authorized S-76 and S-61 overhaul and repair center and as a Sikorsky authorized customer support center for the S-76. Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services will continue to provide Sikorsky operators with scheduled maintenance for the S-76 and repair, major overhaul and testing of certain S-76 and S-61 components.
In the UK AAIB’s second update on the investigation into the August 23 Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma fatal accident, it appears the helicopter was “intact,” with “both engines delivering power,” when it struck the sea. The attitude was near level pitch with a slight right bank.