March 6 will be a big day for helicopter OEMs and could shape the future of the industry for decades to come. Phase One proposals are due into the Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate by tomorrow that likely will lead to the construction of Joint Multi-Role demonstration aircraft (JMR TD) that could fly as early as 2017 and lead to the start of production aircraft between 2025 and 2030.
The Coanda effect, which is central to the performance of the MD Helicopters Notar (no tail rotor) and the tail-boom strakes on many other helicopters, inspired 16-year-old Ethan Chu’s design for a helicopter that won him the Igor Sikorsky Youth Innovator Award in the second annual Helicopter 2050 Challenge (http://www.helicopter2050.com).
“I was fascinated with the Coanda effect,” Chu said, “and I decided to use it to make my helicopter design more efficient.”
From a husband-and-wife operation launched 10 years ago in the family garage in Mesa, Ariz., Phoenix Heliparts has grown into major player in the art of restoring older helicopters to a new and useful life.
The company’s main facility in Mesa, about 14 miles north of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, now totals about 45,000 sq ft and there is an additional 25,000 sq ft and a designated landing area at the airport for flight testing.
Cobham Aerospace Communication’s Digital Audio Control System (DACS) has been selected for Life Flight Network’s 15 new AgustaWestland AW119Kx helicopters. The Aurora, Ore.-based aeromedical transport provider is the launch customer for the AW119Kx and will be taking delivery of its first aircraft this year. According to Cobham, the DACS is a compact and lightweight unit that “distributes and controls aircraft audio to/from all transceivers, receivers and audio warning systems.” Software in the DACS allows customization of the system to fit customer needs.
Bristow Helicopters, the largest global helicopter provider, is set to become the U.S. launch customer for the not-yet-certified Eurocopter EC175. Representatives of the operator and manufacturer are expected to sign the purchase agreement at Eurocopter’s Heli-Expo booth (No. C2922) at 3 p.m. this afternoon, here in Las Vegas.
Global demand for helicopters is expected to increase over the next five years, according to the results of Honeywell’s Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook survey, released here at Heli-Expo ‘13. Deliveries of new civilian-use helicopters will total between 4,900 and 5,600 units during 2013-2017 according to the survey, with strong demand focused in the first three years of the period and reflected in every region of the world. This is 35 percent higher for this three-year period than was recorded in last year’s survey.
Taking into account both civil and military markets, the yearly delivery value of rotorcraft is comparable to the $18 billion business jet industry, according to aviation analyst Brian Foley. In fact, he is forecasting some 24,000 rotorcraft deliveries over the next 10 years, including 12,000 civil turbines, 6,000 military turbines and 6,000 piston helicopters valued at roughly $250 billion–roughly the same outlook for business jet billings.
Garmin’s touchscreen GTN series GPS navcoms have been optimized for helicopters, with new features that eliminate the need for rotorcraft operators to install the fixed-wing GTN version. The new helicopter-optimized GTN comes in five configurations that meet vibration and temperature testing standards and offer optional NVG compatibility and optional H-Taws.
Universal Helicopters will award its Vision Award, a full scholarship valued at up to $12,000 for night-vision goggle (NVG) certification in a Robinson R44, to one lucky Heli-Expo attendee on Wednesday. The company’s NVG certification program–which is conducted at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott, Ariz. campus–includes a maximum of seven hours flight and 10 hours of ground training. Those who wish to be in the drawing must hold an FAA commercial rotorcraft helicopter certificate, enter at Universal Helicopters’ booth and be present to win.
The aircraft modification segment of Butler National’s wholly owned subsidiary Avcon (Booth No. C3004) is exhibiting at Heli-Expo for the first time. Avcon is armed with a novel concept design for a skid-mount portable system for Lidar system operations in rotorcraft. Avcon modifies business and cargo aircraft, both fixed-wing and rotorcraft, in Newton, Kansas, and provides many FAA-approved solutions to a variety of operators.