The FAA plans to formally reexamine the certification standards for helicopters under Parts 27 and 29 of the FARs, the agency announced. Currently, Part 27 helicopters must weigh 7,000 pounds or less and have nine or fewer passenger seats. Helicopters that weigh more than 7,000 pounds and have 10 or more seats fall under the more stringent Part 29 rules.
The FAA is issuing an Airworthiness Directive for Airbus Helicopters (previously Eurocopter France) EC130B4 and EC130T2. The AD requires repetitive inspection of the fenestron-to-tailboom junction frame for a crack. This AD is prompted by reports of a crack propagating through the junction frame on two EC130B4 helicopters. These actions are intended to detect a crack and to prevent failure of the junction frame, which could result in loss of the fenestron and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
The FAA is publishing a new Airworthiness Directive (AD) for certain AgustaWestland AB139 and AW139 helicopters. It requires repetitive inspection of the main rotor (M/R) rotating scissors for play of the lower half scissor spherical bearing and removing the bearing if there is play beyond allowable limits. It also requires removing all affected bearings. This AD is prompted by reports of certain bearings dislodging from certain M/R rotating scissors.
The U.S. Army will assemble a panel later this month or in September to explain the flight-test phase of its joint multi-role technology demonstration (JMR TD) to develop a future vertical-lift aircraft. The service has said that it plans to select two proposed designs to advance to fabrication and flight-testing.
Aircraft maintenance plan provider JSSI is pushing harder into the red-hot helicopter market. The company recently hired Ray Weiser as its new helicopter program specialist and will soon unveil several programs aimed at the helicopter market, according to CEO Neil Book.
North Sea helicopter operators expect to deploy improved emergency breathing systems (EBS) progressively, beginning in the middle of this month, to comply with CAA rules issued to improve the safety of offshore helicopter operations in the North Sea. The Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) expected the first batch of approved equipment to arrive soon after the UK CAA approved the system, which had not taken place as of early last month. Training will be based on a classroom session lasting a maximum of 90 minutes.
Bell Helicopter is applying systems designed for its 525 Relentless commercial medium twin to the V-280 Valor third-generation tiltrotor technology demonstrator it is developing for the U.S. Army as part of its Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Program for Future Vertical Lift (FVL).
The European Commission (EC) on July 9 officially launched the Clean Sky 2 joint technology initiative, a €4 billion ($5.44 billion) follow-on to the ongoing Clean Sky research program. It includes a number of projects for business aircraft–both turboprops and jets–as well as regional turboprops and rotorcraft.
Sikorsky expects the FAA to certify a higher mtow for its S-92 medium-twin helicopter this fall. The maximum allowable takeoff gross weight of the aircraft is being increased from 26,500 to 27,700 pounds, thus allowing operators to carry an additional 1,200 pounds of payload.
Genesys Aerosystems’ HeliSAS helicopter stability augmentation system (SAS) and autopilot received STC approval for retrofit installation in Robinson R44s. HeliSAS’s two-axis autopilot allows for heading and nav hold, as well as vertical speed and altitude hold. The system operates during all phases of flight so it can maintain or recover a neutral attitude automatically when the pilot releases the cyclic; the pilot resumes full control simply through normal cyclic handling.