The pair of “low-observable” Sikorsky Black Hawks used in the raid by U.S. forces against terrorist Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani compound May 2 were kitted with a variety of stealth and radar-defeating features that had been in development since the 1970s, and maybe longer. The helicopters came to light after one had to be left behind and intentionally detonated after apparently clipping a compound wall and making a hard landing.
A pair of Columbia Vertol II tandem-rotor helicopters have been fighting record Texas wildfires at Alpine, Sonora and Brownwood. One aircraft joined the firefighting efforts on March 3 and a second was called in April 22. The Texas wildfires have consumed more than 1.4 million acres since January, with related smoke reaching major metropolitan areas.
Russian Helicopters postponed its offering of “ordinary shares and global depositary receipts” last month. Board member Andrei Reus said he believed “market participants will benefit from more time to reflect upon the true value and growth potential of the business.” When announced in April, the total size of the IPO was expected to exceed $500 million.
The French helicopter lobby, UFH, and a congressman from the wine-producing Burgundy region have voiced concerns about a recent law banning most crop-dusting activities on environmental grounds. The congressman is saying that, for one hectare (about 2.5 acres) of vineyard, a helicopter uses only 16 gallons of plant-care liquid, thanks to its pinpoint precision.
The European Union (EU) is trying to attract more small- and medium-size enterprises to participate in its long-running CleanSky joint technology program. With public funds available to back research-and-development work aimed at reducing the environmental impact of air transport, it hopes to spread such support beyond major aerospace firms.
Spain’s Inaer and UK-based Bond Aviation Group, two major helicopter operators in Europe, now have the same parent company–World Helicopters, a holding firm owned by Investindustrial and KKR. World Helicopters completed its acquisition of Bond this week.
Bell Helicopter made the first flight of its OH-58 Block II demonstrator at its Xworx research and development facility in Fort Worth on April 14.
A bilateral project between NASA and German aerospace research center DLR is expected to focus on the role rotor tip vortices play in helicopter noise by recording vortex velocity fields and rotor-blade deformations by using a test stand with a variety of high-speed cameras, lasers and LEDs that will make the vortices visible. Eventually research will progress to actual helicopters.
Columbia Helicopters has broken ground at its Aurora, Ore. headquarters for the expansion of its T55 engine maintenance program. The building will include a T55-714 engine test cell to allow the MRO to provide complete engine overhaul and quick-turn-around service for troubleshooting and engine testing. Columbia has more than 26 years’ experience operating the Model 234, the civilian version of the CH-47 Chinook.
A call for proposal released for Europe’s main aerospace research project, the €1.6 billion ($2.2 billion) Clean Sky joint technology initiative, has highlighted a strong focus on electric systems for helicopters.