The X3 compound helicopter demonstrator is to resume flights this month. Data analysis from the first two flight-test campaigns has prompted new questions, chief technology officer Jean-Michel Billig told AIN, and the launch of a third test campaign has been scheduled. The testing will explore the behavior of the main rotor at high speed. Some other goals relate to the Fadec and the link between rotor rpm and aircraft speed.
Agusta Westland Tilt Rotor Co. (AWTR) flew an AW609 (née BA609) tiltrotor at Arlington Municipal Airport yesterday. The company also provided an update on the program, which comes in the aftermath of AgustaWestland’s taking over full ownership of the 609 project when former partner Bell Helicopter relinquished its half last November.
AgustaWestland established AWTR to complete certification and bring the AW609 to market, with its U.S. headquarters based at AWTR’s new office-hangar complex at the airport.
Scott’s-Bell 47 (Booth No. 5309) will launch a Model 47 upgrade program here at Heli-Expo and is also developing composite replacement main rotor blades with IAC Ltd.
The upgrade gives customers the choice of having their existing Model 47 refurbished or purchasing a completed refurbished/upgraded 47G-2A (narrow body) or 47G-2A-1 directly from Scott’s.
The program covers all Lycoming-powered 47G helicopters. Included are new main rotor blades as well as a new instrument panel, new interior and Texas Helicopter STCs, such as No-Bar, Sprag, and Muffler.
Analyst Brian Foley predicts new and used helicopter sales will continue their upward trend. But he also said the purchase justification process will require more detailed research as various market segments exercise increasing cost scrutiny.
Some 40 helicopters winged their way into the Dallas Convention Center parking in the days just before Heli-Expo 2012 starts. To learn more about this, AIN talked with HAI director of flight ops Harold Summers and v-p of regulations Dave York.
Yesterday the FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (2012-02-51) that mandates the immediate replacement of main rotor blades on 697 Bell 206L, L-1, L-3 and L-4 helicopters after 1,400 hours, as opposed to the current 3,600-hour time in service limit, due to concerns about fatigue cracking. Special flight permits are prohibited under this EAD, effectively grounding hundreds of helicopters.
Eurocopter announced today that its 2011 revenues reached a record €5.4 billion ($7 billion), a 12-percent increase over the previous year. However, deliveries totaled 503 helicopters, short of the 527 handed over in 2010.
Last year, the manufacturer received net orders for 457 rotorcraft, prompting CEO Lutz Bertling to declare that the helicopter market has now recovered. He emphasized the low number of cancellations last year–only 15.
Sikorsky is now anticipating FAA certification of the S-434 light single for early next year, slightly later than the previous target date, which was this month. An improved Schweizer S-333, the S-434 sports a four-blade rotor, a new tail-rotor blade design, a structurally enhanced landing gear, a new trim system and an improved Kaflex driveshaft. The main rotor and its transmission come from the unmanned Fire Scout. The S-434 and the S-333 use the same Rolls-Royce 205-C20W turboshaft, which provides 320 shp.
The FAA has issued a final rule on an airworthiness directive for the Eurocopter EC 120B. It requires modifying the pilot cyclic control friction device by replacing a specified thrust washer with two thrust washers.