A Eurocopter BK117 operated as an emergency medical service (EMS) flight by Air Methods crashed into a farmer’s field near Compton, Ill., at about 8 p.m. on December 11. The three people on board–the pilot and two flight nurses–were killed. There were no patients on board at the time of the accident. The crash occurred shortly after the pilot radioed he was returning to base due to poor weather where light snow had been reported. The helicopter was registered to Rockford Memorial Hospital, located 90 miles northwest of Chicago.
Boeing said on December 13 that it demonstrated an unmanned Little Bird helicopter for the Republic of Korea Army. The MD 500 variant flew for about 25 minutes at the army’s aviation school in Nonsan, South Korea.
The 2006 goal of the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) was bold: reduce helicopter accidents by 80 percent by 2016. Unfortunately, rotorcraft accident numbers have not dropped as precipitously as those of commercial transport aircraft.
“We are not finding new ways to kill people in helicopters,” an IHST representative told AIN. “We are making the same mistakes over and over again.”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is investigating the cause of a December 5 helicopter accident in Central Alberta that claimed the life of the pilot. The Robinson R44 came down in a heavily wooded area eight miles southwest of the town of Slave Lake, some 150 miles northwest of Edmonton. The crash site was so densely forested that rescuers had to cut a landing pad into a nearby hillside to reach the wreckage.
Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland has received $74 million from the UK Government Regional Growth Fund to help develop the AW609 civil tiltrotor and future tiltrotor designs. AW said it will work with the National Composites Centre, the University of Liverpool and key UK suppliers on the program. The tiltrotor is slated for certification in 2016. AgustaWestland said it would contribute more than $87 million to the program.
Associated Aircraft Group (AAG) has earned IS-BAO (International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations) Stage 1 certification, indicating that the company’s safety management system has been documented, approved and resourced. It is implemented at the time of the audit. AAG provides helicopter and fixed-wing charter flights, fractional ownership programs and helicopter maintenance services from Teterboro, New York and Philadelphia. The Sikorsky subsidiary lays claim to operating the Northeast’s largest fleet of S-76C medium twins.
Avincis is the new name for World Helicopters, a firm that combined the Bond Aviation Group with Inaer when it took over the former last spring. The group, owned by KKR and Investindustrial, operates 400 aircraft, 350 of them helicopters.
Five years after the collapse of the Helicopter Association of Australia (HAA), the Australian helicopter industry is working on creating a new lobbying association. The current objective is to launch the Australian Helicopter Industry Association (AHIA) at the Avalon Air Show 2013, which will open on February 26. The helicopter industry Down Under is now growing at an annual rate of 11.4 percent.
The Maryland State Police unveiled the first of 10 new AgustaWestland AW139 medium twin-engine helicopters it will receive to replace its aging fleet of 11 Eurocopter AS365N Dauphins. The AW139s will be equipped with search-and-rescue, medical and law enforcement equipment as well as a full IFR avionics suite and safety-enhancing equipment such as H-Taws, night-vision-goggle compatibility, radar altimeters, satellite tracking, live video downlink, and cockpit voice and video recorders. The AW139s can perform hoist lifts while operating on a single engine.
Operations of the latest version of Eurocopter’s ubiquitous light single, the AS350B3e Ecureuil/AStar, have been affected by an emergency service bulletin and accompanying emergency airworthiness directive (AD).
Under the restrictions, the helicopter’s true airspeed is limited to 100 knots to reduce dynamic loads on the tail rotor. In addition, repetitive inspections must be conducted, with maximum intervals of three flight hours, on the laminated half-bearings.