Bell 206B, Auberry, Calif., Jan. 5, 2010–The JetRanger, registered to Palm Springs Aviation and operated by the California Department of Fish and Game, was on a deer surveying flight in VMC when witnesses saw it flying through a valley spanned by power lines. As the helicopter approached the vicinity of the lines it was seen to “rear back” and immediately descend.
Kaman Helicopters (Booth No. 2329) is reporting significant success applying Hontek erosion-protection blade coating to U.S. military helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan and sees a wider market for civil oil and gas-producing operators, particularly in the North Sea and the Middle East. Kaman is an approved applicator of the three-stage, urethane-type coating, which the company says is proving itself superior to protective blade tape.
Over the last year, Van Horn Aviation (Booth No. 3409) has introduced new tail-rotor blades for the Bell 206 and 206L models that the company says significantly reduce noise, pedal forces and maintenance requirements and have a higher life limit than OEM blades. The new 206L tail-rotor blades received an FAA STC on February 8.
Gary Driggers, vice president of Midcoast Aviation, retired at the end of last year after more than 20 years with the company. Driggers began flying when he joined the Army in 1965 and went into the warrant officer candidate program to fly helicopters.
Garmin unveiled the G500H glass avionics system and a terrain awareness and warning system (Taws) for the helicopter market just before Heli-Expo last month.
The trend toward “plug and play” replacement of legacy electromechanical instrumentation with electronic glass displays continues into the rotorcraft market with an STC won by Aspen Avionics authorizing installation of its EFD1000H flight display system in Bell 206 and 407 panels. A full-function simulator at the Aspen booth (No. 2304) demonstrates the system’s versatility, ease of installation and user-friendly pilot-machine interface.
“Even something as simple as sand ingestion can easily reduce an engine’s time between overhauls by 50 percent or more,” said Bob Stenberg, business development director for Donaldson (Booth No. 2847). The company specializes in the design and development of filtration systems and has recently received an FAA STC for an inlet barrier filter (IBF) system for the Bell 430.
New technology is a main focus of Eurocopter at Heli-Expo 2010. At its booth (No. 3128) the company is showing rotor blade technologies designed to reduce noise and vibration, and an avionics technology that promises to improve pilot situational awareness and safety.
Jetnet is featuring its new market “Views,” at-a-glance summaries of market and aircraft information for its subscribers, at Booth No. 3017. Each View is a summary page that gathers data points from throughout Jetnet’s flagship Evolution service and compiles them into a single screen of organized lists, graphs, photos and tables for easy assessment of marketplace status and trends.
There are surprisingly active developments in the single-engine helicopter field, with new rotorcraft on the way such as the turbine-powered Robinson R66 and Sikorsky S-434. Kit manufacturer RotorWay is even coming to market with a planned certified turbine helicopter, the 300T Eagle, announced at last year’s EAA AirVenture show. The Russian Helicopters Mi-34S2 Sapsan will also offer turbine power.