The FAA has released its long-awaited omnibus helicopter rule governing emergency medical services (EMS), Part 135 and Part 91 procedures, operations, training and testing and required equipment. The agency estimates that the new rule is expected to cost operators $311 million to implement over the next decade. It closely mirrors the FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) released in 2010.
Airbus Helicopters announced a newly signed contract and a slew of deliveries for AS350 series helicopters during Heli-Expo 2014.
Airbus Helicopters España CEO Francisco Verge got the contract signed last week to supply seven new helicopters to the Spanish traffic department and national police, for delivery between 2014 and 2016. The helicopters include four twin-engine AS355NP Ecureuils and three EC135s.
Advanced Helicopter Services (Booth No. 2715) announced at Heli-Expo 2014 that it has acquired Cascade Airframe Repair based at Boeing Field in Seattle and will add it to the list of its helicopter service companies in the Pacific northwest. Cascade is an Airbus Helicopters and MD Helicopters service center as well as an FAA-approved repair station.
Helicopter Association International launched a major new safety initiative, Land and Live, this afternoon at Heli-Expo in Anaheim, Calif.
Helicopter manufacturers are expected to deliver 4,800 to 5,500 new turbine-powered civilian models in the next five years, Honeywell predicts in its annual market forecast. “What the operators told us was that for the most part, far more operators plan on increasing their flight activity than those who reported they were going to cut back on flight operations,” Charles Park, Honeywell’s market analyst, told AIN. “The actual usage of the platforms should increase as well.”
HAI president Matt Zuccaro gave an upbeat assessment of the helicopter industry on the eve of Heli-Expo 2014. “Air tours are doing well, corporate operations have re-established themselves and offshore oil and gas work is very busy right now, so it’s a pretty positive picture,” he said. Nonetheless, the industry faces challenges including a potential shortage of pilots and mechanics.
“The younger generation has so many options,” said Zuccaro. “We’re starting a sales and marketing campaign to show them being a pilot or a mechanic is a good career path.”
Scott’s-Bell 47 selected the Sagem ICDS-8A glass cockpit suite as part of the standard avionics package for the new 47GT-6 helicopter. This selection is the latest in a series of developments geared at bringing the turbine-powered 47GT-6 closer to production.
San Francisco-based Macquarie Rotorcraft Leasing (MRL) purchased two Sikorsky S-92As for its growing fleet aimed at supporting operators in the oil-and-gas and search-and-rescue markets, the company announced today at Heli-Expo. The two S-92s will be leased back to Avincis subsidiary Bond Offshore Helicopters and will be delivered in the second quarter. MRL, a wholly owned subsidiary of Australia’s Macquarie Bank, also purchased two S-92As and two S-76Ds in November and recently added an additional S-76D and two other helicopters to its roster.
On February 20, the FAA issued a far-reaching final rule that will require helicopter operators, including air ambulance services, to abide by stricter flight rules and procedures that better prepare both pilots and helicopters for safer operations. Within 60 days, all operators will be required to use enhanced procedures for flying in challenging weather, at night, and when landing in remote locations.
Aero medical transport provider EagleMed has placed an order with Donaldson (Booth No. 1002) for 11 inlet barrier filter (IBF) systems for the Airbus Helicopters AS350. The systems helps shield engines from damage from contaminants such as dirt, dust, salt and sand, as well as provide cost savings by reducing the need for unscheduled engine inspections.