Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has found that the fatally injured pilot and sole occupant of a Gemini Helicopters Robinson R44 that crashed on Jan. 27, 2013, near Fox Creek, Alberta, after an in-flight break-up “was under the influence of alcohol” and made “inappropriate control inputs that caused the main rotor blade to make contact with the fuselage.” The TSB also noted the failure of the R44’s emergency locator transmitter in the final report.
The helicopter industry in Asia has taken a first step toward tackling unfavorable safety statistics in the region with the creation of the Asean helicopter safety team (AHEST). The new group, representing the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China, held its inaugural steering committee meeting last month. Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia hosted the gathering in Singapore, attended by 15 participants representing manufacturers, operators, regulators and customers.
The companies have walked away from an agreement announced last year to partner on a new 5,000-pound helicopter. They continue to operate the HeliVert joint venture that produces AW139s for the Russian and CIS markets.
For a minute, I think I am in the wrong place.
The Enstrom Helicopter headquarters I visited in Menominee, Mich., more than a decade ago was a ramshackle collection of small, rundown hangars and older low-ceiling buildings. The dated offices had furnishings stuck in the 1960s. There were plenty of empty parking spaces, few employees and the company was perennially beset by rumors of its impending demise.
Northeast State Community College (NeSCC) and Bell Helicopter Piney Flats have announced an educational collaboration to develop the next generation of aircraft technicians and aviation professionals. The collaboration is the foundation of a long-term strategy to promote advanced technical training throughout the region.
Sikorsky and Lord have completed the flight demonstration of a hub-mounted vibration suppressor (HMVS) intended to address crew fatigue and reduced equipment reliability caused by helicopter vibration. Eventually, the HMVS could be part of a larger system integrated into all Sikorsky helicopters.
The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team warned rotorcraft pilots to be extra cautious while flying next month because July typically sees more fatal accidents than any other month of the year, usually three or four accidents, representing approximately 13 percent of the annual total. The industry normally records approximately 20 fatal accidents during the rest of the year. The helicopter safety team believes the reasons for these July accidents vary, although the following three primary causes appear to stand out: collisions with wires or trees, mechanical problems and poor weather.
The FAA has extended the expiration date of the final rule requiring civil helicopter pilots to use the New York North Shore Helicopter Route when flying VFR along the north shore of Long Island. The current rule was scheduled to expire on August 6 this year but the FAA extended it for two more years to preserve the current operating environment while it determines whether use of the route should be permanently mandatory.
The North Sea Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) expects the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will approve a new emergency breathing system for helicopter passengers at the end of this month. The first batch of approved equipment is expected to arrive early next month, allowing training–both in classroom sessions and online–to begin in mid-July. Passengers on offshore flights in the North Sea will need to know how to inspect the equipment and conduct a buddy check.
Airbus Helicopters’ retired X3 compound helicopter demonstrator entered the Air and Space museum at Paris Le Bourget Airport today. The airframe had reached its life limit, as it was previously a prototype AS365 Dauphin used for high-speed evaluations before it was fitted with two side-mounted propellers and a modified tail in 2010 to become the X3. The X3 set an unofficial speed record of 255 knots a year ago, but no follow-on program has since been announced by Airbus Helicopters.