During its U.S. demonstration tour, the Eurocopter X3compound helicopter flew at no more than a company-imposed 220 knots, but as soon as it is back in Europe this fall it will fly “significantly faster,” CEO Lutz Bertling hinted during a press briefing in July. Eurocopter expects the X3will eventually break the 250-knot unofficial record the Sikorsky X2 set two years ago.
Bell Helicopter’s Aviation Service maintenance facility in Prague, Czech Republic, has received a Part 145 maintenance organization approval certificate from the Ukraine State Aviation Administration.
“The addition of a Ukrainian service offering enhances our ability to take care of our customers in Eastern Europe. Our mission is to make service expedient and efficient for them so their aircraft are ready to go when duty calls,” said Eric Cardinali, Bell Helicopter’s executive vice president of customer support and services.
The U.S. Marine Corps has extended the deployment of two K-Max unmanned helicopters used for cargo resupply missions in Afghanistan by six months, through March next year. The extension, announced on July 31, is the second this year and includes an option to extend the deployment through September next year.
Offshore oil and gas helicopter service provider Bristow has secured new contracts for 20 large aircraft that it expects will generate more than $2 billion in revenue. The deals are a combination of new contracts and extensions of current ones in Australia, Brazil and Europe for Sikorsky S-92s and Eurocopter EC225s.
Chinese domestic production of civil helicopters is set to grow, but not as quickly as the country’s authorities predict, according to a local market analyst. Matthieu Devoisselle, co-founder of Avia-Tek, a Shanghai-based aerospace consultancy firm specializing in emerging countries, regards government forecasts as unrealistic. But Chinese manufacturer Avicopter does have reason to be optimistic, he adds.
Russian Helicopters unveiled a full-size mockup of the reworked Kamov Ka-62 medium twin at the HeliRussia 2012 show in Moscow in May.
After nearly two months of record forest fires from Michigan to California, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) added four more leased heavy helicopters to its firefighting fleet in late June. The additions include two Sikorsky S-61s from Siller Helicopters, an Erickson S-64 Air-Crane and an S-70 from Firehawk Helicopters. A spokesman for Erickson said that last year the company had six helicopters flying USFS contracts; this year that number is eight. The USFS said the helicopters will be used for large-fire support and in the initial assault both to drop retardant and support ground crews.
Eurocopter’s subsidiary in the Southern Cone has formed a partnership with Servicios Aéreos de Los Andes and opened its first certified service center in Peru. The new center, based in the city of Ayacucho, will offer Eurocopter AS350B3 customers a maintenance center certified at the operational and intermediate (O&I) level.
The center will carry out inspections up to 600 flying hours and will replace small and large components, including gearboxes, blade and hub units, and electrical and avionics systems.
When Hawker Beechcraft announced on July 9 it was in negotiations that might result in its acquisition by Superior Aviation of Beijing, the most common response was, “Who?”
Superior Aviation is a Chinese aviation technology firm with a mission, according to Superior Aviation CEO Tim Archer, “to promote economic and industry development in the southern part of Beijing City.”
Preliminary Report: Turboprop Twin Collides with Communications Tower
Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90GT, June 22, 2012, near Morgantown, W.Va.–A Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90GT collided with a communications tower near Morgantown, W.Va. on June 22 in daylight VFR conditions. The aircraft shed its right wing, left horizontal stabilizer and left engine before hitting the ground. The King Air was in radar contact with Clarksburg Approach Control at the time of the accident. The 22,000-hour pilot, the only occupant, was killed.