Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW210 turboshaft has been selected to power the Eurocopter X4 medium twin, which is slated to replace the AS365/EC155 Dauphin series. Entry into service is pegged for 2017. The PW210S, a variant produced for the Sikorsky S-76D medium twin, was certified in 2011. AIN understands the X4 will be offered with two engine options, the other choice coming from Turbomeca.
The FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive for the Bell 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3 and 206L-4 prompted by two accidents in which investigations revealed a main rotor blade failed because of fatigue cracking. Transport Canada advises there is no reliable inspection method to detect the cracks before blade failure and has reduced the life limit from 3,600 to 1,400 hours’ time-in-service.
The two K-Max unmanned helicopters deployed to Afghanistan late last year by the U.S. Marine Corps are performing well, according to contractor Lockheed Martin. The unmanned K-Max carries underslung loads, and was developed from the Kaman Aerospace intermeshing-rotor design intended for piloted forestry and firefighting work.
Bell Helicopter opened a new office in New Delhi today for all of its operations in India. The company has had a presence in India for nearly 20 years, opening a liaison office in 1995. There are currently more than 100 Bell helicopters operating throughout India, it noted.
“We believe there are tremendous growth opportunities in terms of sales and manufacturing [in India],” said Bell president and CEO John Garrison. “This is an important day for Bell Helicopter as we celebrate our continued commitment and partnership with our customers in India.”
Eurocopter Japan held an opening ceremony earlier this week for its $50 million facility at Kobe Airport. The opening marks a 50-year relationship between Eurocopter and Japan that began with the introduction of the Alouette II. It also marks the merger of Eurocopter Japan T&E, a provider of maintenance, repair, overhaul and engineering services, into Eurocopter Japan, which was established in 2009 to handle sales, training, logistics and technical support.
The FAA is proposing to adopt a new airworthiness directive for Eurocopter France SA365N, SA365N1, SA366G1, AS365N2, AS365N3, EC155B and EC155B1 helicopters. It was prompted by the discovery of a cracked main-rotor mast nut that, if not replaced, could lead to complete failure of the mast nut, failure of the rotor mast and loss of control of the helicopter. The proposed AD would require replacing the main-rotor mast nut with an airworthy main-rotor mast nut.
The field of companies offering armed scout helicopters to the U.S. Army and other militaries has grown with the addition of MD Helicopters, which is proposing the MD 540F, an upgrade of its MD 530F light helicopter, equipped with a weapons management system from Israel’s Elbit Systems. The offering is based on the same airframe MD Helicopters supplies to Boeing for the AH-6i, which is also a competitor for the Army’s armed aerial scout (AAS) program.
Eurocopter expects to ramp up production of the EC225 medium twin and AS350 Ecureuil light single by 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively, at its Marignane, France factory. For “better reactivity,” it has signed an agreement with Segula Technologies to take over the latter’s “structure assembly” activity in the neighboring city of Aix-en-Provence.
Composite Technology, a Sikorsky Aerospace Services company based at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, has opened a $15 million structure to dynamically balance helicopter main rotor blades. It can test main rotor blades that rotate either clockwise or counterclockwise, and its two 3,000-shp, variable-frequency drive motors make it suitable for light to heavy helicopters. A test involves three blades: a precision-balanced master blade and two test blades. One blade can weigh up to 500 pounds.
The Japan Coast Guard has ordered four Sikorsky S-76Ds, which will replace “several helicopters that were damaged in the tsunami of 2011,” the manufacturer said. The Japan Coast Guard had been a long-time user of the S-76C, C+ and C++. Sikorsky has also received an order for one S-76D from Swiss-based Air Engiadina. It will be operated in the UK or Switzerland for VIP and other passenger flights. Delivery is scheduled for next year.