AgustaWestland and Honeywell have introduced a new “Phase 7” version of the Primus Epic avionics suite for the AW139 rotorcraft. The upgrade, which will be available soon for new-build aircraft as well as for retrofit, marks a step-change in the manufacturer’s approach to developing the cockpits of its growing family of aircraft.
AgustaWestland has stepped up its product portfolio with the unveiling earlier this week of its New Generation Helicopter Family, consisting of the existing A109 Grand New and AW139 flagships and the in-development AW169 and AW189 models.
The strategy is clear. AgustaWestland wants to give operators options to build their fleet through the different weight classes it will soon cover.
FOCUS on…LAW ENFORCEMENT This year at Heli-Expo there were plenty of examples of helicopters dressed up with law enforcement credentials of every flavor, but it took a keen eye to spot what was new equipment on these hard-working machines. For 2012, companies brought avionics, airborne computer location equipment, air-to-ground microwave receivers and sophisticated, high-power searchlights.
Lake Charles, La.-based Era Helicopters signed an order for seven Eurocopter EC135s today at Heli-Expo. With this purchase, Era’s fleet will include 17 EC135s. Era has one of the largest fleets of Eurocopter helicopters, ranging from the AS350 to the EC225. It is also the largest user of the EC135 in the Gulf of Mexico, where it uses the light twin for offshore oil missions.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. is to deliver a new S-92 helicopter to China Southern Airlines’ Zhuhai Helicopter Branch next week. This follows the delivery of two S-76s in December last year. The offshore utility aircraft will support expanding oil operations in the South China Sea.
Marignane, France-based Eurocopter (Booth No. 1917) turned its annual Heli-Expo press conference on Sunday into a 20th anniversary celebration.
Frasca International (Booth R71) has announced that the Korea Forest Service has “completed factory acceptance” of its Eurocopter AS350 B2 Ecureuil/AStar helicopter simulator, a U.S. FAA Level-7 flight training device.
The Urbana, Illinois-based training equipment manufacturer has supplied a 120- by 80-deg spherical visual display. The customized database includes eight scenarios covering forestry flying work and night-vision-goggle capability. A “mirror view” channel provides visual scenes in the mirror including water dump from the belly tank and sling bucket operations.
Evergreen International Aviation (Booth No. 4920) is looking to expand its roots. Evergreen began as a commercial helicopter service business in the 1960s but quickly grew into a diversified aviation company that included aircraft charter, salvage, and modification. The company also expanded into heavy-lift helicopters.
Speaking of the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract MD Helicopters signed last year, Lynn Tilton, CEO of Mesa, Arizona-based company, said, “That’s the highlight [of 2011], to serve those who serve for love of country. And it goes back to our roots of 1964, when Hughes Helicopter [predecessor of MD Helicopters] first won a military contract.” She made the comments at a Heli-Expo 2012 press conference in Dallas yesterday.
After a moment of silence in respect for members lost in the past year, Jim Kettles, vice president of the venerable Twirly Birds brought to order the association’s annual meeting. It’s tradition, he explained, for the Twirly Birds to convene their meeting during Heli-Expo.