The Sikorsky S-76D medium-twin helicopter is progressing toward certification, although this goal has been moved to the right once again. Aircraft certification is now expected in October, at least four months later than the previous estimate.
The Eurocopter X3 arrived in the U.S. today for a month-long tour to demonstrate the high-speed hybrid helicopter’s “unique operational capabilities” for both civil and military operators. It was transported from Eurocopter’s Istres, France flight test center to American Eurocopter in Grand Prairie, Texas, aboard a chartered cargo jet. The X3’s five-city U.S. tour will start on June 20 in Grand Prairie. In addition to aerial demonstrations performed with Eurocopter’s test team, the X3 will be available for flight evaluations by selected U.S.
Kim Smith, representing the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST), said the group, “wants to reduce helicopter accidents 80 percent by 2016.” IHST released a sub-committee report last week, calling on the entire helicopter industry for help in achieving this goal. After analyzing 523 accidents that occurred in 2000, 2001 and 2006, IHST found that single-engine turbine helicopters accounted for half the accidents analyzed, while multi-engine turbines represented another 10 percent. The remainder were piston-powered rotorcraft.
Eurocopter has announced new business for EC145 and EC725 helicopters in recent weeks from Indonesia and Kazakhstan. They involve cooperative deals with local aerospace companies that Eurocopter hopes will enhance the company’s future sales growth in southeast Asia and central Asia.
Bell Helicopter signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) this week to open an authorized flight training school in China. The Fort Worth, Texas-based helicopter manufacturer will partner with Guanchen Aviation, which already manages an established Civil Aviation Administration of China-approved flight training school in Anyang, China.
The Bell 427 is the subject of a new FAA airworthiness directive requiring replacement of certain tailboom attachment hardware and at certain intervals determining the torque of the attachment hardware. It was prompted by a review of the tailboom attachment installation that revealed the torque value of the bolts specified in the maintenance manual, and applied during manufacturing, was incorrect and exceeded the recommended torque range.
At the delivery of its first Eurocopter EC225s from an initial contract for four, Brazil’s Omni Helicopter International placed an order for six more. They will be operated in oil and gas missions. Deliveries will be spread until 2015.
Pilots at the offshore helicopter transport company ratified a three-year deal that provides for 4 percent annual wage increases retroactive to March 26, 2012. The new contract covers 235 helicopter pilots flying in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.
Russian Helicopters is redeveloping the Kazan Ansat light twin with conventional flight controls, rather than the fly-by-wire (FBW) system with which it has been flying thus far in military applications. “No FBW civil helicopter had been certified before and no standard requirements existed,” Russian Helicopters explained. Certification is expected in the second half of this year.
The Eurocopter EC175 is making progress toward certification. Transport Canada has certified Pratt & Whitney Canada’s 1,775-shp PT6C-67E turboshaft. Meanwhile, the airframer has revealed the precise mtow for the helicopter: 16,535 pounds, for a useful load of 7,271 pounds. The radius of action, for two pilots and up to 16 passengers, is given as 135 nm (oil and gas configuration, JAR OPS 3, fuel reserves 30 minutes plus 10-percent contingency fuel, ISA conditions).