Industry analysts have been declaring China the “next big market” every year since the discussion came around to business aviation in China. Now, as an economic recovery appears to have begun, it seems China is finally fulfilling its promise, and based on activity at Heli-Expo 2011 in March, the helicopter industry is poised to take advantage of demand.
AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppi Orsi had reason to smile at Saturday night’s press conference, pointing out that the Milan-based manufacturer delivered 111 commercial helicopters in 2010 and the commercial order book showed an increase of 56 percent when compared with 2009.
China not only wants to be the world’s largest consumer of helicopters, it intends to be the largest producer. This is a lofty goal for a country that had less than 100 civil-use helicopters five years ago. Yet as early as 2000, executives who ran China’s state-owned aviation companies predicted that the country would be one of the foremost helicopter manufacturers by 2030.
Since almost one third of helicopter accidents with fatal casualties are caused by impact with obstacles and cables, developing and improving anti-collision systems against low-visibility obstacles is clearly a key objective for avionics specialists. Finmeccanica’s Selex Communications has had success with various military users of its laser obstacle avoidance and monitoring (LOAM) system since introducing it in 2000.
SkyTrac Briefing Daily on SkyWeb 3.0
SkyTrac Systems of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, is displaying the latest version of its satcom-based flight tracking and following software at Booth No. 3506. Technical briefings on the new features of SkyWeb V 3.0 are being presented daily in conference room 380A in the convention center from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Buying activity on the corporate side of the market has come to an abrupt and unwelcome stop at Sikorsky in the last six months as companies seek to conserve cash and ride out the economy’s troubles. Still, massive contracts for Sikorsky’s military helicopters are helping to keep the black ink flowing, even as some governments scale back spending.
Florida is a land with a reputation for competitions with contested results, and that tradition continued at HAI’s 2002 edition of its annual trade show and convention as two major rotorcraft makers debated over who has global domination of the vertical-takeoff flying machine market, while a third major player announced its plans for getting back into the game.
Robinson Helicopter dealers who attended yesterday’s press conference said they are ready to place orders for the turbine-powered R66 currently under development at the Torrance, Calif. company’s headquarters.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is generally seen as the next big market for the helicopter industry–OEMs, operators, training schools and maintenance operations alike. But can we expect the skies over China to be black with whirling blades any time soon?
A new scale of landing charges introduced at the beginning of April for users of London Heliport is aimed at containing demand for the riverside facility, which has an annual limit of 12,000 movements–effectively 6,000 landings–as well as helping its new owner recoup a “considerable” investment in the site.