Turbomeca is pressing ahead with a radical design for a new generation of helicopter engines to deliver a quantum leap in operational efficiency. “If we do not shoot for a 30- to 50-percent improvement in fuel burn for 20 to 30 years from now, the helicopter will be no more than an airshow attraction and will no longer be a business tool,” the French company’s president Pierre Fabre told AIN.
Eurocopter has signed a new agreement on production working time with four of five unions represented at the company in France. The main goal is to adapt to higher production rates, while making provisions for possible ramp-downs. Due to numerous different arrangements in the previous agreement, there are only 4.5 hours per day when all production employees are gathered around the line.
They’ve done it with the Chinook, now they’re doing it with the Apache. Boeing expects that the AH-64 production line will still be running in 2040, thanks to a strategy that offers a continuing series of upgrades that can be efficiently incorporated on a single production line that recycles used aircraft as well as producing new ones.
Last month Sikorsky displayed a mock-up of a possible X2 Light Tactical Helicopter
(LTH) design at the Army Aviation Association of America annual convention. The mockup reflects Sikorsky’s military concept for the X2 compound helicopter research vehicle, currently in flight test. Sikorsky hopes to set a new helicopter speed record
Columbia Helicopters has dispatched one of its Boeing 234 Chinook tandem-rotor helicopters to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula to assist with wildfire suppression. The helicopter is based in Cancun on a 30-day contract in partnership with Vertical Aviation of San Antonio and Scala Helicopters in Mexico City. It is Columbia’s first firefighting assignment in Mexico.
The Italian Army confirmed that it is buying 16 Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters in a co-production deal with AgustaWestland that is worth approximately $1.23 billion. This is the first international sale of the CH-47F, a major upgrade to the evergreen Chinook that is already in service with the U.S. Army.
he Obama Administration’s proposed Fiscal Year 2010 defense budget ends funding for the controversial Presidential helicopter replacement program, the cost of which had ballooned to $13 billion for 28 VH-71 Kestrels. The VH-71 was based on a highly modified version of the three-engine AgustaWestland EH101, with Lockheed Martin serving as the prime contractor and system integrator and Bell as a maintenance subcontractor.
Eurocopter last month announced the acquisition of 80 percent of the shares in Japan-based distributor Euroheli, bringing the helicopter manufacturer’s stake to 90 percent. The organization has subsequently been merged with subsidiary Eurocopter Japan. Itochu, the former majority shareholder, keeps 10 percent of the company’s shares. Stéphane Ginoux, CEO of Eurocopter Japan, retains that position at Euroheli.
American Eurocopter has signed the first long-term commercial customer for the full-motion EC 135/EC 145 training device at its Grand Prairie, Texas campus. Stat MedEvac will use the simulator to train EC 135 and EC 145 air medical service crews operating in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and the District of Columbia. The U.S. Army began using the simulator last December to train crews for the UH-72A Lakota, an EC 145 variant.
Last year, Metro Aviation put more than $250,000 into a panel truck interior that exactly matches the medical interior that the Shreveport, La. helicopter maintenance, modification and interiors specialist offers in the Eurocopter EC 145.
The idea was to create not a reasonable facsimile, but “an exact, working duplicate EC 145 medical interior,” down to the cabin interior shell and panels obtained from the helicopter manufacturer.