Piestany, Slovakia-based UTair Europe has announced “an expansion of its flight destinations and an increase in helicopter services” throughout Europe. It will thus build on momentum started by its two Mi-8Ts and two Mi-171s, which have been involved in a number of aerial work operations.
Avionics Innovations (Booth No. 1648) will provide its DMP-100NVG command communication product to AgustaWestland for use in its AW101 and Super Lynx 300 helicopters in high-noise environments. The night-vision-compatible version of Avionics Innovations’ DMP-100 cabin briefing system plays back pre-recorded versions of all necessary pilot commands, solving the problem of flight-deck noise overpowering pilots’ microphones.
Sikorsky’s futuristic X2 is up and flying, but it could be a decade before the technology is applied commercially, according to program manager Jim Kagdis.
Eurocopter has received an order for eight EC 135 P2i light twins from the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior. They will be delivered to the Bavarian police helicopter squadron between September next year and April 2010. The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206-powered helicopters will be approved for IFR and night-vision-goggle operations. The contract includes a letter of intent for power-by-the-hour service over at least 10 years.
The program to provide new VIP helicopters for the U.S. president has taken a step forward with first flight of an “operational pilot-production example” of the Lockheed Martin VH-71. The three-engine helicopter, which is based on the AgustaWestland AW101 (born as the European Helicopter Industries EH 101), had its maiden flight at the AgustaWestland factory in Yeovil, England, on September 23.
AgustaWestland (Booth No. 5408) is exhibiting an AW101 cabin mockup in an “ultra-luxury” version that the European company says is entirely befitting of the heaviest civil helicopter available in the Western world.
Operators of Mil helicopters meeting at Russia’s Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (UUAP) in late July heard how the Mil-171 led rescue operations for victims of the recent earthquake in China’s Sichuan province. Of the 137 Russian, Chinese, French and U.S. helicopters involved in the effort, 74 were Mi-171s, and these were responsible for rescuing more than 37,000 people (of a total of around 60,000).
American Eurocopter is adding 150 employees at its Golden Triangle plant in Mississippi over the next 18 to 24 months to support an increased production rate of the UH-72A Lakota, its EC 145 variant for the U.S. Army. Currently 176 employees work at the plant, which also assembles AS 350 AStars and provides support for U.S. Coast Guard AS 365 Dolphins.
AgustaWestland has announced that orders in the first half of this year have risen by 10 percent over the same period last year, to U1.62 billion ($2.5 billion). Meanwhile, the Anglo-Italian helicopter maker is creating a subsidiary company in Portugal, called AgustaWestland Portugal, to provide complete helicopter support services. Its first contract is to maintain the Portuguese Air Force’s 12 AW-101 transport helicopters.
Sikorsky has nearly finished building its X2 coaxial compound helicopter demonstrator in Elmira, N.Y. According to Jim Kagdis, Sikorsky’s manager of advanced programs, additional ground tests are needed, but first flight is “within arm’s reach.” He declined to provide a specific time period.