Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca, a Safran company, delivered 984 engines last year and repaired an additional 1,499, resulting in an 8-percent increase in revenues over 2012, chairman and CEO Olivier Andriès reported yesterday at Heli-Expo. He singled out the agreement to supply Arrius 2R engines for Bell Helicopter’s 505 Jet Ranger X, announced at last year’s Paris Air Show, as a milestone for both companies, and an indication of growth to come. “In 75 years of history, the two leading companies the helicopter world had never, ever partnered before.”
An expert panel of senior Russian rotorcraft executives pointed to forecast surging demand for small and medium helicopters in their market between now and 2018. During the seventh annual “Russian Hour” here at Heli-Expo, Russia’s Helicopter Industry Association pointed to large structural changes under way in both the number and the make-up of the nation’s helicopter market, one that for the moment that continues to be dominated by heavy helicopters.
Sometimes it’s the personal touch that makes the difference. Sergei Sikorsky, retired vice president of special products for Sikorsky Helicopters (Booth No. 2822) and son of the company’s namesake, Igor Sikorsky, presented an informative history of the search-and-rescue pedigree of vertical lift aircraft during Heli-Expo 2014.
“In December 1938 Igor Sikorsky presented the case to United Aircraft to develop the helicopter,” said Sikorsky. “He told United that, when developed, the helicopter would prove to be a unique instrument for saving human lives,” he continued.
Gyronimo’s Performance Pad iPad app combines weight-and-balance and performance calculations to help pilots quickly and accurately plan flights without any tedious paperwork.
In the military segment, while clearly concerned with continuing budget constraints, Sikorsky expects to achieve two milestones this year with the first flights of the CH-53K, the latest version of its heavy-lift military transport, and the S-97 Raider.
MD Helicopters unveiled its new MD 530G armed aerial scout helicopter yesterday at Heli-Expo. It also revealed that it is already flying the new model and plans to have it certified in the second quarter, with deliveries slated for the third quarter. The company is now taking orders for the $4- to $5 million single-engine helicopter, which will come standard with Moog’s new weapons system platform.
Bell Helicopter has unveiled three refined mock-ups of its new, five-seat “short light single” (SLS) helicopter and officially named the new helicopter the “505 Jet Ranger X.” Bell previewed the SLS concept with an announcement and renderings at the 2013 Paris Air Show.
Lease Corporation International (LCI) of Dublin, Ireland, announced signing orders for helicopters here at Heli-Expo 2014 worth almost $1 billion: the orders include a contract with AgustaWestland for as many as 18 helicopters valued at more than $280 million and a contract with Airbus Helicopters for as many as 21 new rotorcraft valued at some $645 million. Adding up the new orders and others since its launch in 2012, LCI has ordered more than $1.3 billion worth of rotorcraft.
New Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury and the head of its U.S. arm, Marc Paganini, were visibly penitent when discussing the company’s traditionally problematic customer service at today’s annual company press breakfast here at Heli-Expo. Faury left no doubt that he is committed to focusing more company resources and attention on product support. “It is time for new priorities,” he said. Paganini echoed that sentiment, admitting, “We need to do better.”
New models, new orders and of course, deliveries are what the excitement is all about at Heli-Expo 2014. MD Helicopters (Booth No. 6922) could celebrate a little of all that this week. Company CEO Lynn Tilton unveiled not just the existence of its new MD 530G armed aerial scout helicopter, but that it is flying and on the fast track to completion in the second quarter, with deliveries slated for the third quarter. The company is now taking orders for the $4- $5 million single-engine helicopter.