Lockheed Martin’s Pathfinder flight team began preparations this week to demonstrate the system to the U.S. Army in a developmental and limited-user evaluation. Pathfinder is a pilotage aid based on the M-TADS/PNVS used in the AH-64 Apache, but intended for cargo and utility aircraft. It gives pilots FLIR-based imagery on a helmet display for safer flight in reduced-vision environments, including brown-out conditions.
Eurocopter has successfully flown a production-capable testbed helicopter using fly-by-light systems to drive its primary flight controls. Known under the awkward cognomen of the active control technology demonstrator/flying helicopter simulator (ACT/FHS), the remarkable rotorcraft is a Eurocopter EC 135 airframe fitted with the new laser light control system.
Deliveries of the Eurocopter UH-72A (EC 145) Lakota to the U.S. Army are gathering pace since the first helicopter entered into service in November 2006. Last month the first operational unit received its first aircraft, and the second unit began accepting aircraft a few days ago.
Helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky (Hall 4 Stand F14) has nearly finished building its X2 coaxial compound helicopter demonstrator in Elmira, New York. Although additional ground tests are needed there, first flight is “within arm’s reach,” according to Jim Kagdis, Sikorsky’s manager of advanced programs. He would not commit to a specific time period, however. The X2 program is entirely funded by Sikorsky.
Motorflug Baden-Baden signed an agreement to be acquired by Eurocopter Deutschland. The German company specializes in helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul at bases in Baden-Baden, Rheinmünster and Schönhagen, near Berlin. The facility will become an integral part of Eurocopter’s service and support business and will complement Eurocopter’s maintenance, repair and overhaul capabilities in the civil helicopter market.
Abu Dhabi-based operator Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) has inked the first firm order for the “l’Hélicoptère par Hermès” version of the Eurocopter EC 135 light twin. The ?5.8 million ($9 million) helicopter features an exclusive cabin layout with the signature French firm’s canvas used to cover surfaces from floor to ceiling.
The European Commission (EC) has sent a formal complaint to the Spanish government regarding two framework agreements that open the door for Eurocopter to supply helicopters to the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
Northstar Aerospace (Hall 4 Stand C16b) recently won a value engineering achievement award from the U.S. Department of Defense for developing an innovative process to overhaul assembly covers for transmission housings used on the Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter. The process is intended to save money, while also boosting mission capability.
New from Saab Avitronics is the RIGS head-up display, which the company is developing to provide a cost-effective multipurpose display to aid pilots of both helicopters and light aircraft. RIGS was launched at last October’s National Business Aviation Association Convention, and made its debut in the defense world at Eurosatory last month.
AgustaWestland scored a big win last month with the sale of 12 new search-and-rescue (SAR)-configured EH 101 helicopters to the Portuguese government. In a deal valued at $313 million, Portugal voted to buy a fleet of the Anglo-Italian helicopters to replace its SAR fleet of Eurocopter Pumas. In winning the deal, AgustaWestland beat out an offer from Sikorsky for an equal number of its developing S-92 rotorcraft.