Just weeks after proclaiming its market dominance at HAI’s Heli-Expo 2002, Eurocopter took a hit in its sales column with the news that France and Germany have each decided to buy a smaller number of Eurocopter-built Tiger attack helicopters than had been previously announced.
In the latest development of a helicopter program that could best be described as “better late than never,” Indian state-owned aerospace builder Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has delivered its first Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) to the Indian Coast Guard nearly 10 years to the date after the design’s first flight in 1992 (design started eight years before).
Scandinavian countries are famous for going their own way and it seems only fitting that one of what was originally four nations participating in the Nordic Helicopter Program (NHP) did just that in selecting its new rotorcraft.
A Eurocopter EC 135 T2+ (N135UW) operated by Air Methods for the University of Wisconsin crashed Saturday night shortly after taking off VFR from La Crosse (Wis.) Municipal Airport (LSE). The pilot and two-man medical crew, the only occupants, were killed. An NTSB spokesman said the helicopter hit a ridgeline four miles southeast of LSE, with debris scattered over a tenth of a mile and up to 600 feet below the main wreckage.
After less than three years as a stand-alone company, MD Helicopters Inc. (MDHI) has doubled its workforce to more than 400 and expects revenues of at least $150 million this year.
A Boeing Vertol BV-107 operated by Columbia Helicopters of Portland, Ore., crashed in August during a maintenance check flight in southern Montana, killing all three men aboard. Dead are pilot Rich Hernandez, 37; copilot Santi Arovitx, 28; and crew chief Kip Krigbaum, 45. The big twin-rotor helo, a civil derivative of the military’s CH-46, went down for as yet unexplained reasons about 9:30 a.m.
Nobody beats the Russians when it comes to rotorcraft “bigness.” Mil unveiled the Mi-12 in 1971 and later hoisted a record-setting 44 tons to more than 7,000 ft with the massive (115-ton mtow) twin-rotor helo.
More recently, since its introduction in 1981, the Russian-made Mil Mi-26 has reigned supreme as the heaviest cargo-lifting production rotorcraft, routinely hoisting loads weighing up to 22 tons.
When it comes to selling helicopters for one of the leading helo makers, it’s difficult to find a job that Jeff Pino hasn’t done. In his 17 years with Bell, he was vice president of sales and marketing, executive director for Europe, director for Latin America and regional manager for South America.
MBB BO-105S, SPARTA, ILL., JUNE 8, 2002–N660SL, operated by Arch Air Medical, sustained substantial damage when a static line broke loose and hit the main rotor while hot refueling after landing at Hunter Field Airport (SAR).
As its civil Ansat light-twin helo nears Russian certification, Kazan helicopters has begun work on a military variant as part of a program funded by Russia’s defense ministry.