While most people in aviation know Eurocopter builds a successful line of turbine helicopters, few probably know that the company’s Donauwörth, Germany facility produces more than two-thirds of all Airbus doors or that Eurocopter Deutschland is the prime door contractor for the A380 megaliner. In fact, Eurocopter Deutschland holds more than 30 active patents in the field of airplane door production.
East Alton, Ill.-based Premier Aircraft, a joint venture between Premier Air Center and Yankee Pacific Aerospace, has a launch customer for its Falcon 50-4 performance upgrade program.
The FAA has issued a special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB) to all Eurocopter BO 105 operators. A recent accident investigation showed that a field-approved anti-torque pedal cover box can limit the pilot’s input. The FAA therefore recommends the replacement of the field-approved cover box with an STC’d pedal safety kit.
At press time, FAA certification of the Bell 210, a single-turbine medium helicopter derived from the military UH-1H Huey, was imminent. Bell Helicopter begins with a refurbished UH-1H fuselage and adds Bell 212 dynamic components and an FAA-certified Honeywell T53-517B turboshaft engine. The result is a zero-time, commercial off-the-shelf helicopter with a useful load of 5,000 pounds.
At the end of last year, amid celebrations marking 40 years of flying police helicopters, the Hamburg police force took delivery of two new Eurocopter EC 135s to replace a pair of Bolkow BO 105s that had been flying with the city’s Police Helicopter Squadron for a quarter of a century.
When someone mentions the perils of “aging aircraft,” most people probably think about airplanes, usually large ones like the Aloha Airlines Boeing 737 that suffered a ripped-open fuselage in April 1988, or of wings folding on firefighting air tankers, as happened to a C-130A in Walker, Calif., and a P4Y-2 near Estes Park, Colo., both in 2002.
French turbine helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca, coming off a record production year in 2005, is at Heli-Expo’06 working to secure a beachhead in its “American Invasion” program, an effort designed to emphasize increased production capacity and support capabilities at Turbomeca USA.
Russia has created a unified United Aircraft Construction Corp. that consolidates aircraft companies Sukhoi, MiG, Ilyushin, Tupolev, Kazan, Komsomolsk, Nizhy Novgorod and Novosibirsk. Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree creating the joint stock corporation to develop, manufacture, sell, modernize, service and support civilian and military aircraft and related equipment.
AgustaWestland’s EH101 medium-lift submarine hunter is already in service with the British Royal Navy and the Italian navy and will soon enter service with the Japanese maritime self defense force, which plans to configure the helicopter for an airborne mine countermeasures platform.
Carson Helicopters Services and Sagem Avionics are teaming to install and certify a suite of digital avionics in the Sikorsky S-61, including a five-tube array of 10.4-inch flat-panel color displays. Further, the Carson S-61 upgrade will put new composite main rotor blades, a dual-channel AFCS and a solid-state air-data, attitude and heading system–both from Sagem–onto the venerable bird.