The twin-engine Eurocopter EC 135 helicopter, well established in the emergency medical services and law enforcement sectors, is gaining greater acceptance as an executive aircraft, with about 100 delivered to this market, according to the manufacturer. Here at EBACE, Eurocopter (Booth No. 7513) is showing one of these aircraft, OE-XFB–owned by The Flying Bulls of Austria.
Helicopter Support has received certification from American Eurocopter to support the AS 350, AS 355, EC 120 and BO 105. A wholly owned subsidiary of Sikorsky, Helicopter Support is based at Tweed New Haven Airport in Connecticut. It provides parts and services.
Sikorsky last month opened a 25,000-sq-ft Design Engineering Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Workers at the center will conduct dynamic systems design and avionics integration. According to Mark Miller, Sikorsky vice president for engineering, work at this facility will initially support the military CH-53K heavy-lift program. The facility will also support Sikorsky’s future growth needs.
In late March Eurocopter inaugurated the new Eurocopter España plant in Albacete, in east central Spain. The new plant will produce the rear fuselage sections–made from composite materials–of the EC 135. The plant will also house the final assembly line for EC 135s destined for the Spanish market, and it is involved in several Eurocopter military programs. The site provides 355,000 sq ft of covered production facilities.
FAA certification of the Bell 210, a single-turbine medium helicopter derived from the military UH-1H Huey, could happen this month, Bell CEO Mike Redenbaugh said at the Paris Air Show this week. “Our flight testing is complete, FAA pilots have flown the helicopter and now we’re just waiting for approval of the paperwork,” he added.
Eurocopter has developed its own concept of a modular helicopter to meet what it believes are the security requirements of the new generation of EU members. A basic “green” version is equipped with mission packs for one of a wide range of airborne tasks.
L-3 Communications Integrated Systems has won the contract for a head-of-state widebody executive/VIP interior. A spokesman declined to reveal the name of the customer or the aircraft type, but said work has already begun on some of the interior components. The airplane is scheduled to arrive at the company’s Texas State Technical College Airport facilities in Waco early next year.
AgustaWestland recently disclosed it is moving production of the A119 Koala single-engine helicopter from Italy to Philadelphia. Flanked by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell and local politicians, company officials broke ground on March 2 on a manufacturing and final assembly plant at Northeast Philadelphia Airport, where about 20 Koalas will be built each year.
While the S-76 and S-92 will remain Sikorsky’s bread and butter for some time to come, the company is also launching a new age of vertical lift technology, which it is calling the X2.
Sikorsky announced the X2 program at Heli-Expo 2006, claiming its clean-sheet airframe design and counter-rotating blades would allow the helicopter to reach speeds of 250 knots or more while retaining true helicopter heavy-lift capability.
Air Methods will be working with Mayo Clinic Medical Transport of Rochester, Minn., to provide interior completion services for the clinic’s new Eurocopter EC 145.