In a choreographed display of lights and music, Bell Helicopter unveiled three refined mock-ups of its new, five-seat “short light single” (SLS) helicopter–now officially renamed the “505 Jet Ranger X”–this morning at Heli-Expo in Anaheim, Calif. The company previewed the SLS concept with an announcement and renderings last year at the Paris Air Show.
Lease Corporation International (LCI) of Dublin, Ireland, inked a contract today at Heli-Expo 2014 with AgustaWestland for as many as 18 helicopters worth more than $280 million. The order includes up to 14 AW139 intermediate helicopters and up to four twin-engine AW189s. The helicopters will be delivered from 2014 through 2018, if all options are exercised.
Aviation industry data provider JetNet released its year-end statistics for the pre-owned helicopter market, which shows that retail sales for used turbine and piston rotorcraft experienced double-digit year-over-year declines of 11.8 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively, in 2013.
Turbine helicopters saw an 11.4-percent increase in the number listed for sale year-over-year, with the percentage of the available in-service fleet increasing from 6.1 percent to 6.4 percent, while the average number of days on market declined by 18 days over the previous year, to 414.
Finding new life for military surplus helicopters is the ultimate in recycling, and Portland, Ore.-based Columbia Helicopters (Booth No. 4706) has everything it needs to recycle the three rugged Boeing CH-47D Chinooks it purchased recently from the U.S. government.
At Heli-Expo 2014 Kaman Aerospace Group (Booth No. 4922) announced that it is expanding its reach. The OEM supplier of helicopters, rotor blades and rotary-wing UAVs and other aerospace components has opened new offices at Clemson University’s graduate campus in Charleston, S.C. The plan is to recruit talent and put a team of Kaman engineers at the nearby Boeing facility in North Charleston. The team is part of the company’s participation in the stress analysis work on Boeing 787 Dreamliner production.
Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca (Booth No. 2814) is exhibiting a mockup of its Arrius 2R for the Bell SLS and has a variety of ongoing developments. The company is also considering the launch of a new family of turboshafts to power medium-heavy to heavy rotorcraft. Meanwhile, deliveries are on a downward curve.
A Sikorsky RH-4 made the first documented rescue by helicopter on Nov. 29, 1945, so it’s not surprising that Sikorsky sponsors the HAI Humanitarian Award. This year’s award goes to the Gander, Newfoundland-based flight crew of a Royal Canadian Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter for a successful rescue accomplished under extreme weather conditions on Feb. 9, 2013.
Elan Head, recipient of the Helicopter Association International’s 2014 Excellence in Communications Award, had her first helicopter ride in a Bell JetRanger in 2004, while working on a story about a high-end fishing lodge in British Columbia. “It was hands-down the coolest thing I’d ever done,” she told AIN.
Among the many services that Rotor F/X offers from its Van Nuys, Calif., headquarters, the company’s helicopter shipping service is probably of most interest for Heli-Expo attendees. Rotor F/X (Booth No. 3105) also provides helicopter and fixed-wing flight training, helicopter maintenance, air tours, aerial photography and even assembly of kit helicopters such as the Mosquito ultralight and other kit-built rotorcraft.
As part of its efforts to provide a more holistic approach to product support, AgustaWestland will this week introduce its new Leonardo customer portal. “This tool will link customers at every level to the company,” said AgustaWestland CEO Daniele Romiti.