China’s newest military helicopter made its first flight on December 23 at a location in “northeastern China,” a site presumed to be the Harbin facility. The aircraft, believed to be designated Z-20, is in the “10-tonne” class, and is thought to be a collaborative effort among Harbin, Changhe and the 602 Institute.
In an end-of-year statement, Russian Helicopters confirmed that the Mil Mi-28N Night Hunter attack helicopter has finally been accepted into service. The company also listed deliveries for 2013.
The Turbomeca/Avic Engine Ardiden 3C/WZ16 turboshaft made its first run at the French company’s test facility. The two companies are developing the new Ardiden derivative on a 50-50 basis. Certification by the Civil Aviation Administration of China is expected in September next year. The Ardiden 3C, understood to produce nearly 1,800 shp, features a modular design and dual-channel Fadec. It is to power the Avicopter AC352 medium twin, the Chinese counterpart of the Pratt & Whitney Canada-powered Eurocopter EC175.
ndia’s government has cancelled its $770 million contract with AgustaWestland to supply 12 AW101 VIP helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) amid bribery allegations. On January 1, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) issued a statement saying the government “has terminated with immediate effect the agreement…on the grounds of breach of the pre-contract integrity pact and the agreement” by AgustaWestland. The Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer denies the allegations.
The largest helicopter EMS provider in the U.S. is continuing its foray into the air-tour business. Air Methods has acquired Blue Hawaiian helicopters for an undisclosed sum. Blue Hawaiian flies a mixed fleet of 24 Eurocopter EC130s and AS350s and operates tours on five of Hawaii’s six islands. Last year it posted revenues of $47 million.
Russian Helicopters announced that the third prototype of the Mi-38 heavy twin, and the first fitted with Klimov TV7-117V engines, made its maiden flight on November 29 at the Mil Moscow helicopter plant. The helicopter’s new Fadec-controlled turboshaft engine outputs 2,800 shp at takeoff and up to 3,750 shp in “emergency power.”
The Eurocopter EC135 light twin that crashed into a busy pub on November 29 in Glasgow, Scotland, was intact when it hit the roof, but neither the main rotor nor the fenestron tail rotor were rotating at that time, the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch preliminary report reveals. The helicopter had been flying for one hour and 33 minutes when the pilot requested clearance to return to Glasgow City Heliport. No further radio transmission was received.
UK Royal Air Force (RAF) crews have begun training on the Eurocopter Puma Mk 2, although the two squadrons will not be cleared for service until 2015. Under a contract signed in 2009, Eurocopter is upgrading 24 of the 40-year-old helicopters with new engines, glass cockpits, digital autopilot and other improvements. Seven have been redelivered to date.
India’s twice-bid reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter (RSH) competition has been delayed again. An oversight committee is now scrutinizing the latest bids to inquire into allegations of improper conduct by an army officer during flight trials of the finalists. The Kamov Ka-226T and Eurocopter AS550C3 Fennec are competing for an Army and Air Force requirement for 197 helicopters.
Russian Helicopters has delivered an Mi-26T to Kazakhstan’s Emergencies Ministry. It is the first of the type–capable of carrying a 44,000-pound payload–to enter service in the country. The helicopter was delivered after an overhaul and modifications at a repair facility in Novosibirsk, Russia. Kazakhstan has commissioned Russian Helicopters to overhaul and modify two Mi-26 military helicopters, which had previously been in storage for 20 years. They will be used for diverse operations, including fire fighting and evacuations, the manufacturer said.