Prime Fraction Club, whose members buy shares in high-end boats and automobiles as well as aircraft, has added a new six-passenger AgustaWestland AW109 Grand to its fleet, which now features 10 helicopters. The pricing structure for the fractional ownership program offers one-quarter shares in an AW109S Grand at a buy-in cost of R$3.56 million ($1.55 million), in addition to a fixed monthly fee of R$34,724 ($15,074) for maintenance, hangar space and other costs.
The Robinson Helicopter fleet in service in Brazil is the largest of any country in Latin America, according to the manufacturer’s Brazilian distributor, Audi Helicópteros. Audi is at LABACE 2013 (Chalet 6102) well positioned to take advantage of the growing popularity of rotorcraft in this part of the world.
With a chalet immediately adjacent to the main entrance, Audi has one of each of Robinson’s most popular aircraft on prominent display: the five-seat, turbine-powered R66; the four-seat piston-powered R44; and the two-seat piston-powered R22.
A Robinson R66 single-turbine helicopter crashed on July 30 approximately 20 miles west of Scranton, Pa., killing all five people aboard. The purpose of the flight between Tri-Cities Airport (KCZG) in Endicott, N.Y., and Jake Arner Memorial Airport (22N) in Lehighton, Pa., has not been described. Fort Meade, Md.-based Monumental Helicopters was operating the aircraft. The company provides aerial tours, fundraising, aerial photography and flight training.
Canadian officials approved certification of Robinson’s turbine single May 31, accepting the U.S. FAA’s equivalent level of safety (ELOS) finding that exempts the helicopter from being equipped with redundant hydraulics. The FAA granted the ELOS in February. Currently 13 N-registered R66s operate in Canada and another 13 are on order for customers there. Almost 400 R66s are operating worldwide.
John Garrison, president and CEO of Bell Helicopter, announced yesterday morning at the Paris Air Show that it is developing a new “short, light single” (SLS) helicopter that will be powered by a Turbomeca Arrius 2R turboshaft engine. The new, “clean sheet” aircraft, which Garrison said is expected to fly next year, will be the first Bell helicopter to be powered by a Turbomeca engine. Certification of the new helicopter will take place “as quickly as possible” after the first flight.
Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee has granted approval to the Robinson R66 turbine single, clearing the way for deliveries there. Russian customers have ordered nearly 50 copies of the model.
This year’s Heli-Expo continued the show’s record run, exceeding the number of attendees at the Helicopter Association International’s annual convention for the sixth year in a row. The final numbers included 20,393 attendees, 60 helicopters and 736 exhibitors, according to HAI president Matt Zuccaro.
Robinson Helicopter revealed its intention to obtain approval to operate its R44 and R22 piston-engine helicopters on unleaded fuel this week at Heli-Expo. According to Robinson CEO Kurt Robinson, engine maker Lycoming needs to obtain FAA approval to burn unleaded fuels in its engines while Robinson must perform airframe testing with the fuels on board for each of its relevant helicopter models.
Robinson Helicopter announced Tuesday at Heli-Expo that it is working with Lycoming and the FAA to have unleaded fuels approved for use in piston engines installed in its R22 and R44 models.
CEO Kurt Robinson said the FAA had issued the company a project code for the effort and made it a priority. He said he hoped to have all the necessary approvals from engine maker Lycoming in the first half of this year. “It’s environmentally the right thing to do and it bothers me that it hasn’t been done,” Robinson said.
The aircraft modification segment of Butler National’s wholly owned subsidiary Avcon (Booth No. C3004) is exhibiting at Heli-Expo for the first time. Avcon is armed with a novel concept design for a skid-mount portable system for Lidar system operations in rotorcraft. Avcon modifies business and cargo aircraft, both fixed-wing and rotorcraft, in Newton, Kansas, and provides many FAA-approved solutions to a variety of operators.