The U.S. Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate selected Bell Helicopter Textron, a Boeing-Sikorsky team and AVX Aircraft among contractors invited to participate in the joint multi-role technology demonstrator (JMR-TD) program with new rotorcraft designs, the companies confirmed. They expect the Army will award JMR-TD contracts by September. The first demonstrator flights are planned in 2017.
Helicopter broker Heli Asset has sold the first Eurocopter EC155B1 medium twin into Switzerland, according to the Paris-based company. Zurich-based business aviation charter operator Heli-Link, a subsidiary company of DC Aviation of Germany, took delivery of the 2008 EC155, configured with eight VIP seats. Heli Asset says it placed 18 helicopters in 2012.
Eurocopter revealed a mockup of the executive version of its EC175 medium-twin helicopter today at EBACE and is also offering an even more luxurious VIP version. Prices for the new variants are around €17 million ($22 million) and vary with options. The VIP version is some €500,000 ($650,000) more expensive than the executive option.
Although business has been tough for UK helicopter charter companies in recent times, Capital Air Services is in the process of increasing its managed fleet with the addition of two Sikorsky S-76++ helicopters. This will bring the S-76 fleet to three, to operate alongside a Eurocopter EC155 and a pair of EC135s.
The U.S. Navy restarted the VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program by issuing a final request for proposals on May 3. The next day, Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) officially welcomed a new type into the presidential fleet–the MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor–which will be used in a support role to carry White House staff and reporters following the President.
On April 9, the NTSB held a public meeting to discuss the crash of a LifeNet helicopter in Mosby, Mo., on Aug. 26, 2011. The Eurocopter AS350B2 ran out of fuel, according to the NTSB, and the pilot failed “to successfully enter an autorotation when the engine lost power due to fuel exhaustion.” What the pilot did not do, the Board explained, is move the cyclic control aft when the engine failed.
An MD369A helicopter pilot was seriously injured April 2 during a hard landing on private property in Darby, Mont. The three passengers aboard received minor injuries. The rotorcraft was destroyed when its engine failed to respond to throttle inputs at 10 feet above the ground. The tail rotor, tailboom and all main rotor blades separated from the helicopter on impact.
Milestone Aviation Group, the helicopter leasing firm that was co-founded in August 2010 by airplane fractional program pioneer Richard Santulli, has quickly grown to mammoth size. The Dublin, Ireland-based company said its fleet, which ranges from light-twin to heavy helicopters, now includes more than 90 aircraft from AgustaWestland, Bell, Eurocopter and Sikorsky worth more than $1.3 billion.
India’s yet-to-take off helicopter emergency medical services program (HEMS) received a boost earlier this year with a firm contract for seven Eurocopter EC135s by Bangalore-based Aviators Ltd. signed in the presence of visiting French president François Hollande.
Bell Helicopter unveiled its next-generation tiltrotor on April 10 at the Army Aviation Association of America (Quad A) annual convention in Fort Worth, Texas. Bell intends to enter the V-280 Valor in the U.S.