In its just-released world commercial helicopter market report, research firm Frost & Sullivan expects the segment to expand from 24,625 helicopters in 2009 to 36,946 in 2015.
Sikorsky Aircraft announced the X2 project just over five years ago at the 2005 Paris Air Show. Now the one and only example of what the helicopter maker calls a “technology demonstrator” is poised to break the record as the world’s fastest rotorcraft as it works its way toward a target speed of 250 knots and further proof of concept.
Financial results for 2009 showed that AgustaWestland (Booth No. 7020) is spending more on research and development than its rival Eurocopter (Booth No. 7010). The latter gives a high profile to its R&D efforts, while the former has consistently been much quieter. Nonetheless, Europe’s leading helicopter manufacturers have joined forces for Clean Sky, a major research project partly funded by the European Commission (EC).
Eurocopter’s research and development teams are working on several programs
to enhance cabin comfort by creating a smoother–and quieter–ride.
Among the solutions on the horizon is a five-blade main rotor for the EC155
and EC225, and a piezo-active rotor designated Blue Pulse.
The Clean Sky joint technology initiative, a e1.6 billion ($2.2 billion) private-public partnership on aeronautical research in Europe, has issued its third call for proposals. Working toward the development of a green rotorcraft, the consortium is focusing on engines, aerodynamics and tiltrotors.
Bell 407, Decatur, Texas, Dec. 25, 2009–The medevac helicopter was departing on a Part 91 positioning flight to pick up a patient when it lost all engine power at a height of about 100 feet, according to the pilot, who autorotated the helicopter back to the original helipad. The 407 sustained structural damage to its lower fuselage as it landed hard in an upright position.
Russian Helicopters has begun marketing the Ka-32A11BC coaxial helicopter for more U.S. firefighting work. The helicopter has been used successfully in Chile and Mexico in this role, and one based in Canada was summoned last year to help battle a blaze in Idaho.
As part of its Green Rotorcraft initiative, the Clean Sky public-private partnership for aeronautical research in Europe has issued its second call for proposals seeking such improvements as diesel engines, electric tail- rotor drive and waste heat conversion to electricity, all of which are expected to contribute to targeted drastic cuts in noise, CO2 and NOx emissions.
The Canadian Air & Space Museum of Toronto has launched a fundraising drive to acquire a Sikorsky S-58T with almost half a century of service in the U.S. and Canada under its rotors. The museum has set an initial fundraising goal of $35,000 to acquire the helicopter and all associated spare parts and finance its transport to the museum.
The U.S. Navy last week issued a comprehensive 27-page request for information (RFI) for the next VXX helicopter that will possibly begin to replace the
current fleet of “Marine One” Sikorsky VH-3D and VH-60N helicopters in the 2017-2023 time frame. Responding parties have until March 3 to submit a letter of interest and April 19 to submit their final responses to the Naval Air Systems Command.