Bell 206L-1, Gulf of Mexico, Nov. 1, 2009–The LongRanger, operated by Rotorcraft Leasing, was substantially damaged after a loss of engine power forced a water landing shortly after liftoff from an oil platform. Just before touching down, the pilot inflated the pontoons but the helicopter rolled over as it settled in the water. Preliminary examination of the recovered helicopter indicated a loose compressor discharge pressure line.
Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise, one of the companies in holding firm Russian Helicopters, has completed a phase of tests with a Turbomeca-powered Kamov Ka-226. The aircraft–the Ka-226T–is the first coaxial-rotor helicopter to be fitted with Turbomeca turboshafts, in this case Arrius 2G. Production of the helicopter is expected to start next year.
Eurocopter Training Services (ETS) will offer a training module for helideck landing officers (HLOs), the surface personnel in charge of helicopter operations on offshore oil platforms, starting in the middle of next year. The company sees a major market in regions such as Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, where HLOs receive little training, according to ETS officials.
Following Transport Canada certification and FAA validation of the Bell 429 in July, Bell Helicopter Textron of Fort Worth, Texas, delivered the first aircraft, S/N 57006, to launch customer Air Methods on August 1. The current Bell 429 fleet (two prototypes, three flight test and two customer aircraft) has accumulated more than 2,200 hours.
Sikorsky Aircraft wrapped up whirl testing of a demonstration rotor system with active flaps as part of the company’s “commitment to design, develop, test and ultimately field next-generation technologies that will advance the current state of rotorcraft.” Development partners on the project are United Technologies Research Center for the blades and Hamilton Sundstrand Claverham for the flap actuators.
Bell OH-58C, Quitman, Ark., Nov. 16, 2008–The helicopter, registered to and operated by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, was substantially damaged and its passenger killed when it landed hard in a field at night. Operating under Part 91, the helicopter took off from Heber Springs Municipal Airport around 11:30 p.m. and was flying in support of ground units attempting to apprehend people hunting deer illegally at night.
Bell 206A, Barnesville, Pa., Aug. 22, 2008–The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the helicopter during a low-speed, low-altitude maneuver resulted in the loss of tail-rotor effectiveness, the NTSB ruled. The helicopter was engaged in a stunt that involved the dropping of golf balls over a golf course when a witness observed that it was flying erratically with slight roll and fore and aft pitch oscillations.
Kaman K-1200, Santa Clarita, Calif., Dec. 17, 2008– The helicopter sustained substantial damage after being upset by a strong gust of wind while standing with engines running and rotors turning. A ground crewman was killed in the accident.
Northern Wisconsin forests are experiencing their worst drought in 70 years. The area’s abundant freshwater lakes have receded to record low levels and, although the spring had been unseasonably cold, by the end of May fire danger was high. More than 946 wild fires had consumed over 2,600 acres throughout the state and fire danger in the vast 1.5 million acre Cheqaumegon-Nicolet National Forest was so severe that the U.S.