In the arcane world of helicopter rotor aerodynamics, two concepts that show promise for enhancing safety and performance in the world of high-density-altitude heavy lift are under development on opposite sides of the U.S. Briefings on both were presented at the American Helicopter Society’s annual forum last month in Phoenix.
Just a few months after its official introduction at last winter’s HAI Heli-Expo, the Schweizer 300CBi, an enhanced version of Schweizer’s Model 300CB, is on its way to launch customer CSE Aviation, one of the UK’s largest and best known flight schools, located in Oxford, England.
Tail-rotor failure appears to be the culprit in the May 4 crash of a Eurocopter AS 350 news helicopter in New York City. But the NTSB said that tail-rotor control continuity could not be determined because of the extensive damage caused when the helicopter slammed onto a rooftop in Brooklyn, N.Y. The WNBC-TV helicopter, N4NY, crashed into a four-story building before breaking in two and falling onto a two-story building.
It should come as no surprise that citizen groups opposing helicopter operation over Manhattan are using the aftermath of September 11 to lobby lawmakers for further restrictions. Excerpts from a letter recently sent to members of the Helicopter Noise Coalition of New York City (HNCNYC) and New York Sens. Chuck Schumer (D) and Hillary Clinton (D) and Reps.
“The U.S. rotorcraft industry has fallen behind because of lack of funding and interest,” William Retz, rear admiral USN (ret.), told AIN. “We need to get behind the industry and move it forward again.” Retz is the executive director of operations for the proposed Center for Rotorcraft Innovation (CRI).
The second Bell 429 took to the skies on August 31, five months after the first test ship flew last winter. It is one of five that will eventually complete a test program that is expected to amass 1,500 hours in the air before the helicopter’s planned certification and initial customer deliveries next year.
Retrofit technology that could turn the Pentagon’s fleet of Black Hawks and other helicopters into 200-knot, high-altitude speedsters, and later be applied to the civil market, is one step closer to reality.
The Teal Group released its annual 10-year forecast of the helicopter market on July 19. Despite its overall optimism, however, there was no good news for the civil segment. The Fairfax, Va.-based market analysis firm predicted the manufacture of 8,979 rotorcraft with a value of $80.1 billion from 2004 to 2013. The forecast represents strong growth over the previous decade, when production totaled 7,793 helicopters valued at $51.1 billion.
The AN-1 AeroQuad produced in Spain by Aeris Naviter Aeronautical Technologies is on display in the light aircraft static park. The latest in a long line of attempts to produce an easy-to-fly platform that requires minimal training, it comprises a coaxial rotor configuration above which the operator stands to control the vehicle.
For many, the name Le Bourget is forever linked to one event, celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Back in 1927, a young airmail pilot named Charles Lindbergh captivated the world when he flew his Spirit of St. Louis nonstop from New York and landed at Le Bourget.
The airport is home to one of the world’s most extensive collection of historic aircraft. More than 350 types are on display at Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace.