The FAA is adopting an airworthiness directive (AD) that establishes a new life limit based on a prorated formula for some Sikorsky S-70, S-70A and S-70C components that were previously installed on military helicopters. Some of the parts, including the main rotor hub, main rotor shaft, main rotor spindle nut, rotating swashplate and main rotor gearbox, have been interchanged with military helicopter models with life limits different from those of the civilian version.
Russian Helicopters is asking the Russian government for an extra RUB1.15 billion ($34 million) to complete the development of the Ka-62 medium twin. According to Russian newspaper Izvestya, this will come in addition to the $59 million already invested in the helicopter program.
China’s newest military helicopter made its first flight on December 23 at a location in “northeastern China,” a site presumed to be the Harbin facility. The aircraft, believed to be designated Z-20, is in the “10-tonne” class, and is thought to be a collaborative effort among Harbin, Changhe and the 602 Institute.
Sikorsky announced yesterday that it delivered the first two examples of the S-76D, an upgraded version of the medium twin helicopter, to the Bristow Group late last month. The helicopters are equipped for offshore oil and gas operations, a configuration certified by the FAA in October 2012, and are to fly in the Gulf of Mexico.
A UK inquiry into the April 2009 fatal crash of a Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma in the North Sea begins today in Aberdeen, Scotland. Operated by Bond Helicopters, the rotorcraft suffered a main rotor gearbox failure and crashed into the sea off the Aberdeenshire coast while returning from an oil platform. The accident killed the two pilots and all 14 passengers aboard.
The largest helicopter EMS provider in the U.S. is continuing its foray into the air-tour business. Air Methods has acquired Blue Hawaiian helicopters for an undisclosed sum. Blue Hawaiian flies a mixed fleet of 24 Eurocopter EC130s and AS350s and operates tours on five of Hawaii’s six islands. Last year it posted revenues of $47 million.
With Brazil-based BHS Helicopter, Omni and Aeróleo Taxi Aéro resuming Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma operations, all operators have reinstated the type, the helicopter manufacturer announced last week. The three Brazilian companies fly in support of Petrobras’s offshore oil-and-gas activities. The medium twin returned to service in July with Angola’s Sonair and gradually in other parts of the world, with 75 percent of the fleet back in operation as of December 20. Eurocopter identifies the other operators as CHC Helicopter, Bristow, Bond, Blueway DanCopter, Era and MHS Aviation Berhad.
The Eurocopter EC135 light twin that crashed into a busy pub on November 29 in Glasgow, Scotland, was intact when it hit the roof, but neither the main rotor nor the fenestron tail rotor were rotating at that time, the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch preliminary report reveals. The helicopter had been flying for one hour and 33 minutes when the pilot requested clearance to return to Glasgow City Heliport. No further radio transmission was received.
UK Royal Air Force (RAF) crews have begun training on the Eurocopter Puma Mk 2, although the two squadrons will not be cleared for service until 2015. Under a contract signed in 2009, Eurocopter is upgrading 24 of the 40-year-old helicopters with new engines, glass cockpits, digital autopilot and other improvements. Seven have been redelivered to date.
A new artist rendering of the in-development Eurocopter X4 medium-twin helicopter appeared today during a presentation made at the EASA Rotorcraft Symposium in Cologne, showing design changes made since 2011. A horizontal empennage with a two-level lifting surface is visible on the tailboom, forward of the shrouded tail rotor. The fuselage, aft of the cabin, includes a “skirt,” the role of which is still unknown.