Feedback from exhibitors at this year’s Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo show–the 63rd annual event–was notably positive, a clear indication that the record attendee and exhibitor numbers signal a strong performance by the rotorcraft industry during the past year. Heli-Expo 2011 attendance reached more than 20,000, according to HAI, and exhibitors totaled 625, up from 15,243 attendees and 596 exhibitors last year.
Aspen Avionics has moved aggressively into the helicopter marketplace and is displaying its Evolution flight display glass cockpit systems in three helicopters at the Heli-Expo static display, a Schweizer 300C, Robinson R44 and Enstrom 480B.
The anticipated escalation in civil aviation night-vision-goggle (NVG) use might still be several years away as end-users await financing, according to industry experts, as opposed to waiting for continuing refinement of the Federal Aviation Regulations regarding standards for their use.
A Sikorsky panel yesterday painted a positive picture of the company’s Sikorsky Global Helicopters division, basking in the warmth of 136 large and 79 light helicopter sales in 2008-2009, and a year that ended with a backlog valued at $12 billion.
Sikorsky Aircraft subsidiary Schweizer Aircraft has signed a deal with Phoenix Heliparts appointing the company a factory-authorized aircraft sales distributor and service center for the line of Schweizer commercial helicopters.
There’s a good reason for the new-car smell of the Merlin Simulation Pro Series Sikorsky 300C (nee Schweizer 300C) advanced aviation training device (AATD) the company is demonstrating at Heli-Expo. The device received FAA approval at the beginning of this month and the one here was just built. The unit used for approval is already with flight-training school Rotors of the Rockies in Colorado. Three more are on order.
Just a few short years ago, the manufacturers of small, low-cost helicopters targeted Asia as the market of the future for their brand of inexpensive vertical-lift aircraft. And few onlookers took them seriously. Today it seems that some of these small helicopter crafters are laughing all the way to the bank.
Working in its own quiet low-key way, Schweizer Aircraft has revealed its new 300CBi. An enhanced upgrade of the company’s strong-selling 300CB, the new 300CBi features a fuel-injected 180-hp Lycoming HIO-360-C1A engine. Schweizer maintains that throttle correlation is noticeably more precise and engine response is smoother and more immediate than with its predecessor’s carburetor-equipped Lycoming engine.
Schweizer Aircraft (Booth No. 2040) yesterday unveiled the Sikorsky Schweizer 434, the company’s first new product since Sikorsky purchased the New York-based OEM in 2004. The Model 434 is a single-turbine helicopter designed primarily for flight training, law enforcement and light utility missions.
Bringing to reality a deal announced at Heli-Expo last year, Shanghai Sikorsky Aircraft Co. (SSAC) has received business license approval from Chinese authorities, authorizing the light-helicopter manufacturing company to commence operations. The result will be a new line of light helicopters built in China, all of them license-built editions of existing Schweizer designs.
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