Last year’s announcement of schemes aimed at opening some lower-altitude airspace (LAA) in China offered a glimmer of hope to the rotary-wing sector that it would soon be easier to operate helicopters in the country. However, there is still some way to go before the industry can grow much further, as officials grapple with how to manage airspace once the experiments finish.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. is to deliver a new S-92 helicopter to China Southern Airlines’ Zhuhai Helicopter Branch next week. This follows the delivery of two S-76s in December last year. The offshore utility aircraft will support expanding oil operations in the South China Sea.
Sikorsky Aircraft recognized Vancouver-based Helijet International as operator of the world’s highest time Sikorsky S-76 airframe. Helijet’s S-76A, S/N 760074, has logged a total of 37,025 flight hours. It entered service in July 1980 and then flew 2,287 hours during nine years’ service as a corporate transport in the northeastern U.S. Helijet acquired the aircraft in January 1990. In scheduled service, it has carried more than 500,000 passengers some three million miles between Helijet’s passenger terminals in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.
FDC Aerofilter (Booth No. 3713) will supply engine inlet barrier filter (IBF) systems for Sikorsky’s S-76D and S-92 models. This follows on FDC’s long-standing relationship with Sikorsky, harking back to its agreement to supply IBF systems for the S-76C++ production helicopters. The IBF systems are integrated into the design of the S-76D and S-92 models, and provide efficient protection from foreign object damage (FOD), erosion and corrosion.
Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies, recognized Vancouver-based Helijet International as operator of the world’s highest time Sikorsky S-76 airframe. Helijet’s S-76A (serial number 760074) has logged 37,025 flight hours. It entered service in July 1980, and then flew 2,287 hours during nine years’ service as a corporate transport in the northeastern U.S.. Helijet acquired the aircraft in January 1990. In scheduled service, it has carried more than 500,000 passengers 3 million miles between Helijet’s passenger terminals in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.
It was a good year for the helicopter shipping business in 2011, according to Panalpina’s Juerg Boschung, business unit manager, and head of its helicopter shipping division. The Vancouver-based company handled a record number of air charters and flight diversions related to moving helicopters via air-freight around the world.
Panalpina uses Antonov An-124s and Boeing 747 freighters in several configurations to solve customers’ equipment logistics problems worldwide.
Helijet has selected Max-Viz EVS-1500 infrared enhanced vision systems for three Sikorsky S-76s used in EMS operations. “Air Ambulance flight crews are reporting that not only can they see terrain features and man-made structures at night, but they are seeing fog and cloud formations and concentrations of precipitation during the day enabling them to pick safer routes ahead,” said Helijet chief pilot Brendan McCormick. According to Max-Viz (Booth No.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (Booth No. 3317) is busy with developments on the PT6C-67E, which powers the Eurocopter EC175 medium twin, and the PW210 family, the powerplant for the Sikorsky S-76D and the AgustaWestland AW169 medium twins.
The PW210S (Sikorsky S-76D) and the PW210A (AgustaWestland AW169) have different certification schedules. The FAA certified the 1,077-shp PW210S last December after a postponement due to delays in the S-76D program.
Circumstances are colliding that will have significant impact on new civil helicopter development programs for the remainder of the decade. In the West, new civil programs are typically the byproducts of defense spending. And when it comes to dropping defense dollars and euros on new manned helicopter programs, the party might not be over, but it is definitely winding down.