Bell Helicopter will be unveiling its Model 429 light twin with wheeled landing gear on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at the NBAA Convention in Las Vegas (Booth No. C9343). Compared to the $5.8 million standard skidded variant, the $6.17 million Bell 429WLG has a top speed of 152 knots, about five knots faster. The retractable gear and sponsons does add approximately 250 pounds, but range actually increases by 1 nm to 412 nm.
Eurocopter has issued another emergency Service Bulletin and the EASA has published another emergency Airworthiness Directive for the EC225 and AS332L2 Super Pumas, this time centering on a life-raft housing. During an EC225 delivery flight, a sponson life-raft ejectable cowling was lost. It was caused by the incorrect positioning of a locking system during cowling installation. This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to the in-flight hazardous inflation of the life raft, according to the EASA.
The FAA has approved the Sikorsky S-92 for sea state 6 (SS6) conditions, meaning up to 20-foot waves. Thanks to additional sponson floats, the S-92’s emergency flotation system becomes the first one to be FAA certified for SS6, according to Sikorsky.
“This system was designed by the S-92 landing-gear design group, with close coordination with electrical and airframe design and structural analysis,” said Ben Del Monte, chief of propulsion/landing gear/mission systems.
Minutes before a Cougar Helicopters Sikorsky S-92 fell into the Atlantic March 12, one of the pilots radioed that the helicopter had “zero” main gearbox (MGB) oil pressure. Two pilots and 16 offshore oil workers were aboard the helicopter when it either crashed or ditched 47 miles East of St. John’s Newfoundland.
FPT Industries, a division of GKN Aerospace, has finalized design of the emergency extended flotation system that will maintain stability in extreme conditions on the Sikorsky S-92, the company announced.
According to GKN, the requirement for additional buoyancy has been stimulated by increased offshore operations, particularly in the ever-growing North Sea market.