Anyone familiar with GPS-enabled, location-based services available on many smartphones will appreciate the benefits from the new geo-fencing condition capability, dubbed advanced variable response (AVR), offered by Blue Sky Network on its HawkEye 7200 portable satellite tracking unit.
Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. 5226) is displaying its new line of standard and optional glass-panel avionics options for all its helicopter models here at Heli-Expo.
The Garmin GTR 225B is now the standard com radio on all models. The company points out that it satisfies the new KHz channel spacing regulations. The GMA 350H audio panel is now standard for dual com installations.
Metro Aviation (Booth No. 415) recently completed a year-long approval process for a supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation of the Garmin GTN650/750 in EC135 helicopters, making the company the first to offer the touchscreen GPS, nav and com units available for installation on single-pilot IFR rotorcraft.
FreeFlight Systems (Booth No. 4513) and the University of North Dakota (Booth No. 3440) received FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) approval in the Bell 206B for the FreeFlight RANGR FDL-978-XVR. This installation is now the first rule-compliant 978 MHz ADS-B IN/OUT universal access transceiver (UAT) for rotorcraft. The company and the school jointly developed the technology with contributions from the FAA’s Center for General Aviation Research (CGAR), as well as a consortium of universities.
SkyTrac Systems (Booth No. 5822) has partnered with DAC International. Under the agreement DAC will become a regional distributor for SkyTrac’s fleet management and flight data services. DAC will now distribute the SkyTrac ISAT-200A transceiver and fleet management services including business support, flight tracking and flight data monitoring across a territory that includes Latin America, Oceania and Asia.
Eagle Copters has resumed work on the Eagle 407HP conversion that retrofits the Honeywell HST900D-2 engine into the Bell 407 in place of the stock Rolls Royce C47. The Honeywell engine maintains power through higher altitudes, according to Eagle, improving payload capacity by 40 percent at 12,000 feet while reducing specific fuel consumption and delivering a 22 percent better power output than the stock engine in high/hot conditions. The new engine also offers e an 8 percent reduction in takeoff and 10 percent lower max cruise specific fuel consumption.
New Airbus Helicopter CEO Guillaume Faury and the head of its U.S. arm, Marc Paganini, were visibly penitent when discussing the company’s traditionally problematic customer service yesterday at Heli-Expo. Faury left no doubt that he is committed to focusing more company resources and attention on product support. “It is time for new priorities,” he said. Paganini echoed that sentiment, admitting, “We need to do better.”
Kurt Robinson was generally upbeat about the prospects for his family’s iconic helicopter company, Robinson Helicopter, during a press conference yesterday at Heli-Expo. Last year, the company delivered its 11,000th helicopter and it will soon deliver its 500th R66 single-engine turbine ship. Production currently stands at two to three R66s, five R44s and one R22 per week.
Mid-Continent Instrument (Booth No. 3636) has received FAA and EASA approval for its new True Blue Power TB17 advanced lithium-ion engine start and main ship battery. The TB17 is the first lithium-ion battery to receive certification for general aviation applications. The 16-pound battery is designed for light turbine and piston aircraft and weighs up to 45 percent less than lead-acid or nicad batteries. The company says the TB17 is designed for less maintenance, lower cost and longer life than traditional batteries.
Rolls-Royce has signed multi-year service agreements with four large fleet operators, encompassing operational support for more than 220 M250-engine powered rotorcraft. Yesterday at the company’s booth, Tim McGrath, the engine OEM’s vice president of customer business, signed the agreement with Mike O’Reilly, president of Calgary-based Eagle Copters, which specializes in sales, leasing, MRO and STC manufacturing and owns 15 M250-powered helicopters including the Bell 206B, 206L3 and 407.