India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation into Rolls-Royce military deals. The investigation began just a day before the announcement of forthcoming elections and the beginning of the “model code of conduct” that disallows announcement of new projects. The probe follows a voluntary disclosure last December by Rolls-Royce to its partner Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) that it had used a consultant, Singapore-based Aashmore, for sales and logistics support in its business in the energy sector.
Nepal-based Shree Airlines took delivery of the first of five AS350B3es it ordered last year from Airbus Helicopters. Shree Airlines will use its B3e fleet for search-and-rescue, aerial work and disaster relief missions in Nepal. It also plans to expand passenger transport and utility mission operations into Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar.
Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and the Geological Survey of India are to deploy a Dhruv light twin equipped with geophysical equipment for mineral exploration. Capabilities include detection of oil, gas and minerals (gold, copper, thorium and other rare earth materials) as well as environmental and nuclear surveillance.
Airbus Helicopters and PT Dirgantara Indonesia have signed an MoU for the latter company to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul on the manufacturer’s rotorcraft flying in Indonesia. In particular, the MoU targets the AS365 Dauphin, EC725 Cougar and AS350/AS555 Fennec the government operates. PT Dirgantara is already a licensed manufacturer of the BO105 light twin and Super Puma as well as a supplier of fuselage subassemblies.
Boeing said its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) demonstrator, a modified Bombardier Challenger 604, completed its first flight on February 28 from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Subcontractor Field Aviation conducted the four-hour test flight.
Winner Aviation has expanded its maintenance operation into a hangar it acquired in 2011. The 14,000-sq-ft building provides Winner an additional 12,000 sq ft of hangar space and 2,000 sq ft of office space. The new maintenance hangar will enable Winner to accommodate light to midsize business jets as well as other turbine aircraft for maintenance repairs and inspections.
GE Aviation and Bristow Group signed the first engine service agreement for the CT7-2E1 turboshaft that powers the new AgustaWestland AW189 twin. The agreement expands the longstanding GE-Bristow partnership by adding the AW189s’ engines to Bristow’s global fleet of powerplants maintained under a maintenance cost per hour (MCPH) service agreement.
Metro Aviation announced Mark Breton will be joining the MRO as director of maintenance in late March or early April. He has more than 25 years in the aviation industry, with a strong background in aircraft maintenance, helicopter EMS operations and project management. Breton spent most of his career in Texas, but most recently served as the v-p and director of maintenance for Air Medical Resource Group in Salt Lake City, Utah.
A new airworthiness directive issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has resulted in the grounding of 15 Xi’an MA-60 turboprops following two incidences of landing gear failure. The directive requires operators inspect the undercarriages and gear annunciation systems of airplanes that have logged more than 6,400 takeoffs. Two Chinese airlines–Okay Airways and Joy Air–and carriers from the Philippines, Laos, Zimbabwe and Bolivia operate the 15 airplanes.
Europe is slowly progressing toward the use of simultaneous non-interfering (SNI) approaches for helicopters at airports. This would improve rotorcraft access to busy airports while reducing the environmental impact, promoters of a dedicated research project believe. Further in-flight demonstrations are planned for next year, eight years after the first series of trials.