After a number of delays, Russian Helicopters is reevaluating four helicopter programs that were slated for certification this year or next, namely the Ka-226, Ka-62, Mi-171A2 and Mi-38. The company is conducting “an analysis and assessment of all its new programs to determine more precisely time frames for certification and the start of serial production,” a spokesman told AIN.
China-based Avicopter flew a new version of the AC311 light single, the AC311A, with a Turbomeca engine and Chinese avionics on August 14. The 10-minute maiden sortie took place in Jingdezhen, the home city of partner Changhe Aircraft.
The use of domestic avionics steers Avicopter clear of foreign export restrictions, the company said. AIN understands that the same applies to the engine, as France-based Turbomeca and Avicopter have long-established ties. The Arriel 2B1A powers the helicopter in lieu of the AC311’s Honeywell LTS101-700D-2, a U.S. product.
Bell’s Model 505 Jet Ranger X is making its Brazilian debut here at the LABACE show, at least in full-scale mock-up form. The company expects to fly the light single helicopter by the end of the year, and hopes that it can repeat the success of the original JetRanger that became a true “classic” of the rotary-wing world. The 505 is intended for a wide range of tasks, such as training, law enforcement, corporate/VIP transport and utility work, for which a 1,500-pound cargo hook is fitted.
Driven by the ambition to become world’s third largest turboshaft engine manufacturer after General Electric and Pratt & Whitney, France’s Turbomeca is pressing to establish a Russian partnership to develop and coproduce a new 3,000-shp engine based on the existing RTM322 powerplant and using the new Tech3000 core.
Bell Helicopter executives told AIN that the company will be pursuing initial type certification of its new 505 Jet Ranger X light single from Transport Canada and will conduct prototype assembly and flight-testing of the aircraft from its plant in Mirabel, Quebec. First flight is expected later this year.
Turbomeca is negotiating with Russia’s United Engine Corp (Russian acronym ODK) to co-develop a new 3,000-shp engine based on the RTM322, but using the new Tech3000 core. The Safran subsidiary has already established a strong presence in Russia, with 200 engines in service and new ones selected to power the Ka-62 and Ka-226 helicopters.
Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services North America (HS-NA) has signed a three-year MRO support contract with Quebec, Calif.-headquartered Optima Aero to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul for the latter’s PT6T-series engines.
Optima Aero offers a package for the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T, PT6B and PW200 and Turbomeca Arriel 2 consisting of parts, technical expertise and component and engine exchanges.
The Turbomeca Arrius 2R turboshaft made its first ground run on April 29 at the company’s test facility in Bordes, France. The derivative engine, which is in the 500-shp class, will power the in-development Bell 505 Jet Ranger X light single. The Arrius 2R features Fadec and a 3,000-hour time between overhaul. Certification is expected late next year.
With improved customer service finding new emphasis in many boardrooms–and aftermarket support becoming a growing revenue source–Safran subsidiaries Turbomeca and Sagem Avionics recently unveiled plans that highlight the roles technology can and will play in delivering support services.
The EASA certified the Airbus Helicopters EC145T2, an upgraded version of the light twin with new engines and a shrouded tail rotor, late last week. The approval covers the helicopter’s full range of capabilities, the company said, including single-pilot, IFR, Category A takeoff and night-vision-goggles operations.
The certification comes a few months later than expected, delayed by the need to solve an aerodynamic issue in sideways flight. The Helionix avionics suite, developed in-house and featuring a four-axis autopilot, also contributed to the delay.
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