The U.S. Coast Guard’s fleet of 96 Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin helicopters surpassed one million flight hours on September 20. The USCG first acquired the twin-engine HH-65 in 1985 and uses the helicopters for patrol, law enforcement, armed interdiction and rescue missions throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean from 17 land bases and aboard ships. The HH-65 is a variant of the Eurocopter AS 365 Dauphin.
Turbomeca has broken ground for its future research, development and manufacturing facility in Bordes, southwest France. The facility, built
to bring design and production teams closer together, will house 600 employees. Construction started in mid-September and should last until late next year or early 2009.
For many years, the one market segment that General Electric’s turbine engine-manufacturing business didn’t serve was aircraft that use smaller turboprop engines. But that is changing; GE announced yesterday that it is buying Czech engine manufacturer Walter Engines. Based in Prague, Walter has manufactured more than 37,000 aircraft engines since 1923.
Indian-based manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) is making progress toward European certification of its Dhruv light-twin helicopter. A tentative schedule calls for European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification early in 2009. Indian deliveries began in 2002.
The first production Eurocopter EC 225 medium twin made its maiden flight in late June. Eurocopter said the “flawless” event lasted just over two hours. The EC 225 is powered by two Turbomeca Makila 2A modular turboshafts, an engine that has just been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Each of the powerplants generates 2,413 shp in contingency mode–14 percent more than the previous model.
At last month’s Paris Air Show Eurocopter delivered the first upgraded Ecureuil/TwinStar, the AS 355NP, its current light twin offering. According to the Marignane, France-based manufacturer, the helicopter offers better performance, an enhanced cockpit and improved cabin interior. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified the aircraft on February 15. Transport Canada and Russian certifications are expected later this year.
Here at the Paris Air Show, helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca announced three contracts for its support-by-the-hour (SBH) scheme.
No aircraft flies with MTU engines, and yet MTU is involved in one third of all aircraft engine programs. MTU is the largest independent maintenance provider for aircraft engines and is associated with the production in many major engine programs. It is also leading Europe’s NEWAC research program, aiming to develop a new-technology engine-core concept.
French-based engine maker Turbomeca has chosen Monroe, N.C. for its new parts factory. Dubbed Turbomeca Manufacturing, it will initially produce parts for the Arriel 1E2 turboshaft engines that power the U.S. Army’s UH-72A, the military version of the Eurocopter EC 145 twin. The Safran subsidiary won a $2.5 million grant from the North Carolina Economic Investment Committee.
Turbomeca is endeavoring to improve product support after customers voiced dissatisfaction, notably about parts availability. The French-based turboshaft engine manufacturer ranked last among engine manufacturers in AIN’s 2006 product support survey, with an average 5.17 for parts availability.