BLR Aerospace (Booth No. 2970) has selected Simplex Manufacturing (Booth No. 3421) to market and sell BLR’s performance-enhancing helicopter products in parts of the Middle East and Southeast Asia. BLR, based in Everett, Wash., offers a range of aerodynamic improvements, including the FastFin tail rotor enhancement and stability system for multiple Bell helicopter models.
Forecast International is predicting an $88.1 billion market for medium/heavy (15,000 pounds and up) military rotorcraft between now and 2018. Forecast says competition in the market is between all-new designs from non-U.S. firms versus derivative models based on older designs from U.S. manufacturers.
A Heli-Lynx-modified Eurocopter AS 355FX2R recently passed 5,000 hours time in service with the Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago. The Heli-Lynx STC conversion replaces the standard helicopter’s engines, electrical system, instrument panel and trim cables. It also increases horsepower, fuel capacity, endurance and useful load.
Northwest Helicopters (Booth No. 2989) has developed carbon-fiber main rotor blades for the Bell UH-1H, 205 and 212. STC approval is expected by the end of 2009. Northwest said the blades will have longer life limits, improved high/hot performance, decreased fuel flow and dual trim tabs for a smoother ride. First year production of UH-1H blades already is sold out, according to the company.
Bristol, Tenn.-based Edwards & Associates (Booth No. 3981), an affiliate of Bell Helicopter, is delivering a second new Bell 412 to the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) at Heli-Expo’09. The company delivered the first 412 last November. The two 412s are replacements for the two 1966 UH-1s that Orange County put in service in 1995.
Improved hover performance in high and hot conditions for the Bell Huey and its derivatives is the promise of the FastFin tail-rotor enhancement and stability system from Boundary Layer Research (Booth No. 2970) of Everett, Wash. The company recently delivered its 100th UH-1 FastFin and announced that Wildcat Helicopters, Kelowna, British Columbia, will become the first fleet customer to install the system on the Bell 212.
Indian helicopter requirements provided the only real news at this month’s Aero India event in Bangalore. Indian officials confirmed the relaunch of the competition for nearly 200 armed light helicopters, a requirement that is now called the reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter (RSH). Eurocopter has proposed the AS 550 C3 Fennec, with license-manufacture by Hindustan Aeronautics.
Since Sabreliner performed the first C-21A Learjet Phase 16 inspection for the U.S. Air Force in 2001, the company has cycled 100 of the military version of the Learjet 35A through its Perryville, Mo. facilities, and all were delivered on time and on budget. The inspections were a combination of Phase 16, equivalent to the 12,000-hour inspection on civil Learjets, and Phase 14, the same as the Learjet 12-year inspection.
Bell OH-58C, Quitman, Ark., Nov. 16, 2008–A passenger in the OH-58C was killed but the commercial pilot uninjured when the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission helicopter landed hard in a field. The night surveillance flight supported ground personnel searching for “spot-lighters” illegally hunting deer at night. The pilot, who was wearing night vision goggles, was hovering at 150 feet agl when the low rotor rpm light came on.
Lockheed Martin announced on October 7 a $393.6 million contract to supply four C-130J-30 “stretched” Hercules military transports to the Qatar Emiri Air Force beginning in 2011. This comes a few months after the Qataris signed a deal to acquire from Boeing two C-17s, which will be delivered next summer. Currently the QEAF has no tactical/strategic airlift capability, so the new purchases signal a dramatic change in air force doctrine.