An EASA rule that takes effect next month opens the door to offshore oil-and-gas helicopter passengers’ using personal electronic devices (PED), and rotorcraft manufacturers say their designs are compatible with the use of PEDs in flight. However, European operators seem unenthusiastic about implementing the change despite its appeal to passengers.
The FAA is proposing to adopt a new airworthiness directive for certain Sikorsky Model S-92A helicopters requiring the installation of a main gearbox (MGB) failed pump sensor and vacuum switch wiring, installing an MGB oil auto bypass system, activating aircraft management system (AMS) 7.1 software to show a new visual warning and installing updated enhanced ground proximity warning system software that includes an aural annunciation of a complete oil pressure loss condition.
The new CAE Multi-Purpose Training Center in Brunei is close to going fully operational, following the European Aviation Safety Agency’s level-D certification of its CAE 3000 Series full-flight simulator for the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter last month. The facility is the result of CAE’s efforts to deliver an integrated array of training solutions in a more cost-effective manner.
Irrespective of political turmoil in land-based energy supplier regions, oil and gas exploration and production is rising, especially offshore where drilling technology advances have made extraction more efficient. This is driving demand for helicopters and simulators.
Infinity Support Services (ISS) has announced plans to install a level-D flight simulator for the Sikorsky S-92 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. FlightSafety International will design, manufacture and support the training device. For the ISS Academy, FlightSafety will also supply training programs and supporting documents. FlightSafety will operate the S-92 simulator for two years and provide training for ISS simulator technicians. The simulator is expected to enter service by year-end and will be the first S-92 simulator installed in the Middle East.
The U.S. Navy on May 7 announced a $1.24 billion contract award to Sikorsky Aircraft to begin engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of the long-delayed VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program. The EMD contract calls for Sikorsky to modify and deliver six civil-certified S-92s and two trainer simulators by October 2020.
The CAE/AgustaWestland Rotorsim joint venture has received EASA and Italian ENAC approval for its CAE Series 3000 AW189 full-motion simulator to level-D qualifications. The new simulator will be based at AgustaWestland’s new simulation building at the A. Marchetti Training Academy in Sesto Calende, Italy.
CAE and Brazilian helicopter operator Lider Aviaçao launched a helicopter pilot training program in São Paulo for the Sikorsky S-92. The CAE-Lider Aviaçao joint venture purchased the S-92 simulator late last year, though it was identified at the time only as an undisclosed customer. The S-92 training program under the joint venture will support flight training for all of Lider’s S-92 pilots, as well as those from other helicopter operators in the region.
Shenzhen-based Avion Pacific sold seven Sikorsky S-92s and nine S-76Ds, as well as half a dozen Beechcraft King Airs, in China last year, it announced this week at ABACE 2014. The helicopters will be delivered by year-end. Eight of the S-76s are slated for Chinese government use and one for a private customer. Six of the S-92s will enter oil-and-gas industry service, and one was purchased by a private customer. Avion Pacific’s 50 employees serve a variety of aviation segments in China, with a particular focus on utility helicopters.
With some long-awaited relaxation of the rules governing helicopter operations in China, prospects for the rotorcraft industry at last seem to be firming up. Last year the entire fleet (465 helicopters, 424 based in Mainland China) grew by 20 percent, according to the Asian Sky Group, which in February published the latest edition of its Greater China Civil Helicopter Fleet Report.
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