Vector Aerospace has signed a five-year agreement to conduct maintenance, repair and overhaul on the AS350 and UH-1H helicopters in operation with California’s Orange County Sheriff’s Department. “Signing this contract highlights Vector’s ability to provide tip-to-tail MRO support for AS350 fleets,” said Chris McDowell, vice president for sales and marketing at Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services – North America.
The Thales Training Academy in Albertville, France, has received EASA qualification to operate a flight simulation training device, anointing it as the first European facility to operate a full flight simulator (FFS) for the Airbus Helicopters AS350 Ecureuil. The Reality H simulator holds a dual qualification: FFS level B and flight training device level 3. Located in the Alps next to SAF’s EC135 FFS, the training center caters to aerial work operators.
The Latin American market in general, and Brazil in particular, continue to be red-hot markets for rotorcraft manufacturers, driven by government sales and the expansion of the regional offshore energy market, especially in Mexico and Brazil. Altogether, the market represents 9.8 percent of global demand–but that number is increasing fast.
Three Chinese general aviation operators signed orders and commitments with Airbus Helicopters yesterday for 123 light singles and twins, including AS350s, EC130s and EC135s. Fujian Xinmei General Aviation (GAC) will be acquiring five AS350B3es, to be delivered this year. The company, which focuses on agricultural and utility work, has committed to another 50 light singles and twins over the next six years.
Mid Atlantic Sim Center, a newly formed helicopter training organization in Iceland, has signed an agreement with simulator manufacturer Indra for Europe’s first level-D full-flight simulator for the Airbus Helicopters AS350. Plans call for the FAA-/EASA-certified device, convertible between the B2 and B3 models, to be operational at the company’s new facility in Reykjavik in the first quarter of 2016.
The FAA has issued an NPRM to supersede airworthiness directive 2013-21-01, which currently applies to the Airbus Helicopters AS350B/BA/B1/B2/B3/C/D/D1 and AS355E/F/F1/F2/N/NP. The current AD requires certain inspections of each tail-rotor pitch horn assembly for a crack and, if there is a crack, replacing the pitch horn with an airworthy pitch horn before further flight. It also requires a one-time visual inspection for pitch horns above certain hours time-in-service (TIS).
The pilot of a Papillon Airways air-tour Airbus AS350B3 was killed May 18 at a helistop at the bottom of the Grand Canyon after exiting the helicopter for a fluid check while leaving the engine running and the blades turning, according to an NTSB preliminary report issued on Tuesday. Witnesses said the empty helicopter then became airborne, hit the ground and rolled over. Its rotor blades struck and killed the pilot.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada last week published a final report on the January 2012 crash of an Airbus Helicopters AS350B3 operated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The pilot was killed after the engine failed while the helicopter was hovering at an altitude of 80 feet above the ground.
The NTSB has begun trying to learn what caused the pilot of a Eurocopter AS350B2 to lose control of the newsgathering rotorcraft moments after liftoff from a TV station helipad in downtown Seattle on March 18. The pilot and a TV station photographer were killed in the accident.
NTSB investigators are examining the tail-rotor drive assembly following the fatal crash of a 2003 Airbus Helicopters AS350B2–registered as N250FB–that plunged from its sixth-floor helipad to a Seattle street on Tuesday morning. Pilot Gary Pfitzner, 59, and cameraman Bill Strothman, 62, were killed in the crash, and a person on the ground was seriously injured.
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