Consolidation among European helicopter operators continues, with Heliportugal joining forces with French operator SAF Helicap, creating a fleet of nearly 50 aircraft.
A Eurocopter AS 350 helicopter crashed at the Tarnos, France factory of engine maker Turbomeca on March 26, killing company test pilot Eric Fortier, 41, and logistics support chief, Bruno Vallois, 60. Four passengers were seriously injured after the single-engine helicopter crashed into a warehouse at the site, which is in southwest France.
In aviation, like most other industries, success breeds regulation. The bigger an industry becomes, the more the government perceives the need to regulate it, often citing reasons such as safety, unfair competition and environmental protection. Yet, in typical Darwinian fashion, most industries adapt–or die. In aviation, hush kits quiet noisier jet engines, airplanes are made RVSM compatible and helicopters are flown neighborly.
The Brazilian city of São Paulo lies south of the equator, straddling the Tropic of Capricorn, and is about as far east as the southern tip of Greenland. It is the homely sister to its more famous neighbor, Rio de Janeiro, which lies about 330 nm to the east and is considered by many to be the most beautiful city in the world. According to a popular Brazilian saying, Rio is for leisure while São Paulo is for work.
With fires in Colorado and Arizona consuming more than 500,000 acres of forest earlier this summer and other wildfires burning three million acres across the U.S. as of July 4, Evergreen Helicopters Inc. (EHI) of McMinnville, Ore., scrambled to keep crews in action to meet Forest Service and international fire-suppression needs.
Eurocopter AS 350B2, South Padre Island, Texas, Feb. 5, 2008–The ATP-rated pilot-in-command, a flight nurse and a paramedic were killed when the EMS helicopter, operated by Metro Aviation, crashed into the water while maneuvering for approach in night VMC.
EUROCOPTER AS 350-B2, MEADVIEW, ARIZ., AUG. 10, 2001–At 2:28 p.m. MST Eurocopter helicopter N169PA, operating as Papillon 34, crashed during an uncontrolled descent about four miles east of Meadview. The helicopter was operated by Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters as an air-tour flight under FAR Part 135. The instrument-rated commercial pilot and five passengers were killed, and one remaining passenger was seriously injured.
The fatal crash on September 20 of an American Eurocopter AStar operated by Las Vegas air-tour operator Sundance Helicopters killed all six of the rotorcraft’s passengers, as well as the helicopter’s pilot, Takashi Mezaki, 45. The single-turbine helicopter crashed and burst into flames in the Grand Canyon near Meadview, Ariz., about the same vicinity where another AStar–flown by Papillon Air Tours–crashed on Aug. 10, 2001, killing six people.
News-gathering service Helicopters, Inc., announced this week that it acquired the assets of Los Angeles-based Helinet Aviation, including 14 Eurocopter AS 350s and two Bell 206B3s.
Air ambulance operator Guardian Flight has purchased its first helicopter, a Soloy-modified Eurocopter AS 350BA, on display here at the Soloy Aviation Solutions booth (No. 713). The Soloy SD1 modification replaces the AS 350’s original Turbomeca Arriel engine with a Honeywell LTS101-600A-3A. Guardian Flight is headquartered in Fairbanks, Alaska, with satellite bases in Ketchikan, Dutch Harbor and Sitka.