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.
While observing its 70th anniversary on the eve of Heli-Expo 2008, Turbomeca opened a Saturday afternoon press conference with outgoing chairman and chief executive officer Emeric d’Arcimoles introducing his soon-to-be successor, current Turbomeca executive vice president Pierre Fabre. The latter will assume leadership of the French helicopter engine manufacturer on March 31.
Soloy has received the 100th LTS101 turboshaft from Honeywell for the Olympia, Wash. company’s Eurocopter AS 350 engine conversion program. Soloy Aviation Solutions and Honeywell inked a pact for AStar AS 350BA and AS 350B2 re-
engining in 2004.
After acquiring Skyforce, a small UK-based avionics company, in 1998, AlliedSignal (now Honeywell) focused on the European market for the helicopter mission management systems that became Skyforce’s forte. Skyforce transitioned into Honeywell’s Mission Systems business and now the company is expanding its mission management system offerings to U.S. law enforcement and public service markets.
Turbomeca, the French helicopter turbine engine manufacturer, predicts the helicopter market overall will experience continued strong growth for the next two years before cooling somewhat. In that span, the company will be working overtime to keep up with demand.