Air Methods, the largest helicopter EMS provider in the U.S., continued its foray into the air-tour business last week when it signed an agreement to acquire Blue Hawaiian Helicopters for an undisclosed sum. Blue Hawaiian operates a mixed fleet of 24 Eurocopter EC130s and AS350s and operates tours on five of Hawaii’s six islands. Blue Hawaiian posted revenues of $47 million in 2012.
The FAA has begun its investigation into the cause of a fatal Eurocopter AS350B3 crash in an open field near Somerville, Tenn., on October 22. The helicopter was on an emergency medical services flight at the time of the accident. The pilot and two pediatric nurses aboard died in the crash.
A Eurocopter AS350 crashed on September 26 while attempting to land at Lukla Airport near Mount Everest in Nepal. The helicopter caught fire, injuring all four people on board, one critically. The small Lukla helipad, located at 9,325 feet msl, sits next to the airport’s busy 1,500-foot hard-surfaced runway.
American Eurocopter announced several new initiatives at the recent Airborne Law Enforcement Association (ALEA) annual convention, most of them related to how the company supports the more than 200 AS350 AStars in use with U.S. law-enforcement agencies.
Here at LABACE Helibras is displaying the first example of the EC130T2 to arrive in Brazil. This latest version of the helicopter introduces a host of new features that the company hopes will maintain the EC130’s position as the dominant type in the large single-engine marketplace.
Eurocopter has received orders from China’s State Grid General Aviation Company for two AS350B3e AStar/Ecureuils and one EC225. They will be used to support the country’s electric grid development and for other airlift missions. The B3e light singles will be delivered late this year. Handover of the EC225 is scheduled for 2015. Eurocopter has also signed contracts with Japan’s National Police Agency for one EC155B1, one AS365N3+ and two EC135P2es to replace aging aircraft. Deliveries are scheduled over the 2014-2015 period.
Helipartner Thailand and Eurocopter’s South East Asia affiliate signed an agreement on Tuesday at the Paris Air Show for 10 AS350B3e light-single helicopters for delivery from 2013 to 2015. “After our first AS350B3e delivery in May and its successful leasing in Indonesia, we are delighted to expand our fleet with this new order and pursue our leasing market development with the helicopter type,” said Tisanu Ratanarat, CEO of Helipartner Thailand.
India’s small-but-strategic South Asian neighbors, including Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, will procure around 30 helicopters in different categories in the next five years, according to an internal study conducted by Sikorsky.
While Indian military helicopter procurement plans are for more than 1,000 helicopters by 2020, including light utility, attack, Mi-17 medium transport, heavy-lift and multi-role platforms, even as its GDP grew by over 6 percent last year, Bangladesh has the largest budget for procurement in the Indian periphery.
The NTSB will meet in its Washington, D.C., conference center on Tuesday, April 9, to begin the process of determining the probable cause of an August 2011 helicopter accident. The incident involved a Eurocopter AS350B2 that crashed near the Midwest National Air Center in Mosby, Mo. The pilot, flight nurse, flight paramedic and patient were killed and the helicopter was destroyed.
Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU, Booth No. C2707) announced this week at Heli-Expo ’13 that it recently completed night vision cockpit modifications to a Eurocopter AS350B2 operated by Era Training Center. ASU maintenance director Chris Reber completed the modification on-site at Era’s facility in Lake Charles, La.
“Era Training Center needed its aircraft modified within a short period of time and wanted it done before Heli-Expo,” he said. “Through a collective effort, we streamlined our process and completed the modification in a little more than a month.”