In the wake of an NTSB recommendation that urges the use of terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS) in aeromedical helicopter operations, the technology appears to be getting a closer look from the rotorcraft community.
Eurocopter AS 350BA, Panamint Spring, Calif., Dec. 30, 2004–The NTSB blamed the accident, which occurred during the filming of a car commercial, on “the pilot’s misjudged lateral distance from a mountainside and failure to maintain an adequate clearance from terrain and obstacles while performing a low-altitude filming maneuver.” During the filming in Death Valley National Park, the AS 350’s main rotor blades hit a mountain.
Eurocopter AS 350-B2, Nuiqsut, Alaska, Aug. 21, 2006–The commercial pilot of the AS 350, the sole occupant, was killed when it crashed into a lake in marginal and deteriorating weather conditions.
Quebec-based avionics manufacturer Amphitech International last month received limited Canadian STC approval to install its OASys wire- and obstacle-detection radar aboard a Eurocopter AS 350B3 Ecureuil. The helicopter, operated by Heli-Express, was to embark on an eastern U.S.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is generally seen as the next big market for the helicopter industry–OEMs, operators, training schools and maintenance operations alike. But can we expect the skies over China to be black with whirling blades any time soon?
The only survivor of an August 10 sightseeing helicopter crash at the Grand Canyon has filed suit against Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters of Grand Canyon, Ariz., its four principals and a mechanic, as well as American Eurocopter (maker of the AS 350B2 helicopter), Turbomeca Engine Corp. and Zuni LLC, a Washington-based helicopter retailer.
Eurocopter AS 350B2, Juneau, Alaska, Aug. 16, 2007–The door of the Northstar Trekking AS 350 opened on takeoff from Juneau International and the helicopter made a hard landing. Damage to the helicopter was reported as substantial. The pilot and five passengers were not injured.
Air-tour operator Blue Hawaiian Helicopters has ordered four more Eurocopter EC 130B4s to augment its existing fleet of eight AS 350B2 AStars and nine EcoStars. Blue Hawaiian began operations on Maui in 1985 with one helicopter and today is the state’s largest helicopter tour company. The company was the launch customer for the EcoStar in 2001.
The July 27 fatal midair of two television news helicopters over Phoenix has prompted the industry and federal regulators to re-examine the sector’s operating procedures, including the practices of using a combination single pilot/on-air reporter and allowing multiple news helicopters to cover police chases.
Denver-based Air Methods Corporation has reached a definitive agreement to acquire all of FSS Airholdings’ stock, the parent company of medical helicopter provider CJ Systems. CJ operates 113 medevac helicopters and fixed wing aircraft and employs 800 nationwide. The deal is valued at $25 million and is expected to close by the end of October. Last year FSS posted a net income of $1.2 million on revenue of $128.8 million.