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.
While broadcasting a police chase on July 27 over Phoenix, a pair of Eurocopter AS350-B2 helicopters collided when their pilots apparently lost sight of each other, killing both pilot/reporters and their cameramen. The dead were identified as KNXV Channel 15 pilot/reporter Craig Smith and his cameraman, Rick Krolak, and KTVK Channel 3 pilot/reporter Scott Bowerbank and his cameraman, Jim Cox.
Eurocopter logged orders for 114 civil and military helicopters worth E1.2 billion at this year’s Paris Air Show and says it is on track to sell 700 helicopters this year. This summer the company also logged more orders from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which bought eight additional American Eurocopter AS 350B3 AStars in July.