Eurocopter AS 350-B3, Yellow Pine, Idaho, Aug. 13, 2006–The AS 350 was destroyed and the commercial pilot and three passengers killed when the helicopter crashed 18 miles west of Yellow Pine. The helicopter was being operated by Evergreen Helicopters, of McMinnville, Ore., under contract to the U.S. Forest Service. The helicopter had flown from Krassel Helibase to take a relief fire lookout to Williams Peak lookout tower.
The market for executive/VIP helicopters is growing, according to Eurocopter representatives here at EBACE, but the biggest challenge to sales is still cultural.
French executive charter operator and broker Aviaxess has launched what it claims to be the first frequent-flier loyalty program in the business aviation market. It is promoting the new Aviacard here at the EBACE show at the exhibit of Helicoptere Magazine (Booth No. 586) Aviacard is intended to provide incentives for occasional users of business aircraft to become more frequent charter clients.
Eurocopter AS 350BA AStar, Princeville, Hawaii, March 8, 2007–Four people were killed and the Heli-USA Airways AStar was substantially damaged following loss of control while it was landing at Princeville Airport. VMC had prevailed for the 45-minute air-tour flight.
Canadian firm Heli-Lynx Helicopter Services launched the TwinStar 355FX mod at Heli-Expo last month. The program, which has received Transport Canada approval and was awaiting FAA certification at press time, essentially modifies an IFR Eurocopter AS 355F2 TwinStar into a twin-engine version of the VFR AS 350 AStar.
A deluge of orders for new helicopters during HAI’s Heli-Expo, held in Las Vegas last month, surprised even seasoned industry watchers on the floor. By the end of the show’s second day, an estimated 110 airframes, conservatively worth $600 million, had been spoken for by domestic and international customers.
Avionics makers highlighted a number of intriguing technologies for helicopters at last month’s Heli-Expo in Orlando, Fla., none more buzz-worthy than the synthetic-vision system (SVS) concepts unveiled by Thales and Honeywell.
Soloy Aviation Solutions of Olympia, Wash., announced at its booth (No. 3019) that it sold 10 of its AS 350SD2 conversion kits to Heliproducts Industries of British Columbia.
Jet Source, a Part 145 avionics installation and airframe maintenance facility at McClellan-Palomar Airport (CRQ) in Carlsbad, Calif., has completed installing law enforcement equipment in the second of four San Diego Police Eurocopter AS 350B-3s, according to the company. The package is night-vision goggle capable and includes a Max-Viz infrared enhanced-vision system, Avalex moving map and a custom-designed radio command suite.