The NTSB has opened the docket on the Dec. 7, 2011, fatal accident involving a Las Vegas tour helicopter. The Eurocopter AS350B2, operated by Sundance Helicopters, crashed in mountainous terrain approximately 14 miles east of Las Vegas. The pilot and four passengers were killed.
RTE (Réseau de Transport d’Electricité), the company managing France’s network of electric power lines, took delivery of its second medium twin, a Eurocopter EC225, last month. It recently created a new subsidiary, Airtelis, that offers specialized aerial-work operations to third parties. In more than 250,000 flight hours over decades of operations, RTE claims to have developed patented techniques to use helicopters in power-line building, maintenance and surveillance.
Saab Electronic Defense Systems is introducing Rigs, a lightweight, compact, enhanced-vision product for business aircraft and helicopters that can display navigation, attitude, flight, reticle and video information to the crew in a head-up display (HUD) presentation. Its open-system architecture makes Rigs ideal for integration into a variety of forward-looking infrared, flight data display and avionics suites.
Munich, Germany-based operator MHS Aviation is here at EBACE 2012 (Stand 749) promoting its renewed portfolio of aircraft, including its recent acquisition of two pre-owned Dornier 328-100 turboprops, each seating 32 passengers. “For the last 12 months, we have seen an increase in the demand for group travel of up to 30 passengers,” said Frank Steitz, director of charter sales.
Eurocopter India’s first three orders for 2012 are for corporate-configured helicopters. An AS350B3e AStar/Ecureuil will be delivered this year to G.R. Constructions. This year, too, a six-passenger EC135 and a nine-passenger EC155 will be delivered to two undisclosed customers. The sales were announced at the India Aviation 2012 show in Hyderabad.
Eurocopter is anticipating a ramp-up in the production of the EC225 and the AS350 Ecureuil by 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively, at its factory in Marignane, France. For “better reactivity,” it has signed an agreement with Segula Technologies to take over the latter’s “structure assembly” activity in the neighboring city of Aix-en-Provence.
Eurocopter’s three-year effort to revamp its EcoStar was unveiled earlier this year with a strong initial order book for more than 100 helicopters. The company expects certification of the $2.5 million single-engine EC130T2 later this year. “We listened to our customers,” said Janick Blanc, Eurocopter vice president for light helicopter programs.
Apparently, the company got an ear full.
Eurocopter expects to ramp up production of the EC225 medium twin and AS350 Ecureuil light single by 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively, at its Marignane, France factory. For “better reactivity,” it has signed an agreement with Segula Technologies to take over the latter’s “structure assembly” activity in the neighboring city of Aix-en-Provence.
“You want to do full-motion?” asks American Eurocopter simulator instructor Eric King. “We have this bag right here.” King points to a jumbo sick sack between the two pilot positions in the $6 million Eurocopter AS350B2 and AS350B3 Level B simulator at the company’s Grand Prairie, Texas campus. For a fleeting moment, I focus on the pair of sliders I had for lunch at the nearby Krystal. That was probably not the best choice. However, today motion sickness will be the least of my problems.
The French helicopter lobbying association, Union Française de l’Hélicoptère (UFH), is voicing strong and growing concern that ever-stricter operational rules are preventing operators from running a sound business and have already claimed victims among the smallest ones. About 600 commercial and private helicopters currently fly in France, according to the association.