Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services North America (HS-NA), a subsidiary of Vector Aerospace, has signed a five-year, exclusive MRO support contract with Blackcomb Aviation, a privately owned helicopter and jet charter company.
Certification of the EC145T2, an upgraded version of Eurocopter’s light twin, is now expected next spring rather than this year, as originally planned. Program leader Manfred Merk attributed the delay to longer-than-expected aerodynamic and avionics development work.
“It took us one month to solve a problem that was appearing in sideways flight,” Merk said. The helicopter was shaking, a certification red flag, so the engineers recontoured the edge of the vertical tail fin and the mod proved successful.
Eurocopter is now anticipating that its EC145T2, an upgraded version of the EC145 light twin, will be certified next spring, instead of by year-end. Head of program Manfred Merk told AIN that the first delivery is now slated for the middle of next year.
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.
China-based Avicopter has delivered the first three AC311 Air Sprites. The six-seat light single can be powered by a Honeywell LTS101-700D-2 or a license-produced Turbomeca Arriel 2B1A. Its mtow is 4,850 pounds and endurance claimed to be four hours. The helicopter received its Chinese certification last year. The AC311 resembles the Eurocopter Ecureuil/AStar.
Turbomeca (Booth No. C3901) is ramping up production of its turboshaft engines this year. Simultaneously, the company’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) activity is growing, too. In new developments, Turbomeca is busy with helicopter engine upgrades to the Arriel family and the new TM800 that will power the Eurocopter X4 medium twin.
The EASA has certified the Turbomeca Arriel 2E turboshaft; it will power the Eurocopter EC145T2, currently still undergoing certification flight-testing. The 950-shp (takeoff power) engine is scheduled to enter service by year-end. The Arriel 2E, an upgrade of the Arriel 1E2, benefits from a new axial compressor and new blade material. Time between overhaul is also improved, at 4,000 hours initially and a target 6,000 hours “at maturity.”
China’s CAAC certified the Avicopter AC311 light-single helicopter last Thursday. In announcing the approval, the Chinese helicopter manufacturer also released more performance numbers, including a 131-knot max cruise speed, four-hour maximum endurance and 335-nm maximum range.
The Avicopter AC311 light single-engine utility helicopter had its type certification “recommended” under China’s approval procedures last month. The Civil Aviation Administration of China’s (CAAC) type certification examination committee recommended issuance of the type certificate in a meeting held on May 4 in Beijing.
At a Sunday morning press event, Turbomeca chairman and CEO Olivier Andriès listed the French turbine engine manufacturer’s 2011 successes, including a recovery in production numbers from the 2010 low of 800. Turbomeca delivered 950 turboshaft engines last year, and expects to produce approximately 1,100 before the end of 2012.
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