The Eurocopter X3 hybrid made its record-breaking speed run just 10 days before the opening of the Paris Air Show, so it was not surprising that the EADS company brought both the unique aircraft and its crew to the Le Bourget biennial event. On June 7, the X3 flew at 255 knots in level flight and 263 knots in a dive, besting the previous record set by the Sikorsky X2 in September 2010 (250 knots level and 260 knots in descent).
The German defense ministry ordered 15 Eurocopter EC645T2 light utility helicopters worth €194 million. They will be used by the Kommando Spezialkraefte, Germany’s Special Forces Command. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2015 and run through mid-2017.
Preliminary Report: Turboprop Accident in Nepal #1
De Havilland Canada DHC-6, Jomsom Airport (VNJS), Nepal, May 16, 2013–The Twin Otter was destroyed while landing at Nepal’s Jomsom Airport, seriously injuring six of 21 people aboard. Operated in regular passenger service by Nepal Airlines, the twin turboprop skidded off the airport’s 1,742-foot runway, traveled down a nearby slope and came to rest on the banks of the Kali Gandaki River.
Preliminary Report: Turboprop Accident in Nepal #2
Making its Paris Air Show debut is the Russian Helicopters/Kamov Ka-62, a 6,500-kg mtow, 15-passenger helicopter in the same class as the AgustaWestland AW139, Eurocopter EC155 and Sikorsky S-76 series. The mockup made it first appearance on the international show circuit at last year’s Farnborough Air Show.
The FAA has proposed an Airworthiness Directive for the Eurocopter AS332C, AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2 and EC225LP. It requires inspecting the intermediate gearbox (IGB) fairing for a crack and inspecting the IGB fairing gutter, if installed, for a crack, separation or interference.
The FAA adopted an airworthiness directive for Eurocopter Deutschland MBB-Kawasaki BK117C2 helicopters requiring inspection of the long tail-rotor drive shaft assembly for blind rivets. If any blind rivets are located, the shaft assembly must be replaced. The AD was prompted by the discovery that some helicopters have blind rivets installed in place of solid rivets, which could lead to failure of the tail rotor drive shaft and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
On April 9, the NTSB held a public meeting to discuss the crash of a LifeNet helicopter in Mosby, Mo., on Aug. 26, 2011. The Eurocopter AS350B2 ran out of fuel, according to the NTSB, and the pilot failed “to successfully enter an autorotation when the engine lost power due to fuel exhaustion.” What the pilot did not do, the Board explained, is move the cyclic control aft when the engine failed.
An MD369A helicopter pilot was seriously injured April 2 during a hard landing on private property in Darby, Mont. The three passengers aboard received minor injuries. The rotorcraft was destroyed when its engine failed to respond to throttle inputs at 10 feet above the ground. The tail rotor, tailboom and all main rotor blades separated from the helicopter on impact.
The FAA has adopted a new Airworthiness Directive (AD) for all AgustaWestland A109, A109A, A109A II, A109C, A109K2, A109E, A109S and A119 helicopters. It was prompted by the failure of the tail rotor pitch control link assembly on an A109E, caused by a production defect. The AD requires inspecting the link assembly for freedom of movement and taking corrective action if rotation resistance or binding occurs.
The heat is on the Bell Helicopter 429, thanks to an STC issued to Tanis Aircraft Products for a complete heli-preheat system for the light twin-engine helicopter.