The European Aviation Safety Agency in late August certified the Eurocopter EC 225 twin-turbine helicopter for unrestricted operations in icing conditions. To be able to fly in such conditions, the 11-ton, $17 million helicopter is fitted with an optional duplex-architecture protection system. The five main rotor blades are deiced cyclically by mats heated by metal resistors.
Eurocopter and its Chinese partner Harbin Aircraft are designing a new medium twin helicopter, dubbed the EC 175, to fill the gap between the EC 155 Dauphin and the EC 225 Super Puma. They are to unveil details of the EC 175 design at the Paris Air Show in June. Nevertheless, Eurocopter (Booth No.
Eurocopter AS 350BA, Kapaau, Hawaii, July 12, 2005–The NTSB blamed the crash of the AS 350 on the in-flight separation of the tail-rotor system as a result of a loss of clamp force and fatigue fracturing of the attachment nut plates, likely due to a tail-rotor blade strike during a landing. This resulted in an imbalance and a high-frequency vibration that induced fatigue in the nut plates and caused one bolt to back out.
Lord Corp. (Booth No. 563) has come to Heli-Expo on a mission: to announce to the helicopter world that it’s more than just a parts supplier, it’s a systems integrator.
Poor execution of autorotation landings, onto rough or too-soft terrain and into objects, accounted for a disproportionate number of injuries and deaths in helicopter accidents last year, according to safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. Powerplant, accessory, tail rotor shaft, bearing and gearbox malfunction led to a major portion of those accidents, according to a Breiling report.
Bell 205s, 212s and 412s are the subject of an FAA special airworthiness information bulletin recommending compliance with an Aug. 27, 2002, manufacturer safety notice calling for inspections of the tail rotor at 25-hour intervals to detect excessive corrosion damage. The November 5 bulletin said there have been two tail rotor failures on the Bell 212 and five on the Bell 412 since 2002.
The head of Bell’s new X-Worx center in Arlington, Texas, told AIN that his team is working on a new type of anti-torque device that is “unlike anything you have seen before.”
Bell’s 429 IFR light twin caused quite a stir at its February 2005 launch during the Helicopter Association International show in Anaheim, California. Not only did it replace a machine with a shelf-life of only 11 months–the 427 IFR–but it embodied many features of what the manufacturer has hailed as a new approach to rotorcraft design.
Bell Helicopter recently issued new information letters expressing concern about BLR Aerospace tailboom strakes. Bell issued a similar letter in 1995 when BLR obtained certification for use of tailboom strakes on Bell’s line of medium helicopters.
Some two years after the Eurocopter EC 145 entered service, it seems customers have forgotten the problems that delayed the program and caused early operational difficulties. Instead, European helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) providers focus on the positive: they say they like the spacious cabin, significant payload, low noise and the extensive certified equipment.