The EASA has certified the FastFin tail rotor enhancement and stability system for the Bell 205. It follows recent certification for the Bell 212, and Bell 412 certification is under way. “With FastFin, most operators will receive between a 10- and 90-percent increase in useful load depending on specific model and density altitude,” said Dave Marone, vice president of sales and marketing for BLR Aerospace.
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.
Given how critical the tail rotor is to basic helicopter flight, it is difficult to believe that ground-breaking NASA research on tail-rotor effectiveness (and the loss thereof) could languish in a filing cabinet at the Langley research center for nearly two decades. But it happened.
Rotor blade manufacturer Van Horn Aviation (VHA) of Tempe, Arizona (Booth No. 9651) is unveiling a prototype of its new Bell 412/212 tail-rotor blade here at Heli-Expo. Designed by VHA in collaboration with Bell Helicopter Textron, the new tail-rotor blade is predicted to increase tail-rotor authority while reducing pilot workload and eliminating inspections required by the current blade’s airworthiness directive (AD).
Sikorsky is now anticipating FAA certification of the S-434 light single for early next year, slightly later than the previous target date, which was this month. An improved Schweizer S-333, the S-434 sports a four-blade rotor, a new tail-rotor blade design, a structurally enhanced landing gear, a new trim system and an improved Kaflex driveshaft. The main rotor and its transmission come from the unmanned Fire Scout. The S-434 and the S-333 use the same Rolls-Royce 205-C20W turboshaft, which provides 320 shp.
Swiss company Unmanned Systems is showing a model of its Orca rotary-wing unmanned air vehicle for the first time here at Dubai. The Orca employs a revolutionary tip-jet propulsion method that not only improves performance in many key areas, but also overcomes many of the operational problems encountered with conventional propulsion methods.
Eurocopter expects its participation in this year’s Dubai Air Show to underscore its competitiveness in the Middle East, as well as the EADS subsidiary company’s dedication to a continued local presence through partnerships and cooperation.
Eurocopter is upgrading most of its product range, with the goal of providing improved performance and reduced costs. The manufacturer is reporting progress on the developments of the AS350B3e Ecureuil (AStar), EC135T2e/P2e, EC145T2, AS365N3e and Super Puma L1e/C1e. All were announced at Heli-Expo 2011 in February.
Bell unit Aeronautical Accessories is offering four new kits for preflight, courtesy and baggage compartment lighting as well as a rotor camera kit. The preflight kit is designed to make inspection of the four fluid levels (hydraulic reservoir, oil tank, tail-rotor gearbox and transmission) easier during pilot walk-around inspection or anytime fluid levels need to be checked. Each light has its own switch and battery.
The Eurocopter AS350B3e, the latest version of the venerable Ecureuil/Astar light single helicopter, was certified in June, the company announced last week. A more powerful 950-shp Turbomeca Arriel 2D (in lieu of the 848-shp Arriel 2C1), features a new axial compressor, new blade material and a dual-channel Fadec. It is said to provide better performance for less fuel consumption.