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May 6, 2014
Sikorksy Matrix Technology at AUVSI Unmanned Systems in 2013. Photo by Woodrow Bellamy III It seems like autonomous helicopters or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are all the rage these days. From individual UAVs being turned into package deliverers to a swarm of small quad-copters playing the James Bond theme, it seems like there is no limit to what we’re going to ask these small rotorcraft to do...
May 6, 2014
Technology is, and always will be, one of the cornerstones of Rotor & Wing’s editorial coverage, and the May issue is dedicated to the subject. It is often said that military technology is 10 years ahead of civil/commercial technology. Around 10 years after the cancellation of the Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche program in 2004, the world is experiencing a period where commercial applications are...
May 6, 2014
A trip to one of the many aviation conferences that highlight vertical lift machines will reveal the fast-paced progress of rotorcraft technology. The desire to fly higher, faster, farther, and longer in rotary wing machines has become an increasingly important design point to many large manufacturers. The small Wichita Falls, Texas-based aviation research and development firm of Carter Aviation...
May 6, 2014
On April 8, Gen. Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau, seemed to have conceded to the Senate Armed Services Committee what was always going to be an unwinnable fight against the sequestration-caused reshaping of U.S. Army Aviation; that the Guard could not keep its Boeing Apaches. The Guard will hand over its 192 AH-64 Apaches to the regular force while gaining 111 Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks in...
May 5, 2014
The U.S. Navy has unveiled a $100-million program to fund the development of newer, more autonomous helicopter drones. The program aims to further reduce the need to have a trained aviator in the loop. Unlike current unmanned systems, the new technology will be expected to solve operational problems at landing zones, such as blowing debris and unforeseen obstacles, without on-site or remote...
May 5, 2014
The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) has released a follow-up report to its initial helicopter accident analysis from 2011. The report, conducted by the U.S. Joint Helicopter Implementation Measurement Data Analysis Team (JHIMDAT), analyzes U.S. civil helicopter accidents from 2009 to 2011, and...
May 2, 2014
As LA County Fire transitioned into its first two standard model 412s, we suffered from a series of issues with the Sperry automatic flight control system (AFCS). Sperry had been brought out, teeth had been ground, swear words had been used, but the answer to why the aircraft would occasionally get uncommanded tail rotor inputs was only partially understood. We were working through this problem...
May 1, 2014
Lee Benson is a retired helicopter pilot who’s flying career started in Vietnam with the U.S. Army and concluded as Chief Pilot for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Lee’s 15,500 hours of flying and 40 years of military, commercial and government flying operations afford him a very broad background in the helicopter world. In 2008 he started a consulting company and is contracted to...
May 1, 2014
Victor Novikov Russian Helicopters has made numerous announcements and appointments in recent weeks.Victor Novikov is now managing director for Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise, which is part of Russian Helicopters. Kumertau produces co-axial helicopters including Ka-27, Ka-31 and Ka-226s. Novikov was previously with DBA Engineering as deputy CEO. He replaces Sergei Mikryukov who had been in the...
May 1, 2014
Another Royal Air Force (RAF) Chinook pilot, Flight Lt. Charlie Lockyear, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for operations in Afghanistan with Master Aircrew (MACR) Bob Sunderland receiving a Mention in Dispatches during the same action. While on a mission in May 2013 to...
April 30, 2014
Synthetic vision systems, such Rockwell Collins’ Helisure, can be an invaluable feature for pilots who must fly in mountainous terrain where visibility can be reduced by clouds and precipitation with little advanced warning. Photo courtesy of Rockwell Collins Helicopter avionics have changed dramatically in the past 10 years. Technology that was once reserved for military fighters, corporate jets and...
April 30, 2014
Elsewhere in this issue of Rotor & Wing you may have read my piece on synthetic vision systems (SVS). As I was compiling it, the point was driven home that glass cockpits rule the day. Sure, they all have a primary display containing basic flight instrumentation, such as an airspeed indicator and altimeter. But it’s the other portions of the system that can be tailored to the needs of the...
April 29, 2014
Loading the Seahawk in preparation for MH370 search The Royal Australian Navy Sikorsky S-70B2 Seahawk joined the international search mission for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia. On March 28, a Royal Australian Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster transported the Seahawk from HMAS Albatross, Nowra, NSW, to RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia, from where the...
April 29, 2014
One of six Sea Kings in transit through Nowra. Photo courtesy Australian Navy The Royal Australian Navy’s last six Westland Sea Kings have been removed from storage at HMAS Albatross, Nowra, NSW, and transported to Port Kembla for export to the UK, where they will be broken up for parts by Aerospace Logistics (ASL). The Sea Kings were withdrawn from RAN service in December 2011 and replaced by the MRH-90...
April 28, 2014
AW609 rotors tilting. Photo by Ernie Stephens The idea of a flying machine that will take off and land vertically, then achieve airplane speeds, has been around since the development of engine-driven aircraft. Several designs have been toyed with, but arguably the most successful have fallen into one of two categories: a hybrid using a main rotor and propellers, or vectored thrust (i.e., a tilting rotor)...
April 28, 2014
Airbus Helicopters has reached a framework agreement with Avicopter covering a thousand EC175. Photo courtesy of Airbus Helicopters Airbus Helicopters has reached an agreement with China’s Avicopter to jointly produce 1,000 new...
April 28, 2014
With an increase in the number of vessels entering the polar circle in the Arctic, most search and rescue (SAR) specialists agree it is a matter of when, not if, an accident happens that will put many lives in grave danger. The point was made by several speakers at the start of IQPC’s Search and Rescue Europe conference (April 8-9) held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Maj. Gen. Stig Nielsen, commander...
April 25, 2014
Mark Gassaway, founder and president of Aerocomputers, passed away on Monday, March 17. He will be missed by his many friends in the aviation community. Mark was both a pilot and an engineer. These combined interests led to the foundation of Aerocomputers...
April 24, 2014
S-70B Seahawk launches as a refueling probe is transferred while both ships are deployed in search of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Photo courtesy of RAN Two recent tragic incidents have revealed the challenges of searching for, and rescuing people from, aircraft or vessels that get into difficulties in the maritime environment. In the case of Malaysian Airlines MH370, the challenge was actually tracking...
April 9, 2014
With an increase in the number of vessels entering the polar circle in the Arctic, most search and rescue (SAR) specialists agree it is a matter of when, not if, an accident happens then many lives will be in grave danger. The point was being made by several speakers at the start of IQPC’s Search and Rescue Europe conference (April 8-9) held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Maj. Gen. Stig Nielsen, commander...
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