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August 1, 2006
U.S. Army Choice of EADS LUH Bid Boosts Globalization The U.S. Army's choice of a European-led team to provide its next-generation light utility helicopter is widely seen as a crucial validation of globalization in the rotorcraft industry. Two critical questions arise. First, can the Army afford the purchase of up to 352 aircraft envisioned when it named Eurocopter's EC145 the winner of a four-helicopter...
July 1, 2006
U.S. Office Faults Proposed Visa Changes Foes of proposed changes to U.S. visa rules for foreign students seeking flight training won support from a notable source--an office of the U.S. government itself. "Mindful that there are important security implications associated with this proposed rule," particularly with respect to foreign nationals training to be pilots, the Office of Advocacy of the...
July 1, 2006
Back-to-back hurricanes along the U.S. Gulf Coast showed how tough and resilient law enforcement aviation units can be. They also showed where the weakest links were. Faster, more powerful helicopters, hoists, datalink cameras and more effective radios are topping the wish list for U.S. law enforcement aviation units following last year's devastating hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. To say that Hurricanes...
July 1, 2006
In addition to keeping in close formation 10,000 parts that want to fly apart, law enforcement helicopter crews must be braced to deal with the antics of the bad guys, from gunshots and lasers to hand-flung rocks and fireworks. Here's how one agency meets that challenge. In the aviation unit of a major metropolitan police force such as that of New York City, the work can be nonstop. From regular patrols...
July 1, 2006
Russian helicopter operators badly need to modernize their fleet of aging Soviet-built rotorcraft. As domestic oil and gas companies steadily increase exploration and research work, commercial helicopter operators accumulate cash to procure Western equipment. While Russian private and corporate operators are increasing their fleet of Western-built helicopters, domestic commercial operators are still stuck...
July 1, 2006
Law enforcement operators want more capability to convey from the air information on what's going on on the ground without paying much more for the gear needed for that work. Airborne law enforcement units are looking to balance a constant demand for greater capability to support command and control of crime, emergency and homeland security sites with ever-present budget constraints. Vendors are responding...
July 1, 2006
Sikorsky Taps Schweizer Again, Now to Speed Production Sikorsky Aircraft is turning to its Schweizer Aircraft subsidiary to help it speed military aircraft production lines as it prepares to deliver more than 1,700 H-60 Black Hawk and Naval Hawk variants to the U.S. military alone in coming years. The move comes as the Stratford, Conn. helicopter maker is struggling to overcome the effects of a six-week...
June 1, 2006
A Military View of Katrina's Lessons Military support of the Katrina disaster was organized under Joint Task Force Katrina. The findings outlined below are a few of the nuggets captured by U.S. Air Force rescue crews for future homeland defense support planning. Units from across the U.S. deployed to Jackson, Miss. to assist. Many ended up acting as separate sub-units rather than as a collective, whole...
June 1, 2006
Insurance Tumult Means Consumer Gains, Problems for Safety Initiatives Insurance companies will soon be fighting for helicopter operators' business, driving premiums down and pumping more underwriting dollars into the market, according a top aviation insurance broker. Larry Mattiello, president of the brokerage Airsure Limited, said musical chairs among top insurance executives and the high level of...
May 1, 2006
With the exception of Frank Robinson, a common refrain at Heli-Expo was "I could sell every helicopter I can build. I just can't build them fast enough." Not that anyone's really complaining. Heli-Expo 2006 in some ways felt more like an NBAA Show than the annual rotorcraft gathering. The exhibit floor was packed with attendees and most exhibitors reported a steady stream of high-quality visitors...
May 1, 2006
Times Are Changing Change is afoot in many aspects of the rotorcraft industry in Australia. Australian Defence Force Chinooks have begun operations in Afghanistan as the leadership eyes transforming the military to a fast, hard-hitting, flexible force. On the civilian side, the nation's aviation regulator is pushing night-vision goggles and other safety initiatives. Most recently, the leadership of the...
May 1, 2006
May 1, 2005 After years of dabbling in airborne use of force with a single dedicated unit of eight aircraft, the U.S. Coast Guard is fully embracing that mission and plans to upgrade all of its helicopters to perform it. Capt. William W. Peterson, the Coast Guard's chief of aviation forces, told the Federal Chapter of the American Helicopter Society International in Washington that the service will replace...
April 1, 2006
Vortex Helicopters Recovers, Relocates Its battering by Hurricane Katrina last year helped convince Vortex Helicopters to relocate from Long Beach, Miss. to New Iberia, La. The flight school's decision was made easier by tax breaks and other incentives from New Iberia's economic development agency, which had been wooing owners Joe and Mary Sheeran, and by the new site's collocation with Air Logistics...
April 1, 2006
Three Stripes, You're Out Just a few weeks ago, one of my newest pilots was promoted to sergeant and transferred back to a patrol station. To Dave's credit, he didn't kick and scream, but he certainly mumbled a variety of words that I can't spell, let alone print here. As for me, I was banging my head on the desk trying to figure out why it was necessary to banish a valuable pilot to District 3 patrol. My...
April 1, 2006
A Three-Horse Race for LUH? Is LUH a three-horse race now? After MD Helicopters' presentations at Heli-Expo, I have to believe so. The head of the company essentially said that her supply chain is in a shambles, with suppliers trying to hoodwink her on prices without committing to parts volumes or delivery schedules that she needs to satisfy customers. She went on to say that she will find suppliers who...
March 1, 2006
The question remains: When will we learn? Two weeks shy of the fourth anniversary of terrorist attacks that had U.S. politicians of every ilk clamoring for greater domestic defense against threats manmade and natural, little more than a year after an emergency-management simulation essentially predicted massive flooding of New Orleans in the wake of a Category 4 hurricane, just eight months after an Indian...
March 1, 2006
Jensen was to assume new duties in Washington as the U.S. Army National Guard's aviation operations and training branch chief at the Joint Readiness Center in early September. Instead, he spent four days heading an ad-hoc flight operations team coordinating activities around New Orleans as the flight operations officer at the downtown heliport at the Superdome, for what would become Task Force Eagle. My...
March 1, 2006
  Mary Lynn   Before Katrina struck Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, it wreaked havoc on vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. Massello and his HH-60 Jayhawk crew from CGAS Clearwater, Fla. were among those who came to their aid. For one mission, Massello and crew were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. An honor normally given for heroism in combat, it recognizes "extraordinary achievement...
March 1, 2006
O'Brien was stationed in Nashville with the 105th Airlift Sqdn. of the 118th Airlift Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard at the time Katrina hit New Orleans. He spent a good portion of his time in New Orleans working among the many helicopters ferrying storm and flood victims to the military triage center at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. The San Antonio, Texas native and Air Force...
March 1, 2006
Heroes, One Solution and One Mess This month finds America examining its response--or lack thereof--to Hurricane Katrina. As that occurs, we can draw comfort that the helicopter community is applying lessons learned from that storm by increasing the understanding and appreciation of rotorcraft and their capabilities. One recent event unrelated to Katrina reminds us of how big a challenge that remains. We...
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