Rotor & Wing Magazine :: Commercial :: Charter Management/Air Taxi

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April 1, 2008
PRODUCTS | AIRFRAMES To kick off Heli-Expo in Houston, Eurocopter unveiled the latest addition to its family: the EC175. The new, 7-9-ton helicopter garnered not only the attention of attendees, but 13 signatures in its order book totaling 111 orders in the three days of the show. U.S.-based Bristow Group and Canada-based VIH Aviation Group were the launch customers for the aircraft, and were part of the...
April 1, 2008
PRODUCTS | AIRFRAMES Heli-Expo 2008’s first day on Feb. 24 proved a busy one for Bell Helicopters. Not only did it celebrate its 50th anniversary with the Los Angeles County Fire Dept., but it signed orders from Brazil’s TAM Airlines and Rotorcraft Leasing Co. for its new Model 429 and other aircraft. Combined with orders taken at the Singapore Air Show, which preceded the Helicopter Assn...
April 1, 2008
PRODUCTS | AIRFRAMES AgustaWestland plans to beef up its popular AW139 to better compete in offshore markets. At Heli-Expo in Houston, the manufacturer said it is working on certification of an 882-lb. (400-kg) increase in the AW139’s max gross weight of 14,991 lb (6,800 kg). That would enable it to carry six passengers to a max range of more than 500 nm (926 km). The increase is intended to help the...
April 1, 2008
COMMERCIAL | SAFETY The FAA’s top helicopter official told Heli-Expo attendees that all night operations should be flown by pilots wearing night-vision goggles (NVGs). "NVGs should be the norm, not the exception," said David Downey, manager of the FAA’s Rotorcraft Directorate. A problem with that, of course, is that NVG installations in civil aircraft in the United States are done almost...
April 1, 2008
COMMERCIAL | SAFETY The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board will hold a three-day forum on the safety of unmanned aircraft systems. The forum will be convened April 29 to May 1 at NTSB Headquarters in Washington. It is intended to help the board and interested parties better understand the safety implications of the growing use of...
April 1, 2008
PRODUCTS | AIRFRAMES Attendees at Heli-Expo in Houston gathered at the Sikorsky Aircraft display area for the unveiling of the first new helicopter design since the company’s 2004 acquisition of Schweizer Aircraft. The helicopter – or more precisely, a scale model of it – that everyone came to see was the S-434. The turbine-powered S-434 (the model of which is shown left) is similar in appearance...
April 1, 2008
PRODUCTS Engine makers Honeywell and Rolls-Royce project a hearty helicopter market worldwide for the next several years. Honeywell is projecting that 4,450 new civil, turbine-powered helicopters will go into service worldwide in the next five years, with corporate, emergency medical services (EMS), and law enforcement customers accounting for more...
April 1, 2008
PRODUCTS | AIRFRAMES Sikorsky Aircraft unveiled its prototype X2 technology demonstrator to attendees at Heli-Expo 2008 Feb. 24 and sought input from potential customers on how they might make use of high-speed helicopters based on that technology. With the X2 program, Sikorsky aims to...
April 1, 2008
PRODUCTS | AIRFRAMES MD Helicopters CEO Lynn Tilton took the podium at Heli-Expo to say the company is well on its way back to a position of power in the industry. But before doing so, she blasted journalists for painting an unfair picture of the company. Tilton’s smile was just as unwavering as her attack on aviation publications for only reporting what she called "bad news," rather than...
April 1, 2008
April 6-9 — AAAA Annual Convention, Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. Contact: AAAA National Office, Phone: 203-268-2450; Fax: 203-268-5870; Web: www.quad-a.org. April 23-26 — Aircraft Electronics Assn 51st Annual International Convention and Trade Show, Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. Contact: Phone: 816-373-6565; Fax...
April 1, 2008
President Bush may have nominated FAA Deputy Administrator Robert Sturgell to head the aviation agency, but his man may never take the post. The nomination as FAA chief requires confirmation by the U.S. Senate, and that body has repeatedly put off hearings toward approving Sturgell for the job. A number of reasons have been rumored. Among them is that labor-friendly Democrats in the Senate are miffed at...
April 1, 2008
Igor Sikorsky, the godfather of the modern helicopter, perhaps summed it up best: "Aeronautics was neither an industry nor a science. It was a miracle." When I served as editor-in-chief of Rotor & Wing during the mid-to-late 1990s, I was always struck by the sheer passion of the people in the helicopter market. Their devotion to rotorcraft made editing this magazine a joy and a privilege. I...
April 1, 2008
Some would argue that rotorcraft engineering is as much an art as a science, and they could muster a compelling defense of that premise.. Take the case of Frank Robinson, the R44 Raven 2 main rotor blade, and the hacksaw. The engineers at Robinson Helicopter Co. were trying to come up with a design that would get more altitude performance out of the R44. They knew one thing they needed was more main rotor...
April 1, 2008
Developers of the X2 Technology Demonstrator are drawing on components and systems from other aircraft to expedite prototyping of the high-speed aircraft. The Sikorsky Aircraft development team has been striving to achieve a first flight of the coaxial main-rotor helicopter, a milestone delayed (due to a variety of factors) by more than a year from the original target of late 2006. Nonetheless, Sikorsky...
April 1, 2008
Patience is probably not considered a virtue by the helicopter operator who is waiting on some aspect of customer support. A review of Rotor & Wing customer perception surveys spanning a decade, however, shows that operators have seen improvements over that time in most areas of airframe makers’ customer support. Hence, our use of the cliché, "Good things come to those who wait"...
April 1, 2008
Eurocopter is adding training capabilities in the United States to respond to long-term market needs and shorter-term opportunities. In the latter category, the manufacturer’s American Eurocopter unit in Grand Prairie, Texas is developing a turbine-transition course targeted at the hundreds of flight instructors thrown out of work by the February shutdown of Silver State Helicopters and its network...
April 1, 2008
Sorting Out Silver State’s Impact Flight schools, former students and employees, and lawyers are trying to sort out the implications of Silver State Helicopters’ shutdown. Some former staffers are seizing the opportunity created by the Feb. 3 shutdown to open their own flight schools. One group of former Silver State instructors has started Veracity Aviation at New Braunfels, Texas Municipal...
April 1, 2008
That India is a big lure for helicopter makers was reaffirmed by strategic deals struck this year by key rotorcraft players. In February, Sikorsky Aircraft signed a memo of understanding with a unit of India’s Tata Group on the production of cabins for the S-92. That was followed in short order by Eurocopter’s move to expand its manufacturing capability in India in league with a key long-time...
April 1, 2008
The question of whether your aircraft is safe must be answered before every flight. Do you really know if it is airworthy and if not, what do you do about it? Maintenance has been in the public spotlight recently, and not for laudable reasons. Back in January, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board issued a probable cause for the March 27, 2007 crash of a Robinson Helicopter R22 at Ponte Vedra...
April 1, 2008
SERVICES Aviation Research Group/U.S. has written a series of standards for on-site safety audits that are specific to helicopter operators, according to the company. ARG/US provides real-time information, advice, and proprietary data products focused primarily on safety reports for Part 135 charter companies...
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