Friday, April 1, 2011
Heli-Expo Roundup: What Did We Miss?
Below is a list of brief Heli-Expo news stories (in no particular order) as part of an effort to include as many helicopter support companies in this month’s print issue. Unfortunately, we ran out of room to get every announcement in, but if you don’t see your favorite company’s announcement in the pages of this month’s edition, go online to our Heli-Expo pages, which will include a Photo Gallery and Video Archive starting in late March. Don’t see it there, either? Send an e-mail to email@example.com with any announcements we may have inadvertently overlooked, and please visit www.aviationtoday.com/rw/heliexpo2011 for more from the event.
◆ Thales has incorporated “significant functional enhancements” into the TopDeck avionics package for the Sikorsky S-76D (right). Improvements include functions such as localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV), XM Weather, flight following system (FFS) and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B Out). The S-76D will be certified in 2011.
◆ Pratt & Whitney Canada has handed over the first PT6C-67E production engine for the Eurocopter EC175. Testing and certification of the helicopter and engine are set to occur during the second half of 2011. Service entry is scheduled for 2012.
◆ Aero Dynamix is planning to expand its operations in Euless, Texas to a 24,300-square-foot facility. The company currently operates out of an 8,200-square-foot site.
◆ Timken has expanded its overhaul and replacement parts capabilities with 28 new FAA-certified parts for a number of helicopter drivetrain and engine variants. Included are parts on the Bell H-1, Pratt & Whitney PT6 and PW2000 engines, and Rolls-Royce Model 250.
◆ Orange County Sheriff’s Department has chosen Helinet Technologies to provide an HD video downlink system for its Aviation Support Unit.
◆ Utah-based Air Medical Resource Group has agreed to buy seven of Eurocopter’s new AS350B3e variant, which features Turbomeca’s Arriel 2D engine. The U.S. launch customer for the AS350B3e, Air Medical Resource Group has signed a firm order for three helicopters, with options for another four. Shown at right are American Eurocopter President & CEO Marc Paganini and Joseph Hunt, CEO of Air Medical Resource Group.
◆ FAA as granted an amendment to a Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services-North America STC for the Eurocopter AS355F1 and F2. The upgrade involves a Sagem Avionics integrated cockpit display system (ICDS) and attitude and heading reference system (AHRS).
◆ Sikorsky’s S-92A has received FAA Category A approval to conduct vertical takeoff and landings from ground-level helipads.
◆ Hawke Capital Partners has agreed to acquire the assets of NorthEast Aviation Technologies of Belle Vernon, Pa. A Part 145 repair station, NorthEast will provide avionics design and integration for Uniflight, a Hawke subsidiary.
◆ Sikorsky has secured an order for six S-76C++ helicopters from SonAir Servico Aereo. SonAir has an existing fleet of five S-76C++ and four S-76C+ variants.
◆ Portugal’s Omni Group has purchased three AgustaWestland AW139s. The helicopters, which will feature Pratt & Whitney PT6C-67C engines, will conduct offshore transport missions.
◆ NORTH Flight Data Systems’ multifunction data acquisition unit (MFDAU) technology was on display during Heli-Expo. It is now being offered to all kinds of operators. The company has also finalized the purchase of the Outerlink Voice and Video product lines, which offer added capability and enhancement options.
◆ Jet Support Services, Inc. has started offering hourly cost maintenance programs for the Eurocopter EC135 and EC145. Under the EC135 program, operators can receive maintenance coverage for the helicopter’s Turbomeca Arrius 2B2 and Pratt & Whitney PW206B2 engines. The EC145 program is similar, but covers the Turbomeca Arriel 1E2. JSSI plans to expand the program to other airframes in late 2011.
◆ Miramar, Fla.-based Becker Avionics and Axnes Aviation have reached a teaming agreement to co-market the latter’s Polycon wireless intercom system. The partnership involves Backer heading up marketing of the system in North and South America for military, government and civil operators.
◆ StandardAero has secured a five-year contract to supply Rolls-Royce Model 250 engine repairs and overhauls for the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department. The agreement covers seven helicopters in the fleet, including MD500Es and Bell OH-58s. StandardAero has also designated Richmond, Va.-based HeloAir as an authorized support center.
◆ Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS) has introduced Helotrac 2X, a new software system that supports the U.S. Army’s UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter (LUH).
◆ DART Helicopter Services subsidiary Red Barn Machine has obtained a supplemental type certificate for a field maintenance kit on the Bell 206.
◆ Rockwell Collins has completed the initial retrofit Pro Line 21 installation on a Sikorsky S-61. The project was a partnership with Vector Aerospace.