DA Y SU N
A PUBLICATION OF
An independent publication, solely owned by The Convention News Co., Inc., Midland Park, N.J.
Vol. 43 No. 4
MARCH 6, 2011
Marenco unveils SKYe
INSIDE... •G500H demo shows synthetic-viz horizons
A Swiss engineering firm is proposing to build an ambitious new carbon-fiber, single-engine helicopter, the SKYe SH09, and will reveal a full-scale mock-up of it this morning at Heli-Expo 2011. Marenco Swisshelicopter (Booth No. 5120) plans to fly a prototype of the 5,200-pound single next year and begin customer deliveries in 2015. The $2.6 million (2011 dollars) helicopter will be powered by a single Fadec-controlled Honeywell HTS900 engine, be equipped with Sagem glass
•Honeywell predicts better times ahead
panel avionics, cruise at 145 knots and have a range of 430 nm. Targeted useful load is 2,800 pounds (internal, 3,300 pounds external). The SKYe SH09 will feature a quiet five-blade main rotor system, a large shrouded tail rotor, passenger seating for six to eight, a flat-floor cabin designed to be reconfigured quickly and clamshell doors. It also is designed with a floor window for managing sling loads. Martin Stucki, Marenco CEO, said the development
Continued on page 40 u
•Thales enhances S-76 TopDeck suite
The number of helicopter accidents declined slightly last year compared with the previous year, but the number of fatalities increased, according to safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates. Page 22
•Turbomeca sees opportunity in China As it waits for the sleeping giant to awaken with an appetite for aircraft, the French engine maker predicts rapid growth in helicopter deliveries. Page 34
•Wireless HUMS could reduce mx costs MicroStrain is experimenting with a wireless health and usage monitoring system that it says could reduce costs by extending the life of parts. Page 38
Based on feedback from potential S-76 operators, the avionics maker is adding four new functions to the TopDeck avionics suite. Page 14
•Fewer helicopter accidents in 2010
by Nigel Moll To signify their continuing evolution, Eurocopter is applying an “e” suffix to the latest variants of its helicopters. One of these evolved products, the AS350B3e, is making its debut at Heli-Expo 2011 and is on display during the show at Eurocopter’s booth. This latest version of the European manufacturer’s highly successful workhorse turbine single, the Ecureuil, has a Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine with Fadec and an engine-data recorder for condition monitoring. The B3e also comes with an improved interior design, as well as tailrotor mods for “additional ease of piloting.” The B3e’s engine can be operated at max takeoff power for 30 minutes and can be equipped with optional filters for added protection against sand and snow with no weight penalty. Eurocopter intends to have the AS350B3e certified this summer, with deliveries beginning before year-end. At 11:30 a.m. this morning, Eurocopter will take the wraps off a new helicopter here at its HeliExpo exhibit (Booth No. 4637) in a ceremony led by president and CEO Lutz Bertling. o
The SKYe SH09, a carbon-fiber light single helicopter from new entrant Marenco, is making its debut here at Heli-Expo 2011.
Growth in key international markets will boost global deliveries over the next five years by 5 percent, to between 4,200 and 4,400 helicopters through 2015. Page 10
AS350B3e: Eurocopter’s “E” class has arrived
In debut, new AW169 twin sure to impress heli-crowd by Kirby J. Harrison AgustaWestland’s AW169, introduced last summer at the Farnborough airshow, makes its Heli-Expo debut this year and the Finmeccanica company says the program “is progressing as planned.” The new multipurpose twin will be certified in accordance with the latest amendment of JAR/FAR 29 and JAR-OPS 3, according to the Milan-based helicopter manufacturer. In particular, it will meet requirements for Category A, Class 1 operations and IFR single- and dualpilot operations. New technology is prevalent
throughout the AW169, from the rotors to the engines to the transmission, but in particular in the avionics suite. The package introduces a full digital NVG-compatible cockpit with three, 8-inch by 10-inch displays and enhanced graphics. A four-axis digital automatic flight control system with dual flight management system is intended to minimize crew workload and allows for single/dual pilot approval in VFR/IFR conditions. The avionics suite also complies with satellite-based navigation, communication and surveillance requirements
Continued on page 40 u
Garmin’s G500H consolidates a number of instruments with a syntheticvision view of the outside world, moving-map navigation, terrain, traffic and weather information. Page 4
by Mark Huber
veil of the valkyries A new product offering from Bell Helicopter stands shrouded in secrecy on the Heli-Expo convention floor. The drape comes down at 11:30 a.m. today, when Bell is expected to make several significant announcements it hopes will n rocket sales.
Bell Helicopter is where you want to land at HELI-EXPO® 2011. From the introduction of helicopters with new technology, to the integration of our support and services, we’re not just prepared to bring you into our exhibit—we’re on a mission to bring you into our brand. Visit us at booth #237. On
©2011 Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. All rights reserved.
Call 800-FLY-BELL or visit www.bellhelicopter.com to find the solution thatâ€™s best for your mission-specific needs.
G500H synthetic-viz demo shows new helo horizons
Convention News An independent publication solely owned by the Convention News Co., Inc., Midland Park, N.J.
by Matt Thurber
FOUNDED IN 1972 James Holahan, Founding Editor Wilson S. Leach, Managing Director
helicopter controlled-flight-into-terrain accidents a few years ago made it clear that “we’ve got something that could help,” Doyle explained.
The synthetic-vision view on the right-side PFD illustrates the benefits of Garmin’s new G500H glass cockpit for helicopters, with obstacles highlighted in red and the “outside view” in the background.
Modified AHRS for Helos
To adapt the system for helicopters the most demanding change was modifying the attitude heading reference system (AHRS) for helicopter vibration and dynamics, such as the ability to fly backward and sideways. The air data computer (ADC) had to be modified to work in low-airspeed conditions. One helicopter change for the PFD is the airspeed tape. In the fixed-wing application, the airspeed jumps alive at 20 knots. “In a helicopter it was quite distracting,” Doyle said. “We set the tape in motion below 20 knots so you get the feeling of movement.” Supplemental data is where the G500H offers so much more than traditional avionics. This includes the optional HSVT and HTAWS and also the ability to display NTSC and PAL video, either by itself on the upper two thirds of the MFD or as a split-screen with the video on top and map on the bottom. Another useful feature is the positionreporting interface, which uses an Iridium satcom to send position reports via datalink. The G500H also supports Iridium voice and display of international weather data. For weather in the U.S., XM Satellite Weather is the data provider. Other features include wind vector display, traffic display, minimums alerting and geo-referenced Garmin SafeTaxi airport charts, which show own-ship position on airports, as well as geo-referenced approach plates. HSVT is the most prominent feature of the G500H, adding a synthetic view of the outside world to the PFD. Add HTAWS, and the safety benefits multiply. During our flight around the Portland
area, we could easily see on the HVST what lay behind the clouds obscuring higher terrain. As we flew near the sides of the Columbia River Gorge, the HVST painted the terrain view on the PFD with yellow and red overlays to alert us to proximity to terrain. Towers and manmade obstacles were clearly visible during our approach and landing to the Portland Downtown Heliport. Reduced Protection Mode
Garmin’s G500H glass cockpit in the Bell 206 fits two 6.5-inch screens snugly into the panel, without distracting from the view outside. The G500H consolidates a bunch of instruments and a syntheticvision view of the outside world, moving-map navigation, terrain, traffic and weather information into a pilot flight display (PFD) and m ulti-function display (MFD). Most pilots of light helicopters probably aren’t used to having this much information available, but they will likely come to appreciate it after flying with the G500H, especially during inadvertent IMC encounters, at night and when flying near obstacles and high terrain. During a demo flight in Garmin’s Bell 206 in mid-February, I saw the benefits of the system, especially its helicopter synthetic-vision technology (HSVT), on a typically rainy and cloudy midwinter Portland day. The ceiling at Portland International Airport was 4,000 feet, but nearby mountains and ridges were obscured. We flew east at 1,000 feet into the Columbia River Gorge and got a first-hand look at how the HVST and HTAWS systems make flying around mountains and weather in a helicopter much more comfortable. The G500H is designed for Part 27 (VFR) helicopters and requires an FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation. STCs are currently available for the Bell 206 and 407 and Eurocopter AS350B2, -B3 and EC130. Garmin is working on other G500H STCs and plans to announce those shortly. “Demand is clearly there,” said Sean Doyle, a Garmin engineer and test pilot at the company’s Salem, Ore. facility. Garmin derived the G500H from the fixed-wing G500/600 glass panels, and this is the company’s first integrated offering for rotorcraft. A high number of
Preparing to land at Portland International Airport, the two-display Garmin G500H shows the moving-map on the left-side MFD (with the route highlighted in magenta) and the synthetic-vision technology view on the right-side PFD, which matches the position of the runway seen from the right windshield.
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Both HTAWS and HSVT offer a “reduced protection” mode so the pilot can lower the alerting level and avoid nuisance alerts but still have protection from terrain and obstacles, according to Garmin. This also makes it easier to land off-airport and not be bothered with alerts. An improvement for helicopters in the HTAWS software is the addition of all obstacles reported to the FAA. Garmin’s fixed-wing database includes obstacles at 200 feet and higher, while the HTAWS database now has 50,000 obstacles as well as 5,000 heliports, making it easier for G500H users to navigate to heliports. HTAWS and HSVT work together when installed together, but HTAW– certified to TSO C-194 standards–takes priority. HTAWS is installed on the navigator that provides GPS, LOC/VOR and communications functions (Garmin’s GNS 430W or 530W) and displays on those products’ screens and on the MFD. HTAWS predicts potential hazards with a forward-looking terrain avoidance (FLTA) capability, which p rovides pilots more time to avoid obstacles. FLTA warns “caution, obstacle, obstacle” and “warning, terrain, terrain.” In reduced protection mode, the caution is skipped but warning retained. The HSVT terrain proximity feature still provides an easyto-see indication of proximity to terrain using color shading, whether or not reduced protection mode is selected. The base retail price of the G500H is $24,995. Optional HSVT is $8,000 and HTAWS (which runs on a separate GNS 430W or 530W navigator) is about $8,000. Some 90 percent of G500H buyers are opting for HSVT, Doyle said. “Garmin is paying attention to the helicopter market,” he concluded. o
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news clips z Simplex Spray System Wins STC in China Simplex Manufacturing of Portland, Ore. (Booth No. 3617), has been granted a validation of supplemental type certificate (VSTC) from the Peoples Republic of China for its agricultural spray system for the Robinson R44. The VSTC makes the Simplex system the only helicopter spray system approved for use in China, according to the company. The CAAC gave its approval on Dec. 31, 2010, and Simplex has already shipped one R44 package. Plans are to deliver several more shipsets to China this year. According to Simplex president and CEO Mark Zimmerman, the Model 244 spray system for the R44 has gained wide acceptance throughout the world primarily because “the light weight, chemical-resistant tank and attaching spray boom assembly provides operators quick installation using fieldmaintainable components.”
z Columbia Helicopters Certified to EN/AS9110 Columbia Helicopters has been certified to the aerospace quality standard of EN/AS9110 by international risk management firm Det Norske Veritas. The certification is an industry quality standard benchmark for a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility and is recognized in the U.S. and Europe. Company president Michael Fahey told AIN, “This certification will mean a higher level of comfort for any end user, knowing that our work met or exceeded the manufacturer’s specifications and was performed to the highest quality standard.” The certification means Columbia Helicopters (Booth No. 1017) will have access to additional repair work, Fahey said. According to the company, many aerospace OEMs increasingly require MROs to be AS9110 certified by a third-party registrar. Columbia is one of less than 350 companies worldwide that have been certified to the AS9110 standard, fewer than 100 of which are located in the U.S. In addition to meeting the quality system requirements of EN/AS9110, Columbia Helicopters is also ISO 9001:2008 and EN/JISQ/AN9100:2004 certified.
z EMS Intros Aspire Portable AirMail EMS Aviation (Booth No. 3414) has introduced its Aspire Portable AirMail System, a device used to send and receive text e-mail in flight that doesn’t need to be permanently installed. The three-pound system is not installed on the aircraft but can be carried on as required and connected to an aircraft’s existing Iridium antenna. Once connected, up to four passengers can send and receive e-mail, and because permanent installation is not required, an operator can switch the device from airplane to airplane, retaining connectivity on each flight, as long as the pilot-in-command approves its use. Aspire is designed to take advantage of low-bandwidth devices, such as BlackBerrys and iPhones, said EMS v-p and general manager John Jarrell. The system is to become available in the second quarter of this year at a retail price of $15,995.
z Seminar Designed for Helo Mx Managers Conklin & de Decker (Booth No. 920) has announced it will offer a seminar entitled “Helicopter Maintenance Management– Essential Tools for Your New Role” as an independent program for the first time in the Dallas/Fort Worth area on March 28 and 29. The program formerly was presented through the HAI. “We are planning to offer the seminar annually at different locations to make it more accessible,” Brandon Battles, vice president, told AIN. “We’re also currently working with the FAA to get IA credit approval.” The two-day seminar focuses on providing helicopter maintenance managers the tools necessary to work in a management position. “So often in our industry, technicians are promoted to management positions because they’re good technicians,” Battles said. “Rarely do they have exposure to the business side of the operation. We look at budgeting, managing inventory, developing information systems to help manage, people management skills and helping students see their role as it relates to the overall organization.” Registration fee is $800.
BLR’s upgrade package for the 412EP consists of a new carbon fiber vertical fin and a pair of tailboom strakes. It will be standard on all new 412s and available for retrofit application.
BLR’s FastFin gives Bell 412EP a boost by Mark Huber The BLR Aerospace FastFin is a major part of Bell’s recently announced enhancements for the 412EP medium-twin. FastFin will be standard on all new 412s and available via retrofit on existing aircraft. More than 600 are in service on the UH-1, 205/206 and 212/412, according to Dave Marone, BLR vice president. Those aircraft have logged more than one million flight hours with the system. The $75,000 system (uninstalled) consists of a new resculpted carbon-fiber vertical fin and a pair of parallel five-pound aluminum tailboom strakes that enhance aircraft performance. Marone said FastFin gives the aircraft an additional 1,250 pounds of IGE hover capability. “That translates into up to 90 percent of the useful load,” he
said. “You have anywhere from 7.5-percent increase at sea level or 1,000 msl on a warm day to over 90 percent at 6,000- to 8,000-feet. “Even a guy operating at sea level in the Gulf of Mexico is going to get additional utility from that,” Marone said. “In the Gulf you can get up to 2,000 feet density altitude on a hot summer day. With the system, you are going to get 300 pounds of additional IGE hover capability plus 10 to 15 knots of critical wind azimuth tolerance, so operational flexibility and safety is enhanced quite a bit.” BLR estimates the system will pay for itself in one to two years for operators flying 400 hours annually. The strakes work by taking the accelerated main rotorwash airflow around the tailboom
EVS-NVG combo a winner by Harry Weisberger Adopting infrared imaging enhanced vision systems (EVS) in rotary-wing applications has been slow because of a misconception that night safety is an “either/or” choice between EVS and night-vision goggles (NVG), said Chuck Crompton, business development director for Lexavia Integrated Systems, Pensacola, Fla. Crompton added that using both technologies in combination may provide the best of both worlds. Lexavia (Booth No. 3333), relatively new to the EVS marketplace, and Max-Viz (Booth No. 4408), a pioneer in lower-cost EVS with uncooled IR cameras, are at Heli-Expo championing complementary use of EVS and NVG for night helicopter operations. Many fleet operators, especially in HEMS and offshore work, have an “NVG first” policy, Crompton said. However, starting a new NVG program takes much time and training before new civilian-trained pilots
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equal the capabilities of ex-military pilots. EVS supporters tout the intuitive nature of gaining fast proficiency with infrared imagery, but Crompton said EVS operation does not require FAA oversight of initial pilot training and certification and proficiency tracking as does NVG and that, in most cases, an EVS project can be implemented for less cost than an NVG commitment. Military pilots with extensive night experience using both technologies, he said, almost universally say, “The best capability is to have both.” Bob Yerex, Max-Viz v-p of sales, added, “Both [EVS and NVG] by themselves are very good; used together they’re the biggest piece of the silver bullet that I’ve ever seen for unmasking unrecognized risks.” Yerex compares EVS and NVG to HTAWS, a solution that NTSB favors. “The HTAWS is an IFR environment system that doesn’t show the real world and
and stalling it on the left side, creating low pressure on the right and higher pressure on the left so the boom naturally moves in the direction of the applied tailrotor thrust. The fin relocates approximately one third of the vertical surface area to the aft tailcone, which is below the thrust arc of the tailrotor. BLR (Booth No. 1814) is accepting orders to retrofit the system on Bell 412s for operators of nine or fewer aircraft, while Bell’s Aeronautical Accessories affiliate is accepting orders from operators of 10 or more aircraft. Marone estimates it would require six business days for experienced shops to complete the retrofit. FastFin is part of an upgrade package for all 412EPs. It includes Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T-9 engines that yield a 15-percent power increase, and glass-panel avionics akin to those onboard Bell’s new 429 better onboard communications and a new tailrotor. The 2,143-shp PT6T-9 will replace the 1,800shp PT6T-3D, yielding a 15-percent-shp increase, improved OEI and high/hot performance, and electronic engine control. The upgrade will yield a 10to 12-percent increase in Cat A/ PC1 and PC2 performance and a path to increased payload and range. STC approval is expected later this year, with customer installations to begin in 2012. o may not reveal all the obstructions out there. The ability to detect something visually gives you the ability to avoid it.” MaxViz and Night Flight Concepts (Booth No. 3428), a provider of NVG equipment, lighting and training, have entered a strategic alignment to put together joint applications of NVG and EVS. These different technologies operate synergistically, Crompton said. “Heads-up” NVGs intensify visible light frequencies but do not provide images in total darkness. “Heads-down” EVS creates video images from long-wave infrared energy, even in low/no light situations. “EVS systems work great when someone in the cockpit actually has time to look at them,” he said. Many helicopter operators, Crompton added, have asked the EVS industry if it can “build an EVS that we can use to profile the landing zone before we get there, when we have time to look at the EVS display?” One answer, he said, may be coming from Lexavia, which is offering EVS products to give pilots the ability to view landing zones at longer stand-off distance. o
We Just Sharpened the Cutting-Edge. See our newest innovation at a special unveiling event. March 6th, 11:30 a.m. Eurocopter Exhibit #4637
Bell may develop 412 offshore sibling by Mark Huber Bell Helicopter announced the launch of the Magellan program in a company memo circulated to its employees January 19. The new helicopter widely is believed to be a medium-twin
replacement for the venerable 412–a basic airframe design that dates back to the early 1960s– and is to be aimed primarily at the superheated deepwater offshore oil and gas market.
The memo said the Magellan is a follow-on to “Project X.” It also is believed that it will have civil and military applications, but Bell declined to comment on the memo, sent by Jeff Lowinger,
vice president of engineering, and Larry Roberts, senior vice president for commercial programs. A Bell spokeswoman said the company will not be releasing further details on the program here at Heli-Expo. While giving few details, the memo said the Magellan is part of a strategy to provide customers with a “comprehensive product
line-up that best meets or exceeds their operational requirements.” It also disclosed that a customer advisory panel for the Magellan had been formed and that Larry Thimmesch, vice president of commercial programs, will lead the development team. The memo further stated that the Magellan would differentiate itself from the competition “by applying an intensive effort of listening and meeting our customers’ needs into the product definition.” If it is a medium-twin, the Magellan would be Bell’s second attempt at fielding a replacement for the 412. In 1998 the company formed a joint venture with AgustaWestland to develop what is now the AW139, but was forced to recuse itself from that project to meet the resource demands of the military V-22 Osprey tiltrotor program. Subsequently, the AW139 has grown into an unchallenged commercial success, with more than 300 delivered and nearly 500 ordered. o
Airwolf offering bell 206 TT straps Airwolf Aerospace has developed a new tension-torsion (TT) strap for Bell 206 JetRanger and 206L LongRanger helicopters and military variants, including the OH-58 Kiowa. The straps, manufactured under FAA parts manufacturer approval (PMA) regulations are on display here at the Airwolf booth (No. 3561). The TT straps anchor each rotor blade to the mast while accommodating the multidirec tional forces inherent in rotorcraft flight. According to Airwolf senior engineer John Montana, “The development of Airwolf’s new torsion-tension straps is the result of more than seven years of research and development.” The straps can be installed in the field by a licensed mechanic or repair station. Montana described the price as “significantly lower” than that of the original Bell parts. “For years the only option was no option at all,” he said. “Now, there’s a much more affordable and FAA-approved alternative.” Exact pricing and information regarding use and installation is available at the Airwolf booth. The Middlefield, Ohio manufacturer expects to begin shipping its TT straps in April. –K.J.H.
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on d See t ispl he X ay a 2 T t HE echn LI-E olog XPO y ™ 201 Demo 1 bo nst oth rator #27 37.
Making helicopter history… again.
On September 15, 2010, the X2 Technology™ Demonstrator attained another aviation milestone by reaching 250 knots in level flight. X2 Technology has the potential to transform vertical flight by enabling an aircraft to fly vertically and also reach speeds twice that of current helicopters. This achievement was made possible by the dedicated team of aerospace professionals at Sikorsky Innovations. Sikorsky Innovations. Tackling the toughest challenges in vertical flight.
z Conklin & de Decker Offers Heli-Expo Savings Conklin & de Decker (Booth No. 920) is offering a special HeliExpo 2011 show discount of 15 percent on its family of products, providing performance and cost data for aircraft, as well as aircraft-related tax guides. The limited-time product discounts apply to the: Aircraft Cost Evaluator; Aircraft Performance Comparator; Life Cycle Cost Volume I; and the 2011 State Tax Guide. Visitors to the Conklin & de Decker exhibit can also register to win a new netbook mini laptop computer loaded with helicopter databases, including the Cost Evaluator, Performance Comparator and the 2011 Life Cycle Cost, Volume I. The winner will be drawn at 11 a.m., Tuesday, March 8, and he or she must be present to win.
z Vector Hails 2010 as Banner Year Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services-North America (Booth No. 2137), a subsidiary of Vector Aerospace, came into Heli-Expo 2011 on the heels of “another banner year.” The Canadian MRO specialist saw the 2010 opening of new facilities in Huntsville, Ala.; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Lanseria, South Africa. Vector also expanded its service and product portfolio through the addition of repair and overhaul for the Turbomeca Arriel 2 and Honeywell ALF502 and LF507 engines and received FAA supplemental type certificate approval for development and integration for glass cockpits on the Bell 205 and Eurocopter AS355.
z Onboard Systems Is Hooked On Cargo Onboard Systems (Booth No. 1832) is at Heli-Expo 2011 with a complete array of cargo hooks and related equipment. The Vancouver, Wash.-based manufacturer has an extensive range of external load equipment, including electric swivels to improve external-load performance and prevent damage to electrical cables. Onboard Systems also offers an improved and lighter suspension system for the AgustaWestland AW109 and AW119 that has a keeperless hydraulic hook, improved ground clearance, built-in travel limits and optional onboard weighing system. Also at the Onboard Systems booth, visitors can register to win a 64 GB iPad package that includes a $50 iTunes card and iPad case.
z Spectrum Creates Med Stand for LAFD Helos The Los Angeles Fire Department’s air operations section has contracted with Spectrum Aeromed (Booth No. 1659) to design, engineer and install a custom carry-on medical device stand for its AgustaWestland AW139 multi-mission helicopters.The Spectrum design and engineering team collaborated with the LAFD’s special missions staff to create the quick-release, modular floor-to-ceiling stand. “We expect our multi-mission aircraft to perform in any situation and in any environment,” said LAFD chief Joseph Foley. “This means our advanced medical equipment needs to be versatile, meet the aircraft mission requirements and be functional for the pilots and aeromedical crew. Spectrum Aeromed communicated with us step-by-step through the design concept, purchase order, prototype development, critical design review, project updates, certification and final delivery. We needed a custom product to fit our needs and now we have it.”
z Aviall To Provide Lift for Rotorcraft Leasing Aviall (Booth No. 2228) will supply helicopter parts to Broussard, La.-based Rotorcraft Leasing’s 12 bases in Louisiana, Texas, Florida and California. Founded in 1990, Rotorcraft Leasing lays claim to being the largest privately held Part 135 operator in the Gulf of Mexico. Dallas-based Aviall, owned by Boeing, has 40 locations worldwide and distributes parts for 235 manufacturers. The agreement gives Rotorcraft Leasing access to Aviall’s Lift (logistics and inventory flight team) program. Among the features of Lift are forecasting the need for special long-lead-time parts, local stocking and 24/7 access to technical publications.
Honeywell sees better times ahead for industry by Nigel Moll It’s Heli-Expo, and that means it’s also Honeywell forecast time. The 13th edition of the diversified aerospace manufacturer’s best estimate on what the rotorcraft industry can expect in the next five years predicts that global deliveries of new civilianuse turbine-powered helicopters will lie somewhere between 4,200 and 4,400 through 2015, and that represents a 5-percent gain over the delivery tally from 2006 to 2010. “Improved economic growth prospects in key markets, combined with new models offering increased customer value, are key variables driving purchase expectations,” say the report’s authors. “In the short term, lingering tight credit conditions combined with high inventories of used current production models for sale continue to dampen order intake.” In another echo of the outlook for turbine-powered airplanes, Honeywell says, “the China market could be a strong contributor to broader demand for rotorcraft as the country opens its airspace to civil helicopter operation and begins production of indigenously designed civil turbine helicopters.” Helicopters are already playing a prominent role in the first signs of the country loosening its airspace access restrictions below 3,000 feet. The formal name of the
70% Fleet Replacement & Expansion Plans
10aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
Honeywell crystal-ball session is the “Turbine-powered Civilian Helicopter Purchase Outlook Report,” and in that specific vein the company notes that global five-year replacement and expansion plans climbed to 25.4 percent this year, up from 24.9 percent last year. “Although modest, the increase concludes a two-year period of declining demand, indicating the beginnings of a market recovery. Substantially higher
Helicopter Market Deliveries and Demand by Segment 2.9% 2.9% 3.3%
purchase mentions in Europe drove the increase in total survey expectations. Purchase plans in major U.S. and Asian centers of demand remained steady during the same period.” Other regions declined modestly compared with 2010, though their purchase plans remain above the world average rate. “Although specific purchase plans for 2011 remain subdued, expectations for new aircraft ordering in 2012 and 2013 increased 40 percent over 2011 levels, suggesting the recovery will gain momentum starting next year.” Global five-year demand for new turbine-powered helicopters is split almost 50-50 between the Americas and Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. “Latin America has the highest fleet replacement and expansion expectations of all world regions. In terms of demand for new helicopters, this region is the world’s third largest, following North America and Europe.” Reasons for Replacement
Misc Heavy Int/Med Light twins Light singles
As in past surveys, the key motivators for replacing a currently owned helicopter are its age or “normal planned replacement cycle,” followed by a desire for higher speed, newer technology and bigger cabins. Greater useful load, lower maintenance costs and improved reliability/ durability also warranted frequent mention. Light singles continue to be numerically the most popular class, accounting for 45 percent of helicopter make/model mentions in this year’s survey versus 49 percent last year. Singles mentioned most frequently
New Helicopter Purchase Plans by Region
2008 2009 2010 2011
40% 30% 20% 10% 0
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For the first time this year, Honeywell’s researchers quizzed the survey’s targets
(“more than 1,000 chief pilots and flight-department managers of companies operating some 2,150 helicopters worldwide”) to indicate their “current” satisfaction over the last year with each model of helicopter they operate by asking them, “How likely is it that you would recommend this model to a friend or colleague?” In alphabetical order, the top picks were the AW109 Grand, AS350B series, AW139, Bell 407 and EC145. These five models account for almost 50 percent of all survey make/model mentions and Honeywell suggests that “they can be considered the benchmarks of current-production helicopters in terms of customer satisfaction and likelihood to promote.” Utilization on the Up
Operators in all but one region plan to use their helicopters more this year. In order of increased utilization are Africa and the Middle East (up 23 percent to 560 hours per helicopter), North America (up 18 percent), Latin America (up 10 percent), Europe
(up 7 percent) and Asia (down 6 percent). Oil and gas exploration and support operators work their rotorcraft the hardest, averaging 822 hours per year per helicopter, followed by law enforcement at 598 hours and EMS at 577 hours. Corporate operations log the fewest hours per year, at 350 hours per helicopter. Honeywell assembles its outlook report from “the recently conducted customer expectations survey, an assessment of consensus forecasts, a review of factory delivery rates and analysis of future new helicopter introductions. The 2011 outlook excludes uniformed military demand for civil helicopters, but resulting civil estimates do include government and security force demand.” The report notes that the recent sudden outbreak of political instability in the Middle East and its effects on oil prices and supply uncertainties were not factored into the current survey and forecast results. “Demand for civil rotorcraft is potentially sensitive to fuel price volatility and possible supply disruptions.” o
touchdown! Looking like a cross between an insect and a lunar lander, an Erickson S-64F Skycrane settles outside the convention center on Wednesday morning. The iconic heavy lifter, with its distinctive bright orange livery, n is one of the largest rotorcraft on display this week at Heli-Expo.
www.ainonline.com • March 6, 2011 • HAI Convention Newsaa11
in purchase plans this year are the Eurocopter AS350B, Bell 407 and the Robinson R66 (the attractively priced newcomer to the segment). Buyers in the Americas are fonder of light singles than those in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and India, where in some cases the regulatory environment or intended mission favors multiple engines. Light twins are the second most popular category mentioned, accounting for 23 percent of purchase expectations. Models mentioned most frequently were the Bell 429, EC135 and AW109, and the highest concentrations of demand were in Europe and Asia. Medium twins such as the AW139, Bell 412 and S-76 are most popular in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and India, where between 50 and 60 percent of all make/model mentions were for this category–twice the less than 30-percent tally in North America, Europe and Latin America.
AgustaWestland’s AW139 medium twin, operated by CHC Helicopter Group, is the first to reach the 50,000-flight-hour milestone. CHC has 25 AW139s in service and an undisclosed number of aircraft on order.
z Night Flight Concepts Offers Course on Laser Strikes Night Flight Concepts (Booth No. 3428) has announced an online course to educate flight crews about the growing threat from laser strikes. According to the FAA, the number of laser strikes directed at aircraft cockpits continues to increase, causing loss of situational awareness, flash blindness and retinal damage. The Laser Eye Protection Program (LEPP), developed in cooperation with aerospace physiology consulting firm Delta P, is designed to teach aircrews the capabilities, limitations and preventative and evasive measures required to respond to laser strikes and how to mitigate their impact. Night Flight Concepts president Adam Aldous stressed that all flight crews should receive baseline retinal scans to assess vision performance and a way to measure damage from any laser strike.
z Naasco Marks 25 Years at Heli Expo Naasco Northeast (Booth No. 4551), provider of repair and overhaul services for starter-generators and other engine components, marks 25 years of attendance at Heli-Expo this year with a completely redesigned booth. The updated display forms the backdrop for Naasco’s presentation of its newest capabilities in starter-generator repair and overhaul and parts made under FAA Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) regulations. This includes the company’s ETR-20 and ETR-25 Mercury Mod improvement program and its Sil-Met repair technology that can transform consumable parts (primarily in power relays) into repairable parts, according to Naasco. The company’s proprietary repairs are approved for engines used in AgustaWestland, Bell, Eurocopter, MD, Schweizer and Sikorsky rotorcraft. Shirley, N.Y.based Naasco also manufactures numerous PMA replacement parts for starter generators, relays, actuators and pumps.
z Enstrom Delivers First Trainer to Japan Days before Heli-Expo 2011, Enstrom Helicopter (Booth No. 3321) delivered the first of 30 TH-480B turbine training helicopters ordered by the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF), and the company is still hovering a little above the ground in the afterglow of the late February delivery ceremony in Japan. “The 480B was originally designed as a training helicopter,” noted Enstrom president and CEO Jerry Mullins. “To be chosen by a highly regarded organization such as the JGSDF is verification of what we started out to do with the aircraft.” The TH-480B is the JGSDF designation for the Enstrom 480B light turbine helicopter. Enstrom was awarded the contract for the training helicopters a year ago following a competitive bidding process. Enstrom’s Japanese representative, Aero Facility, has expanded its facility and contracted with Japanbased maintenance provider Jamco to support the JGSDF fleet of TH-480Bs.
Two new certifications expand AW139 ops by Kirby J. Harrison AgustaWestland has announced a further expansion of its AW139 medium twin helicopter’s capabilities through the addition of two new certifications. The Finmeccanica company (Booth No. 381) recently won certification for offshore takeoff and landing procedures for operations according to Performance Class 1 (PC1) and PC2e (enhanced) requirements as defined by the stringent JAR OPS 3 rules. This permits takeoffs and landings from helidecks with a minimum diameter of 15 meters (less than the overall length of the helicopter) and also certified at maximum gross weights of more than 14,080 pounds. In addition, the AW139 was recently certified to operate in sea state six conditions, providing the helicopter with unique capabilities in its class, thanks to a special emergency flotation system. Since entry into service in 2003, the AW139’s capabilities
have grown steadily, the result of “a range of specific and tailored equipment,” according to AgustaWestland. A max gross weight increase to 14,960 pounds is achieved by addition of an optional kit. The 880-pound increase allows a maximum range of more than 500 nm. According to AgustaWestland, the additional range targets the long-range offshore transport market currently met by larger, 19-seat helicopter models. The earlier introduction of an advanced four-axis automatic flight control system with search-and-rescue (SAR) mode enables the AW139 to participate in the most demanding SAR operations. Development of a full icing protection system allows flights into knownicing conditions. AgustaWestland claims to have sold more than 500 AW139s to more than 140 owners and operators in more than 50 countries, with over a third of sales into the world offshore market. o
JetNet sees down for heli market challenges Corporate aviation market analysis provider JetNet (Booth No. 3621) has released its January 2011 pre-owned aircraft results, and the news is a bit glum for the helicopter industry. The pre-owned business jet segment showed a shift down in inventory for sale, from 15.9 percent of the total used fleet in January 2010 to 14.6 percent in January 2011. The pre-owned helicopter segment, however, showed an increase in the portion of the used fleet for sale, from 6.9 percent in January 2010 to 7 percent in January 2011. “A buyer’s market in the helicopter world is when the percentage of helicopters for sale exceeds 5 percent of the fleet,” according to JetNet. The number of pre-owned turbine helicopter sale transactions declined by 46.6 percent in January 2011, compared with January 2010. And the average days on market for turbine helicopters was 340, three less than in 2010. However, the average asking price fell by 29.3 percent. The average asking price for a piston helicopter was down 5.3 percent for a comparable period, and the number of full-sale transactions dropped 38.8 percent. “We continue to witness stubbornly high levels of for-sale inventories as we remain in a buyer’s market,” said the analysis. And while the report noted that the helicopter market is on the right track, “the reality is that the current business down-cycle will last longer than the industry would like.”o
Cadorath Aerospace (Booth No. 3212) has established a technical support team to work as a liaison between Bell operators and its engineering division and thereby “establish hundreds of new Bell product offerings,” according to president and CEO Gerry Cadorath. “In addition, we now offer Bell rework out of our Lafayette, Louisiana facility,” he noted, augmenting the capability already offered at the company’s headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Cadorath Plating has been renamed Cadorath Coating, following the company’s purchase of National Coating Technologies. Cadorath Coating now has thermal spray equipment for plasma, powder and wire flame and arc wire applications, and it has also acquired equipment for cold spray, “the newest technology in the field of thermal spray coating.” The company also added both a powder coating and wet paint line to its zinc department, which can process more than 40,000 pounds of metal per shift. “With these additions, we are now the only company in North America offering 50 coating process options to AMS and OEM specifications,” said Cadorath.
12aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
z Cadorath creates new Bell Support Team
A beautiful day for a flight A Waas-equipped Eurocopter EC145 (formerly a BK-117C2) soars above Orlando’s massive convention center. The medium twin is one of s everal helicopters slated to be used for demonstration flights during the show.
Garmin reveals new digital audio panel Garmin has unveiled the GMA 350 series digital audio panel for helicopters and fixed-wing applications, with two unique new features for aviation, voicerecognition controls and 3D audio. The new GMA 350 series fits in a box that is pin-compatible with Garmin’s GMA 340 series and also audio panels made by other manufacturers. The GMA 350H and 350 are similar, but the helicopter unit includes support for a third com, NVG-compatible green annunciation and new split-com modes. The new features, said Garmin engineer and test pilot Sean Doyle, “are all about reducing pilot workload and improving safety.” The 3D audio function mimics the way humans process audio, delivering a more natural-sounding result to stereo headphones. Based on research done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 3D audio spatially separates two different audio inputs. With current audio panels, if a pilot is listening to ATC on one radio and ATIS or weather on another, it is difficult
to separate the two audio streams. With 3D audio, each channel is separated and piped toward opposite sides of the headphones. During a demonstration of the GMA 350H, I found that 3D audio is much more like hearing multiple conversations and being able to pick out which one I wanted to hear. Switching back to ordinary 2D audio highlighted the differences. And back on 3D audio, I was easily able to pick out which audio stream to focus on and which one to ignore, but they weren’t stepping over each other like in 2D audio. “It’s kind of subtle,” Doyle said. Garmin has demonstrated 3D audio with three audio streams, he added, “and that’s incredibly impressive because you really can listen to any one of those three conversations.” Voice-recognition technology allows the pilot to control all of the GMA 350 audio panel’s functions with voice commands instead of pushing buttons on the panel. To let the panel know that a voice command is coming, the pilot first has to click a trigger switch, which will likely be on the yoke or cyclic, then speak the command. Another new GMA 350 feature is “blue mode,” which allows for independent routing of audio to passengers or pilots and also independent control of volume levels for each audio source. An LED volume indicator bar graphically shows volume levels, so if a back-seat passenger asks for a little bit more volume on the intercom, the pilot
can easily see how much to add. The GMA 350 also allows passengers to control their intercom isolation state. This eliminates the need for a passenger to ask the pilot to turn on the passenger’s intercom channel. Split-com lets the front-seaters select which com each person can use, adding flexibility to the cockpit. With a threecom radio setup, for example, the pilot can select com 1 and 3 and the copilot
com 2 or pilot com 1 and copilot com 2 and 3. The GMA 350 also offers audioleveling. As ambient noise increases, the audio panel automatically boosts the sound like the systems on car stereos that play louder as a car speeds up and generates more ambient noise. Retail price of the GMA 350 is $2,395, and the GMA 350H with helicopter-specific features is $2,695. –M.T.
Birdies, eagles and one rotary-winged bird
The Helicopter Foundation International hosted its annual scholarship golf tournament on Friday. The event attracted 100 competitors along with 35 sponsor or donating companies.
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Thales adds new features to S-76D TopDeck suite
Thales expects certification for its TopDeck avionics suite for the Sikorsky S-76D around the middle of the year. The new system for the S-76D has added functionality with vertical guidance GPS approaches, XM Weather, flight following and ADS-B out.
by Charles Alcock
Thales is adding four new functions to the TopDeck avionics suite it has developed for Sikorsky’s new S-76D. The initial version of the cockpit will complete certification in the next few months, ahead of the helicopter’s anticipated approval by the end of 2011, and additional options should be ready for service-entry next year. The new functionality covers the following four elements: localizer performance with v ertical guidance (LPV) GPS approaches, XM Weather (on-screen, realtime satellite weather services), a flight following system (FFS) and ADS-B out (automatic dependent surveillance--broadcast, transmission from aircraft to ground stations). These are being added through enhancements to the iFMS 200 flight C_AIN_HAImanagement 2011_HI.pdf 1system, 2/1/11 the1:47 PM TopStar 200 GPS receiver and the automatic flight control system
to ensure compatibility with new GPS SBAS (satellite-based augmentation system) precision approaches. The cost of these options is as yet unspecified. Thales has responsibility for the full design authority and systems integration for the S-76D’s cockpit, including the avionics display architecture, autopilot and all associated software. The aircraft made its first flight two years ago and, according to Yves Jonanic, vice president of Thales’s helicopter activities, most elements of the cockpit now have their TSO approval and certification of the complete system is on track. “We saw that it was necessary to address some specific functionality requested by [S-76D] customers,” explained Jonanic. “TopDeck architecture always intended to be open and so it is possible to add functionality by plugging it into the avionics suite and making
_AIN_October2010_JC_AIN 20/09/2010 15:37 Page 1
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changes to the software.” LPV capability is useful when a helicopter needs to do steep approaches with a quick descent, enabling pilots to do this safely down to a decision height of just 50 feet. The flight crew can use an augmented GPS signal to generate the correct approach slope. The FFS is mainly useful for fleet operators, such as those flying to and from offshore platforms. It allows real-time data on numerous aircraft’s positions to be reported via the Internet for use by both ground personnel and pilots.
ADS-B out capability will be mandatory under FAA’s NextGen air traffic management system from 2020. In the meantime, it has an additional benefit of being used to transmit data relating to the aircraft’s maintenance condition to an operator’s ground stations. Thales is also laying plans to add further functionalities to the S-76D cockpit, including a terrain awareness warning system (TAWS) and a synthetic vision system (SVS). Jonanic said that the SVS is quite challenging
because the integrity of the system is dependent on the ability to reliably refresh the database from which the synthetic view of outside conditions is generated. He said that Thales may be required to fit additional sensors to complement information from the database. TopDeck is based on Thales’s Icube-S concept, which the company claims maximizes intuitive use, interactivity, integration and safety. Jonanic told AIN that the system has a higher degree of interaction with pilots through
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Heli-Expo 2011: Twirly Birds Meeting on Sunday
Movin’ on in
the use of devices such as a track ball similar to that used on a personal computer. He said that it is more intuitive in the sense that it is more straightforward for pilots to operate and so decreases their workload, allowing them to focus on flying and the mission at hand. For instance, TopDeck prompts pilots with possible options in any given situation. Various menus are presented on TopDeck’s six- by eight-inch displays, which Thales says makes it easier to find what pilots need. For instance, Jonanic said that the process for changing route during a flight has been greatly simplified. The integrated system includes its own sensors. Here at Heli-Expo, Thales (Booth No. 4038) is displaying a complete example of the TopDeck cockpit for the S-76D. Also being exhibited is the integrated electronic standby instrument selected last year by Eurocopter for its current production helicopter family, as well as for the new EC175 model. The system will be standard equipment on new-build EC135, 145 and 155 helicopters and will also be available to existing operators for retrofit. o
A Eurocopter AS350 is about to be swallowed by the convention center’s cavernous loading doors while rolling onto the show floor. The AStar, owned by Texas-based Copters in Agriculture, is one of five of the n type making an appearance at this year’s Heli-Expo.
BY QUALITY AND EXPERIENCE
If you soloed in a helicopter at least 20 years ago, consider joining the Twirly Birds at their annual meeting here today in Signature Room 1 at the Rosen Centre Hotel at 5 p.m. The meeting will include presentation of the Les Morris award and announcement of a new membership category for the group. According to Steve Sullivan, Twirly Birds membership president and v-p, “Our intent as always is to see old friends and to meet new ones who share a common link to helicopters, whether it is civil or military, professional or recreational.” The group was founded more than 60 years ago from a small group of pilots who met to share stories and the common experiences of flying helicopters. Notable members include Charles Lindbergh, Igor Sikorsky, Stanley Hiller, Alan Bristow and Wes Lematta. n
MDH shows off slew of modifications MD Helicopters (MDH) of Mesa, Ariz., has arrived at Heli-Expo with three display aircraft (an MD500E, MD530F and MD902 Explorer) and a handful of product development announcements. Information on 2010 sales figures and 2011 orders will likely be divulged by CEO Lynn Tilton at the company’s press conference scheduled for 4 p.m. today, but there is plenty to see and talk about beforehand. MDH has unveiled a new composite main rotor blade for the MD500F, co-developed with Van Horn Aviation of Tempe, Ariz. (Booth No. 1521). The blade is projected to increase internal gross weight from 3,100 pounds to at least 3,350 pounds, lower operating
costs, reduce acoustical noise signature, decrease fuel burn and almost triple the life of the blade from the metal blade currently certified for the aircraft, from 3,430 to 10,000 hours. Flight testing of the new blade is expected to commence this month, and FAA supplemental type certification is anticipated in the fourth quarter of this year. Certification for installation on the MD520N and a shorter version of the blade for the MD500D and MD500E are expected to follow. The MD530F on display at the company’s booth (No. 1618) is outfitted with a Sagem ICGS glass cockpit from Dallas-based Sagem Avionics (Booth No. 1637). Currently undergoing certification for installation on
Survey says aviation jobs poised for takeoff Hiring in the aviation industry is poised for an uptick in 2011, according to the annual Aviation Hiring Trends Survey just released by JSfirm (Booth 2543), an online aviation employment agency. The job market “is better than people may think,” said Sam Scanlon, managing partner of the Dallas-based company. “The report indicates exactly what we are seeing on our site. There are more jobs being posted every day.” More than 325 aviation companies spanning all sectors of the industry participated in the survey, with respondents including human resources personnel, managers and executives. Almost half the respondents (48 percent) plan to hire from one to 10 employees, while 8 percent expect to add more than 200 jobs. Some of the hiring activity may occur here at the Heli-Expo Job Fair taking place today from 1:30 to 5 pm in room N220 in the North Concourse. The more than two-dozen participating companies include AgustaWestland North America, Bell Helicopter, Flight Safety International, Sikorsky and the U.S. Department of State Office of Aviation. Job openings include engineers, mechanics, pilots and managers. This is the second year of the
hiring survey, and JSfirm added a few new questions. “We asked people, ‘What is the biggest challenge in finding aviation talent?’” said Jeff Richards, the company’s business development director. Lack of experience (26 percent) and unrealistic pay expectations (19 percent) were the leading answers. The survey also asked what resources respondents used for finding employees, and aviation Web sites (22 percent) and word of mouth (19 percent) were the top responses. Founded in 1999, JSfirm posts jobs and résumés and has a database of some 125,000 aviation professionals. According to Richards, the site just surpassed 10 million hits per month. The service is free to job seekers, and provides online tools for creating résumés and free access to job postings. But Richards said even though its an online service, JSfirm is a brick and mortar company. “We have real people in a real office. You call the number, somebody answers the phone. These past couple of months we’ve been getting a lot of thank you calls, such as, ‘I finally got home to Michigan and got my dream job.’ We share that in the office. It’s really motivating. A couple of years ago we got, ‘I’m going to lose my house, what can you do for me?’ Now we’re getting the flip side.” –J.W.
MD500 series helicopters, the dual Sagem ICDS-8 displays interface with the aircraft systems to provide a centralized display of all flight and engine performance data. In the MD500 configuration, the displays provide the pilot with primary flight display, a multifunction display for navigation and video information, and engine instrument and crew alerting system information, replacing virtually all the analog instrumentation of the original aircraft. Certification of the system is expected the second quarter of this year. The MD500E on display is outfitted with Garmin’s G500H dual-screen glass cockpit, which was certified for installation on the MD500E last year. (The G500H is also being demoed at the Garmin International booth, (No. 1632). Both the MD530F and MD902 at the MDH booth are outfitted with LED exterior lighting (dual mode anticollision lights, position lights, and tail lights) by Emteq. MDH announced at the convention its selection of Emteq to supply LED exterior lighting for MD900, MD500 and MD600 series production helicopters. The new lights use “chipon-board” LED technology,
16aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
Concurrent with unveiling its new composite blades for the MD500 series, Van Horn Aviation (VHA) president Jim Van Horn announced the company is in the process of purchasing a 23,000-sq-ft facility in Tempe, Ariz., in which to manufacture the new blades once the building is occupied this summer. VHA’s current facility houses three machining centers, an automated fabric cutter, water jet, clean room, paint booth, inspection center, autoclave and industrial oven; the new facility will allow VHA to run simultaneous tailand main-rotor production lines while also working on new products. “We have a long list of blade programs we intend to tackle over the next 10 years, and this new facility will provide a good launch pad for new developments far into the future,” said Dean Rosenlof, VHA general manager. “With in-house manufacturing of 206 and UH-1 tailrotor blades, while also designing and prototyping composite main rotor blades, we’ve outgrown our current leased facility,” said Van Horn. “Over the past six months VHA has added staff and equipment to meet increased demands for our tail-rotor blades, and we obtained a 25-foot autoclave to accommodate main rotor blades.”–N.M.
allowing low-profile design. The exterior lights will also be available for aftermarket installation and will require little wiring modification for retrofitting. (The lights are also on display at the Emteq booth, No. 1711.) Flight tests on the lights are complete and MDH expects them to be available for new production and aftermarket sales by the second quarter of 2011. The MD902 on display sports a VIP interior featuring energy attenuating business seats from Fischer+Entwicklungen, a video monitor finished in birds’ eye maple, noise-reducing acoustic insulation, DVD/CD player and wool carpeting. MDH also announced the
sale of an MD530F to Switzerland-based Fuchs Helicopter, which will deliver the aircraft to a corporate customer. The first 530F operated in Switzerland, this model is a variant of the 500E optimized for high-and-hot operations. It has a tail boom eight inches longer than the 500E’s and lengthened tail rotor blades, providing increased thrust and directional control at high altitude. MDH further announced that an MD Explorer operated by the West Yorkshire Police in England recently became the highest time aircraft in the Explorer fleet, surpassing 13,000 flight hours in just under 10 years of service. o
by James Wynbrandt
Van Horn Expands Blade Facilities
SPARKLING CLEAN In the waning hours before the start of Heli-Expo, Joel Tittles, an Orlando resident and employee of professional aircraft detailer The Allen Groupe, strives to present a clean machine as he carefully polishes the vast expanse of windshield on a Robinson R44, one of several on the show floor.
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The authentic partner of aviation Breitling has shared all the finest hours in the conquest of the skies. Its famous onboard chronographs equipped World War II fighter planes and subsequently the airliners of the main manufacturers and companies, making the firm the “official supplier to world aviation”. 1952 brought the birth of the legendary Navitimer, with a slide rule intended for airborne navigation. In 1962, a Navitimer accompanied Scott Carpenter in his orbital flight, thus becoming the first spacegoing wrist chronograph. Today, Breitling perpetuates these special and authentic ties by cooperating with elite pilots, operating several exceptional flight teams, and associating with the greatest air shows worldwide.
The master of top-flight performances Having learned the hard way in the demanding field of aviation, where safety is of vital importance, Breitling displays the same obsession for quality in all its 100% Swiss-made “instruments for professionals”. Breitling is the world’s only major watch brand to equip all its models with chronometer-certified movements representing the ultimate token of precision and reliability. Its engineers once again made their mark on chronograph history by creating Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01 – the finest selfwinding chronograph movement. A cult object for pilots and aviation enthusiasts, the Navitimer combines a legendary design with this highperformance “engine”. You simply don’t choose a Breitling by chance.
Spidertracks spins web for operator data capture by James Wynbrandt Whether for safety, economy or to meet ICAO Flight Operational Quality Assurance
(FOQA) standards, helicopter operators are showing increased interest in capturing
and analyzing flight data. Spidertracks (Booth No. 4854), based in Palmerstown North, New Zealand, offers a global satellite-based system for fleet operators that tracks equipped aircraft in real time and records movements and flight data for later analysis. A simple, low-cost system, Spidertracks consists of an onboard “spider” unit and an
Internet-based client interface for accessing data. “We have a number of fleet operators using the system to manage their aircraft efficiently in real time, and they’re also purchasing it for safety,” said Rachel Donald, who handles the North American market for Spidertracks from the company’s Boulder, Colo. office. “We have found
a niche with tourism operators, flight schools and various organizations with contracts with government agencies.” The “spider” unit uploads the vehicle’s GPS coordinates, speed, direction and altitude via the Iridium satellite system at customerselected intervals of distance or time (as frequently as one update per minute). The data “translates into a breadcrumb trail, which clients see in real time over the Internet,” according to Donald. “The operations manager can see where all the aircraft are on one screen.” If the unit fails to update for two consecutive reporting intervals, an SOS alert is sent to designated message recipients. The data is stored on a secure server maintained by Spidertracks. Flight and tracking data can be accessed via any authorized computer with broadband Internet access. Flight tracks are displayed on Google Maps and can be superimposed on customized maps supplied by customers. Raw tracking data can also be delivered in table format. Spidertracks, founded in 2007, has more than 1,000 clients in 50 countries. Transmitting the data
Donald noted that many current tracking systems use cellphone networks to upload data, adding to cost of operation and rendering them incapable of continuous tracking due to limitations in cellphone coverage. Current satellite-based systems typically require satellite phones, which adds to buy-in and operating costs. Spidertracks offers two models: the S2 ($995) and more robust Bluetooth-enabled S3 ($1,795). The “spider” units weigh 10.5 ounces, require no external antennas and are affixed inside the vehicle using adhesives, eliminating installation costs. Power is supplied from the vehicle’s electrical system. An optional plug in keyboard allows sending of pre-programmed text messages. Donald estimates the operational cost for a fleet helicopter operating 100 hours per year is between 60 cents and $2 per hour, based on the reporting interval selected. In addition to enhancing efficiency and safety, tracking systems can also reduce operating costs because flight crews are more likely to hew to mission objectives at all times. “Pilots tend to start behaving better because they know someone can see what they’re up to,” said Donald. “We hear back anecdotally from customers that they notice a change in attitude that occurs.” o
20aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
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one step ahead
by Charles Alcock Sikorsky’s new S-76D is the latest application for the Vigor health usage and management system (HUMS) developed by Goodrich’s Sensors and Integrated Systems division. Having been conceived in the 1990s as a safety tool, HUMS technology is now set to play its part in new-generation navigation systems, such as ADS-B out capability, (automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast, transmission from aircraft to ground stations) which will be mandatory as part of FAA’s NextGen air traffic management system from 2020. HUMS is already mandatory for operators serving the offshore energy industries and across the board by Canadian authorities. While Goodrich does not favor extending the requirement onshore, the company feels the case for voluntary adoption of HUMS is proving increasingly compelling for functions such as maintenance and training. “What is starting to drive the market in the commercial world are the benefits that the U.S. military is getting,” said Marc Brodeur, director of business development. “They are finding that [using HUMS to monitor the actual condition of aircraft] they don’t have to have standby back up aircraft to make flights.” Goodrich is working on a HUMS demonstrator to install on the U.S. Army’s LUH-72 Lakota helicopters and this is due to be ready during the second half of next year. The system’s use on a military version of the Eurocopter EC145 could pave the way for further civil applications of Vigor. Vigor equipment is already in service on Sikorsky’s larger S-92, which marked the first time HUMS was provided as standard equipment on a commercially operated helicopter. Goodrich’s goal is to make it viable for midsize models such as the S-76D, which is due to complete certification by the end of this year. “The Army is seeing significant reductions in flight-hour costs [on aircraft including Sikorsky’s UH-60 Black Hawk],” Brodeur told AIN. “The OEMs are seeing benefits for their power-by-the-hour programs and the operators are becoming better fleet managers with HUMS.” According to Goodrich (Booth
No. 2142), Vigor is delivering the credible, usable data that could give OEMs the confidence to improve key procedures such as rotor track and balance. Gathering the Data
Now, Goodrich is working to integrate the HUMS ground stations with the company’s electronic flight bag product in a move that will support ADS-B out capability–without the need to install additional equipment. The same approach could be taken by integrating HUMS with the TERPROM terrain avoidance system developed by Goodrich’s new Atlantic Inertial Systems subsidiary. The technology also has the potential to serve as the flight data acquisition unit for cockpit voice and data monitors,
BIG KITTY This Cougar Helicopters S-92A was one of the show’s early arrivals on Wednesday. The 19 passenger twin-turbine rotorcraft is one of the newest deliveries to the Canadian lift provider's fleet. Specializing in offshore transport, the multi-mission S-92, the top of Sikorsky’s line, has a range of 750 nm and can cruise at more than 150 knots.
HUMS on tap for midsize helicopters
through integration with the mission data recorders from another Goodrich subsidiary, TEAC Aerospace Technologies. According to Goodrich, Vigor is the only HUMS that uses software qualified to the DO178 standards that are required for more advanced applications like this. Vigor monitors the entire helicopter mechanical drive train from the engines to the rotor system, flight manual exceedances and hundreds of aircraft system signals. “Goodrich’s HUMS uses more sensors and collects more data than competing systems,” claimed Brodeur. “And while this is great, it’s not about the data; it’s about how our algorithms digest and use the data. The two combined enable us to truly understand the state of the helicopter. We now have better mechanical diagnostics, so we can predict further out with fewer false alarms. We want to give an operator a hundred hours of advance notice on a pending failure, not five hours,” he said. o
U.S. Turbine Helicopter Accidents/Incidents 2010 vs 2009 Twin Engine Category
FireFight, External Load
Fewer Helicopter Accidents But More Fatalities in 2010 While the overall number of turbine helicopter accidents in the U.S. declined last year to 62 from 69 in 2009, those accidents were more costly in terms of human life, according to statistics released by Boca Raton-based industry safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates. The rotorcraft industry experienced 38 deaths in 2009, 10 more than in the previous year. The EMS segment saw the worst erosion in terms of safety, with 14 fatalities (resulting from five single-engine rotorcraft crashes) in 2010 compared with six deaths from two fatal crashes in the previous year. In the twin-engine category, while the total number of accidents decreased from 15 to 12 year-over-year, 2010 saw one more fatal accident than in 2009. The total number of fatalities remained static at 11 each year. The corporate/executive twin-engine segment experienced two fatal
22aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
crashes resulting in eight deaths, after seeing no accidents in 2009, while the photo/TV segment, which recorded no accidents in 2009, saw two nonfatal accidents last year. Single-engine turbine helicopters saw an increase in the number of fatal accidents from eight to 12 year-over-year, despite a reduction in the total number of accidents. EMS operations had three additional fatal crashes with more than double the number of casualties experienced by the segment in 2009. Government- and police-operated single-engine helicopters saw the total number of accidents decline from 10 (none fatal) in 2009 to six last year, two of which resulted in five deaths. The single-engine training segment saw the most improvement. In 2009, training operations resulted in six crashes including two fatal, while last year saw just two nonfatal accidents. –C.E.
P&WC sees investment in its future by Kirby J. Harrison Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 variants, the latest being landed at Heli-Expo 2011 (Booth the PT6C-67C for AgustaWestNo. 421) with two new engines to land’s AW139. The engine has display and $1 billion in research also been selected for Eurocopand development funds available ter’s EC175. The PT6C-67E model, producing 1,700 shp at to invest over the next five years. “We plan to stay number takeoff, is expected to be certione,” said Raffaele Virgili, v-p fied this year. “And we are conof customer service, “and to do tinuing to invest in other PT6 variants,” said Virgili. that, we need to invest Also new is the in the future.” PW210 Twin-Pac, a To that end, $300 1,000-shp package million of that investP&WC describes as ment, announced in “setting the stage for December, comes in a new era of advanced the form of a repayhelicopter engines able contribution [and] “helping shape a from the Canadian new generation of singovernment under gle- and twin-engine the Strategic Aerohelicopters.” space and Defense Raffaele Virgili The PW210 has Initiative program. P&WC is recruiting engi- been picked by Sikorsky for its neers, bringing in some 200 new S-76D, scheduled to go more to support development into service in 2012. The engine programs and pushing the total was also selected last July for engineering workforce to more AgustaWestland’s AW169, for than 1,500 in Canada. which deliveries are expected to According to Virgili, P&WC begin in 2015. Some of P&WC’s goals continues to invest in its proven
in engine development are expected: compact architecture, better power-to-weight ratio, greater reliability, improved fuel consumption and lower harmful gas emissions. According to Virgili, a strong fourth quarter made 2010 “a good year” for P&WC,
although the 2,800 engine deliveries was slightly below 2009 delivery totals. And he added that while 2011 deliveries are expected to be about the same as 2010, “We see things improving. The order book remains a bit flat, but there is a lot of discussion of new platforms, and we are well positioned to take advantage of an improving economy. You can only win if you have something to show.” P&WC, a United Technologies
company, added Virgili, is building a proven track record. “Since 1970,” he said, “Pratt & Whitney Canada has produced 12,000 engines [comprising] a total of 31 engine models on 25 aircraft models, with a cumulative total of 43 million flying hours.” As for Heli-Expo 2011, Virgili sees it as a springboard. “I expect a lot more activity; a much more positive show than last year, and much stronger attendance.” o
P&WC Schedules PW200 and PT6 M&O Sessions
AT THE BOOTHS
Pratt & Whitney Canada invites owners, operators and maintenance personnel of its PW200, PT6B and PT6C-67C to attend special maintenance and overhaul sessions at Heli-Expo 2011. The sessions are part of P&WC’s “Customer Reach Out” initiative. “We will offer one-hour sessions dedicated to these engine,” said Raffaele Virgili, v-p of customer service. “During that P&WC PT6C-67 time we will provide updates on the latest news on P&WC support, offer insights into P&WC maintenance recommendations and answer customer questions.” The sessions are scheduled for today, March 6 at the convention center: 1-2 p.m., PW200; 2-3 p.m., PT6C; 3-4 p.m. PT6C-67C. For additional details, stop by the Pratt & Whitney Canada exhibit (Booth No. 421).–K.J.H.
Stop by AViIT’s Heli-Expo booth (No. 2662) to see the company’s eMan Solution software for a chance to win a $250 Best Buy gift card. AviIT is offering live demonstrations of the eMan Solution, including its wireless capabilities, which allow access to a complete technical library from any Internet connection. The eMan software facilitates distribution and management of maintenance publications. v
www.ainonline.com • March 6, 2011 • HAI Convention Newsaa23
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Air Comm runs hot and cold Air Comm (Booth No. 1649) is unveiling its Comfort+ program, which it describes as “advanced technology heating and air-conditioning systems for helicopters [which deliver] a complete experience based on
the belief that cabin comfort is mission critical.” “Heating and air-conditioning are often overlooked,” claimed Air Comm president Keith Steiner. “Until it quits working. A comfortable environment is
not a luxury,” he added, citing a number of studies that draw a direct relationship between crew efficiency and cabin comfort.” In the past year or more, Air Comm has been gaining a substantial foothold in the military
market, including a contract for 1,000 cabin heaters for the Army’s Black Hawk. Air Comm recently received a commendation from the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne. The division was flying Black Hawks in the harsh Afghanistan winter and the commendation credited Air Comm’s heating system as instrumental in keeping injured soldiers
alive during medevac transport. Steiner said Air Comm also recently won a competition to develop a heating system for the Army’s OH-58 Kiowa Warrior and has been asked by Bell to develop a digital cabin environment control system similar to that found in high-end automobiles. For civil helicopter owners and operators in the northern hemisphere, Air Comm is suggesting that early preparation for this coming summer’s heat is better sooner than later. “Even the most rugged and capable air conditioners require checks to ensure that cabins cool off when passengers want the systems to run quickly and effectively after months of inactivity.” Air Comm offers a variety of kits and services to ensure that air-conditioning systems work as advertised, regardless of the type of system installed. The Boulder, Colo.-based company also has an extensive parts catalog and its customer support service organization is available to fill any emergency need during system inspections and tune-ups. –K.J.H.
SkyTrac intros mobile data app
Satcom solutions provider SkyTrac Systems (Booth No. 4106) is launching SkyWeb Mobile for iPhone, Blackberry and Android smartphones at Heli-Expo 2011. SkyWeb Mobile enables onetouch voice dial and e-mail direct to the cockpit, facilitating communication with the aircraft anywhere and any time. The application also allows the user to control bandwidth demands when operating on mobile networks. In addition, SkyWeb Mobile displays current position and flight data for aircraft equipped with one of SkyTrac’s tracking systems. An auto refresh feature allows continual feedback on the aircraft’s movement and updates its position on a moving map, while the log is updated as new reports are sent from the aircraft. “Flight operations personnel can now have fleet situational awareness in their pocket,” said Steve Fuhr, the company’s vice president and director of business development. SkyTrac’s equipment is currently installed aboard rotorcraft manufactured by AgustaWestland, Eurocopter, Bell and Sikorsky, as well as fixed-wing aircraft. –J.W.
26aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
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Bell 412 n
Eurocopter EC135 Sikorsky S-76C+
Eurocopter AS350 Sikorsky S-76C++
Sikorsky S-70 Sikorsky S-92
Revue Thommen demonstrates integrated helicopter searchlight
New engine display an option in Soloy AS350B2 conversion by Harry Weisberger A shiny red-and-white Eurocopter AS350B2, newly converted to Honeywell LTS101-700D2 turbine power, dominates Soloy Aviation’s exhibit here at Heli-Expo 2011 (Booth No. 1628). Inside is an operating example of a new electronic engine display soon to be added as an option to the already STC’d Soloy conversion kit for replacing the original Turbomeca Arriel B2 with the Honeywell engine. The 6-inch by 9-inch Ultra Auracle color display combines symbology formerly presented on six electromechanical “steam gauge” analog indicators plus fuel quantity, starter-generator status and OAT. Soloy CEO Dave Stauffer points out that the instrument, supplied by Ultra Electronics Flightline Systems of Victor, N.Y., can be switched with a twist of a knob to show an array of engine operational data including cycles, accumulated operating and revenue times This unit also replaces the VEMD (vehicle engine monitoring display) that is original equipment in latemodel AS350B2 rotorcraft. Stauffer notes that software incompatibilities prevent the VEMD, designed to work with the Arriel turboshaft, from accepting and presenting Honeywell engine data. For now the Turbomecato-Honeywell conversion in late model -B2s has included substituting analog electromechanical instruments for the Thales-built VEMD. Soloy expects the Ultra Auracle display to be approved with an amendment to the LTS101-700D2 conversion STC by the third quarter of 2011. Stauffer said the display will complement the operational cost-saving benefits of the engine change, which accrue from lower fuel consumption and maintenance costs. The LTS101 and the Arriel it replaces have the same rated power, but unlike the Arriel, the Honeywell engine is not Ng limited. Staffer noted, “We saw a real need to replace and simplify a multitude of
old engine instruments we were working with while doing the conversions. We are replacing several instruments made by multiple companies (often foreign based) and combining them into one instrument supported by a single U.S. company, Soloy.” A Quick Upgrade
The price of the Arriel B2 to LTS101700D2 conversion kit, including installation at Soloy’s Olympia, Wash., facility, is about $600,000, after trade-in credits for equipment removed from the customer’s helicopter, Stauffer said. Soloy estimates that installing the Auracle engine display in the panel of AS350s already converted to LTS101 power will not exceed a week, compared to weeks or even sometimes months of downtime while awaiting replacement indicators during an engine conversion. The Auracle display will be readily available and its installation will involve no added downtime during an engine conversion, Stauffer predicted. Kit price is targeted in the $25,000 range, with final pricing to be available soon. Another item on display, less flashy but also advantageous to operators, is a newly approved 200-amp starter-generator unit for the LTS101-700D2. Given the multiplicity of current-consuming systems being added to helicopter equipment lists, electrical demands call for a higher capacity generator, Stauffer said. The Skurka Aerospace 200-amp unit is approved as an option for the standard 150-amp generator that is part of the present Soloy engine conversion STC. He said some operators have stated that electrical load requirements are barely being met with the existing 150-amp generator. The Skurka generator will not only meet that need but will increase generator service life and reduce early removals of starter-generators that are regularly subjected to high loads. o
28aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
pace of the mission until the filter is in place. “Ours can go from white light to infrared without slowing down,” said Iten. “It’s just a matter of turning on the filter electronically. “In this industry, in which technology advancements have been limited, we have reason to believe that our searchlight design will revolutionize the business,” noted Iten. Thommen has plans to incorporate the advantages of the HSL-1600 in a lighter-weight model, the HSL-800, intended for single-engine helicopters in the U.S. law-enforcement market. The HSL-800 is still in the development phase and Thommen anticipates availability in the first quarter of next year. Thommen has appointed Addison, Texas-based Instrument Tech as its authorized service center in North America for its line of helicopter searchlights. The HSL-1600 system weighs about 65 pounds, according to Iten, which is less than competing products when all components are included. Another advantage of the HSL-1600 is that it is entirely removable, so during daytime operations, the 65 pounds is added back to the helicopter’s payload, unlike other systems that leave behind components that can weigh up to half the total searchlight system weight with the searchlight portion removed. Revue Thommen (Booth No. 4108) announced here yesterday that the base price for the HSL-1600 is $37,313; the IR filter costs $9,938, camera slaving $9,950 and the IR hand controller $2,450. No price has been announced yet for the HSL-800.–N.M.
On exhibition at Soloy Aviation’s booth, the AS350B2 Turbomecato-Honeywell engine conversion features a compact panel-mounted electronic engine data display that replaces six separate discrete analog indicators.
Revue Thommen, based in Waldenburg, Switzerland, is demonstrating its new HSL-1600 helicopter searchlight here at Heli-Expo. First production deliveries are slated for the second quarter. Among the HSL-1600’s claims to fame is its totally integrated software, including the software that allows the searchlight to be slaved to infrared and CCTV cameras and mission displays. Thommen says that other searchlights require separate electronic components to be mounted in the aircraft avionics bay to accomplish slaving. Visitors to the company’s Heli-Expo booth will be able to see slaving commands delivered to the HSL-1600 from a laptop, simulating the performance of the searchlight under mission conditions. “All current helicopter searchlight systems are a composite of multiple components: the searchlight, power supplies, junction boxes, slaving software interfaces and so on,” said Rudolf Iten, Thommen’s vice chairman and director of sales and marketing. “The HSL-1600 system is totally integrated within the searchlight itself, simplifying installation and operation.” A patent-pending infrared filter incorporated within the light assembly allows deployment at mission airspeed and provides IR visibility up to 1,000 meters using the 4- to 20-degree beam focus capability. Other 1,600-watt infrared searchlights employ an external IR filter flap that flips down over the main searchlight lens to achieve night-vision capability, he explained. This arrangement demands that the helicopter slow down during deployment of the filter, thus interrupting the
On the eve of the show opening, PHI’s Earl Johnson applies the finishing touches to a canary-yellow AgustaWestland AW139 on the exhibition floor.
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Counter-vibration technology could deliver jet-smooth rides
Sikorsky’s hub-mounted active counter-vibration system helped the X2 compound demonstrator reach vibration goals at its 250-knot top speed.
by Thierry Dubois Sikorsky (Booth Nos. 2737-2743) has completed rig testing of an active counter-vibration system that could make a helicopter ride “jet smooth,” thanks to hub-mounted actuators that counter loads at their source, the company
claims. The hub-mounted vibration suppression system (HMVS) is expected to yield improvements in comfort, weight and durability, and, the company said, it could be in service in 2015. The HMVS was one of the key
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30aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
subsystems on the X2 compound demonstrator, enabling it to reach its vibration goal last year. At 250 knots, the v ibration level was said to be similar to that of the Black Hawk military transport at its 140knot cruise speed. Sikorsky plans to certify the HMVS for production helicopters. Lord Corp. of Cary, N.C., has teamed with Sikorsky and the U.S. Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate on the HMVS. The equipment manufacturer describes the dual-frequency system as “motorized imbalanced rotors that rotate at the blade-pass frequency to create centrifugal forces.” According to the company, the magnitude and orientation of the centrifugal forces can cancel lateral hub vibration through phasing of the two rotors. The force generator, controller, sensors and power electronics are contained in a single unit, and vibratory loads come from blade movement asymmetry and blade-vortex interaction. Bill Welsh, chief of Sikorsky’s dynamics and internal acoustics group, told AIN that the HMVS is adaptive. “It learns how the helicopter reacts to dynamic load inputs and applies a sample load from each actuator and analyzes echoes. The algorithm determines what command to apply so that the HMVS load suppresses loads coming from the main rotor,” he explained. Current passive systems use springs and loads, he said. The springs are tuned to the worst vibration frequency in the helicopter. There usually are five devices per helicopter located in various places: for example,
the rotor head, cabin, nose and cockpit. The system suppresses vibration throughout the fuselage. Typically, helicopter vibrations are in the 0.1- to 0.15-g range, Welsh said, adding that the HMVS will cut this down to “0.03 g or below– virtually undetectable vibration.” The company also hopes the HMVS will yield a weight savings. Current passive systems comprise about 0.2 percent of the aircraft’s empty weight, and the HMVS will cut this to 0.1 percent, according to Welsh. In terms of durability improvement, he said, “It is debatable but one can expect the system to enable a 10-percent reduction in parts removal.” The HMVS will be slightly more expensive than current systems, Welsh said, “because of its electronic content.” However, upfront cost should be offset by savings from weight and durability improvements. The flying testbed for the HMVS will be an H-60 Black Hawk, scheduled to fly late this year or early in 2012. The main remaining job is designing the actual connection to the aircraft, Welsh said, adding that the company is planning 10 to 15 flight test hours. A major certification challenge will be demonstrating a degraded mode where the helicopter remains safe with one actuator failed, Walsh said. In November, he predicted seeing the HMVS in service “in about five years.” He also said Sikorsky plans to integrate an HMVS into all its helicopters. o
Skywork’s K-max takes over when crane is bogged down The Kaman K-Max Aerial Truck (Booth No. 2521) lived up to its name recently as a K-Max flown by Skywork Helicopters of Warkworth, New Zealand, hoisted six sections of an electrical transmission tower, some weighing more than 4,800 pounds, into place near Brisbane, Australia. Skywork’s K-Max was called into service when a heavy crane that had been retained for the job became bogged down in soggy ground saturated by days of pouring rain. The medium-lift K-Max was flown 581 miles from Skywork’s facility in Wollogong to erect the tower, part of a major construction project installing a new 8.5-mile powerline. The helicopter, with twin intermeshing rotors, hovered up to 30 minutes with each tower section while riggers bolted the sections together. “I was quite impressed with the performance of the K-Max,” said site construction manager Trevor Carroll. “Personally, I have worked under other heavy lift helicopters in the past and must say that down-draft and engine noise from the K-Max was very minimal in comparison to some others.” According to Bob Manaskie, general manager for the Kaman Helicopters aftermarket group, the K-Max is often requested for such jobs, “where its low rotor wash and noise levels reduce the risk to personnel perched on structures.” –K.J.H.
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Honeywell offers two engine upgrades by Thierry Dubois Honeywell is here at Booth No. 3021 highlighting engine upgrades for the Eurocopter BK117 and the Bell 407. It has partnered with Airwork New Zealand (ANZ) to offer
the LTS101-850B-2 engine to upgrade the BK117-B2 light twin to a BK117-850D2. ANZ received an STC from New Zealand’s civil aviation authorities last May. At last
count, Honeywell had shipped 12 engines for six aircraft. The upgrade provides an economical way to meet new category-A requirements, with improved performance.
Honeywell partnered with Canada’s Eagle Copters on the HTS900 engine upgrade for the Bell 407. The OEM also rolled out uprated engines for the BK117 (below).
Compared with the LTS101750B-1, the beefier engine enables the helicopter to take off with four passengers and two pilots, maximum fuel and 660 pounds of equipment (instead of no passengers with the -750B-1) at ISA+20 deg C at sea level. This performance is claimed to be even better than that of the EC145, the latest iteration of the BK117 in Eurocopter’s lineup. Another version of the LTS101, the -700D-2, is powering the Avicopter AC311 light single, which began flight testing last November in Tianjin, China. On the Bell 407 light single, Honeywell has partnered with Eagle Copters of Calgary, Canada, to develop an HTS900 engine upgrade. Eagle Copters is leading the upgrade program and is displaying the HTS900powered 407 here at Heli-Expo. A Honeywell spokesperson told AIN that “the engineering work necessary to integrate the HTS900 into the Bell 407” is complete and flight testing is to begin “this year.” The HTS900 is already FAA-certified. Honeywell is also working on demonstrator programs which, although contracted by the U.S. Army, could have civil applications. For the advanced affordable turbine engine (AATE) program, in which Honeywell is partnered with Pratt & Whitney, the two have formed a joint venture called ATEC, which is developing a 3,000-shp turboshaft engine–the HPW3000. The OEM also completed testing in the small heavy fuel engine (SHFE) program and is “finalizing reports with the U.S. Army,” a spokesperson told AIN. o
32aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
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Turbomeca: challenge and opportunity abound in China by Matt Thurber Turbomeca chairman and CEO Pierre Fabre knows that for his company to grow and prosper, it is not only necessary to sell engines to helicopter manufacturers that deliver all over the world but also to allow engines to be built in countries like China.
But it is naïve to think, Fabre said, that there is no risk of losing control of intellectual property when engines are manufactured by non-Turbomeca-owned entities. On the other hand, he said, there is a French saying: “Fear doesn’t protect from danger.”
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“There is risk,” Fabre admitted. “Of course, we try to protect what we have. And the best [plan] is to continue to invest in research and technology to make sure that what we have protected and that is copied is going to be obsolete.” Huge technical progress is made every year in the industry. “By continuing to invest, we have the best protection,” said Fabre. “We spend 10 percent of sales on research and technology. We do that because we are convinced that the world needs more efficient aircraft.” But this R&D also limits the consequences of lack of property control. China alone represents a great opportunity. Today in China there are fewer than 10 percent of the number of helicopters in the U.S. Yet there are five times more people in China, he noted. “There is huge potential and it’s going to happen. Every time we go to China, people talk about the opening of the sky. They’re starting to work on it seriously.” China needs helicopters for police, security, medical and transportation needs, he said, “the same reasons the rest of the world has. The need will be huge. They need to buy something like 10,000 helicopters, based on GDP and population. Today the world’s manufacturers make about 1,500 helicopters, and China will double the yearly need.” Turbomeca is not new to China and has about 400 engines operating there, since the early 1980s, according to Fabre.
This year, he expects to deliver about 100 engines, 10 percent of the company’s annual production. “It’s a beginning,” he said. And to prepare for the future, Turbomeca is co-developing the Ardiden 3C, a new engine for the seven- to eightton helicopter market, to power China’s Z15, under development in cooperation with Eurocopter. On the service side, Turbomeca is debating an increased presence in China, to supplement its module maintenance facility in Shenzhen with additional heavy repair sites. If growth occurs as expected, “we will have to build more,” he said. “The idea is to have helicopter flight. Engines sitting on the shelf are not doing well.” Turbine engine efficiency has been improving at an average of one percent per year, but, said Fabre, “We need 1.5 to 2 percent per year. Gas turbines will continue to improve. Long term we have to think differently. How do we size a gas turbine to its efficient point? The helicopter is designed for emergency cases, like a twin. The dream would be if we could store emergency power somewhere like a battery, then size the gas turbine to the design. It’s easy to say, but much more complicated to implement. The future will be in some kind of hybrid between gas turbines and fuel cells. We’re just in the beginning of thinking about it. Our kids will do it.” o
Repair / Overhaul
Booth # 1021
Rotorcraft watchers congregate as a landing Bell 206B hovers in front of the “venetian blind”like backdrop of the Orange County Convention Center. The JetRanger owned by Andy Petree Racing was one of this year’s first static display arrivals on Wednesday morning. n
PARADIGM AEROSPACE CORPORATION HELICOPTER SUPPORT SERVICES
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34aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
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Aspen Avionics grows its glass cockpit heli market
© 2011 Cobham. All rights reserved.
by Matt Thurber Aspen Avionics has moved aggres- rotorcraft-specific vibration mounting. Aspen is planning to offer NVG- comsively into the helicopter marketplace and is displaying its Evolution flight display patible helicopter displays, according to glass cockpit systems in three helicop- Anson Gray, helicopter program manager. ters at the Heli-Expo static display, a Sch- “We have in process several solutions for weizer 300C, Robinson R44 and Enstrom NVG,” he said. “They’re internal modifica480B. Aspen’s Evolution systems include tions, but transparent, and the pilot can’t the EFD1000H pilot flight display (PFD) tell the difference until he puts goggles on. and moving-map MFD1000H and We’re not going in the direction of filters. We have extremely good-lookMFD500H multifunction dising units in NVG land.” plays (MFDs), with features Aspen displays are installed designed specifically for heliin nearly 200 helicopters, copters, including a redesigned mostly public-service ships, and air data attitude heading referthe company is working with ence system (ADAHRS). partners to develop supple“In 2009 we embarked on mental type certificates (STCs) development to improve the for additional installations. The core AHRS algorithms to Bell 206 was the first to receive address the dynamics of the an Aspen STC, and others helicopter market,” said Aspen should be awarded soon (or co-founder and vice president may have already been granted of product development Peter by the time this is published) Lyons. Aspen worked with a for the Robinson R22 and R44, helicopter operator to flight Bell 407, Eurocopter AS350, test the new algorithms in a Enstrom 480B and Schweizer variety of dynamic maneuvers 300 series. Future approvals will unique to helicopters, he said, Aspen’s EFD1000H will be offered in an NVGinclude the AgustaWestland and last year Aspen began compatible format. A109, Eurocopter BK117 and selling the rotorcraft-specific variant of the fixed-wing PFD1000. The MD Helicopters 500. STCs are done under algorithms needed to be optimized for Part 27 VFR regulations. Aspen PFDs and MFDs are uniquely helicopter flight dynamics to ensure stable AHRS output during hover, transition to suited to single or multiple installahover, quick acceleration to flying speeds tions. Both the PFD1000H ($14,995) and sideways flight, “making sure those and MFD1000H ($11,995) include maneuvers did not upset the AHRS solu- ADAHRS and they can thus offer full tion,” he said. Other changes included new reversionary capability in case one fails. symbology and larger fonts on the HSI and If a second ADAHRS isn’t needed, the tailoring terrain thresholds on the MFD MFD500H with moving-map, terrain, for the helicopter operating environment. traffic, weather display and other MFD o Aspen’s helicopter displays also feature functions, costs less at $7,495.
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Cleared for landing A sharp-looking Bell LongRanger makes its approach to the parking lot helipad at Orlando’s Orange County convention center Thursday afternoon. Approximately 60 n helicopters are expected to be displayed at this year’s Heli-Expo.
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www.ainonline.com • March 6, 2011 • HAI Convention Newsaa35
TUrning night into day
If there is a symbol of success, Matt considered as a subject by ICAO. The group described its efforts as “part Jennings’ smile was it yesterday as he presented a briefing at Heli-Expo 2011 on of the largest harmonization effort ever attempted in the history the Royal Aeronautiof the flight simulation cal Society’s successful industry.” And it added development of new criin a statement to the teria for the classificamedia, “It is anticipated tion of civil helicopter that achieving an internaflight simulation traintionally accepted definiing devices (FSTDs) and tion of helicopter FSTDs announced that it is now will have significant benin the hands of the Interefits across the industry.” national Civil Aviation Among the benefits Organization (ICAO). are the reduction of the Jennings is co-chairadministration burden by man of the Society’s Hestakeholders, a more licopter-International consistent approach by Working Group (H-IWG), simulator manufacturers which has been working on the project since 2005. Matt Jennings, a principal consultant in and a clear expression of He noted the steady the RAeS’s development of new criteria the suitability for using specific FSTDs for trainincrease in helicopter for helicopter simulators. ing tasks associated with licenses, ratings, accident rates since 2000. One of the principal aims of the work checks and so on for training organizais to improve accessibility to synthetic tions and operators. The working group’s final draft was training across the helicopter industry and thus improve safety. It is the first time that presented to ICAO just three days ago. It helicopter simulation has been exclusively is hoped by the document’s authors that it
36aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
ICAO to consider RAeS’s helo flight simulator advice
The EC120 displayed by the Seminole County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Dept. features a NightSun searchlight.
will result in publication by ICAO of a new volume, dedicated to helicopters, of the “Manual of Criteria for the Qualification of FSTDs” (Document 9625), and its subsequent adoption as regulation by national civil aviation authorities worldwide. “Ultimately, [implementation of the document’s recommendations] will improve access to flight simulation and thus quality of training and provide a welcome improvement in aviation safety,” concluded the working group in announcing delivery of the document to ICAO.–K.J.H.
AT THE BOOTHS Aero Products Component Services is here at Heli-Expo showing its inventory of Bell Helicopter products. In addition to a variety of aeronautical accessories, the FAA- and JAA-approved facility offers a complete line of Bell spares, component overhauls and exchanges. The company has moved its Heli-Expo location and is occupying Booth No. 5010, not No. 233, as it is indicated in the “Heli-Expo 2011 Official Program and Exhibit Guide.” v
Dart earns Transport Canada nod for new utility basket by Kirby J. Harrison Dart Helicopter Services affiliate Dart Aerospace (Booth No. 4628) has received Transport Canada approval for its quick-release helicopter utility basket for the Bell 407 and multiple models of the Bell 206. Approvals from the FAA
and EASA are pending. The patented Heli-Utility Baskets feature a patent-pending mounting system that allows one person to install or remove the basket in less than one minute, without the need for tools after the initial installation. It has quickrelease mounting proviDart’s quick-release helicopter utility basket has received sions and for enhanced certification in Canada. safety, replacement crosstube saddles. The flat bottom of the square-shaped basket easily accommodates many types of cargo, including skiis. Two lid options are available: sturdy expanded stainless steel, creating a work platform, or a weight-saving fabric mesh. Additional mounting kits are available that will allow baskets to be quickly moved to other aircraft.
Rebuild firm makes Heli-Expo debut Heliworks (Booth No. 3417) of Pensacola, Fla., specialists in repairs and rebuilds of Bell helicopters, announced completion of two rotorcraft rebuilds for the U.S. Army at this year’s Heli-Expo show, the company’s debut Heli-Expo appearance. The rebuilds for the Army involved two TH-67 (Bell 206B3) helicopters and were aided by enterprise resource planning (ERP) software from Component Control (Booth No. 3417), based in San Diego. Heliworks implemented the Quantum Control aviation ERP solution from Component Control midway through completion of the second TH-67, which streamlined purchasing and other rebuilding operations on the aircraft. “We purposely waited for the Quantum Control installation to buy the bulk of the 400 line items needed for the second TH-67,” said Stephen Simpson, Heliworks president. “What would have previously taken up to a week to procure took literally just a few keystrokes in Quantum. The quoting system was so much easier than our previous system, and with Quantum, everything is linked together, so shipping and receiving was streamlined as well.” The aviation-specific ERP platform combines MRO, aircraft services, hangar management, inventory management, accounting, E-commerce, sales and invoicing and other business functions into one integrated software suite. Simpson said the efficiencies gained from Quantum have led to an increase in Heliworks’ rebuild capacity to one helicopter per month in 2011, in addition to its upgrade work converting several Bell 206L1s to
206L4s and other airframe repairs. “Before Quantum, we were losing track of man-hours because there was no checkand-balance system,” Simpson said. Now mechanics barcode the beginning and end of each step, and as a result, “We know exactly how long it takes to complete each work order, allowing us to more accurately quote customer projects.” –J.W.
According to Hawkesbury, Ontariobased Dart Aerospace, the new baskets are larger than the original Dart baskets for light Bell helicopters and offer the greatest cargo capacity currently available. The baskets also do not impede passenger egress and do not require
installation of push-out windows. Dart also offers custom modifications for specialty requirements such as surveying, GPS, aerial photography, Lidar, mapping equipment, radiation detection, fire-fighting or additional equipment transport. o
© 2011 Cobham. All rights reserved.
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www.ainonline.com • March 6, 2011 • HAI Convention Newsaa37
CAE’s new sim brings virtual life to AS350
A bug’s eye view
CAE’s new 3000-series helicopter simulator brings an extraordinary amount of realism into what is essentially a computer-driven replica of a Eurocopter AS350B2 cockpit capable of simulating a variety of real-world training experiences. With the Tropos-6000 visual display projecting the view outside the cockpit onto screens that wrap around the cockpit’s chin windows, the simulator closely mimics flying a real helicopter. The visual system covers a field of view 220 degrees horizontal and 80 degrees vertical. AS350 instructor Joe Ugulano flew left seat during the demonstration of the simulator’s capabilities during a visit to CAE’s training facility inside the USAirways Training C enter in Phoenix. The CAE 3000 AS350 light helicopter flight and mission simulator has a threedegree-of-vibration motion platform, and a full-motion system is under development. The goal of the simulator is to replicate, as realistically as possible, real-world missions like offshore, EMS, law enforcement, long line, high-altitude and other scenarios.
platform for a dense urban setting to demo an EMS pickup in a tight spot in Newark, N.J. Again, the simulator inserted people into the scene, including EMS personnel who wheeled a stretcher to the helicopter after we landed. These scenarios clearly provide a huge training benefit, and the addition of random intrusions helps keep the training fresh. After some practice hovering and flying the AS350 simulator around Teterboro Airport, Ugulano had me try some emergencies, including hydraulic failure, tailrotor failure and a stuck tailrotor control. Ugulano, who has more than 24,000 hours of helicopter flight time, said that the simulator accurately replicates the AS350’s flying characteristics, including the hover and landing. The best part about flying the simulator is that it feels extraordinarily realistic–compared to real helicopters that I have flown– thanks to the vibration platform and wraparound visual system. The AS350 simulator was qualified by the FAA for Level 7 flight training device credits last September. Upcoming ICAO Type III standards could allow pilots to use the CAE 3000 simulator for 100
The Tropos-6000 visual display in CAE’s 3000 simulator provides trainees with realistic images. The system’s artificial intelligence can generate random events for pilots to deal with.
During the demo flight, Ugulano landed on a simulated oil platform, which displayed the high level of detail provided by the Tropos-6000. Ocean waves and whitecaps looked authentic, as did the ropes of the helideck net and flames from outgassing stacks. The CAE 3000 incorporates artificial intelligence that puts random workers onto the helideck and pops up helicopters flying near the platform and other elements like ground vehicles that might take a pilot by surprise in the real world. Ugulano swapped the industrial world of the oil
percent of training tasks for the instrument rating, air transport pilot, type rating, recurrency and operator-specific training plus up to 50 percent of training-to-proficiency tasks, according to CAE. The simulator is designed to meet the emerging ICAO standards. CAE also has helicopter fullflight simulators (FFS) based in Bangalore, India (Bell 412); Dubai (Bell 412); Sesto Calende, Italy (AgustaWestland A109 and AW139); Morristown, N.J. (AW139 and Sikorsky S76); and the company is planning to deploy a Bell 412 FFS in Mexico. o
38aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.
by Matt Thurber
Handlers secure a recently landed Bell 407 under blue skies on Wednesday, in preparation for towing onto the Heli-Expo show floor at the Orange County Convention Center. The helicopter is one of several 407s on display.
Wireless HUMS could reduce helo health costs Wireless health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS) are flying in four U.S. military rotorcraft on an experimental basis. If the system proves successful, it could one day be standard equipment on all military and civilian helicopters for a price that is an estimated 90 percent less than current wired systems, which cost up to $200,000 each. Past success with wired systems used to measure structural loading on Navy F-18 fighters suggest that a wireless HUMS could double an aircraft’s useful life and provide significant ongoing maintenance and operational cost savings. It also could be used as a training tool for pilots and to report an aircraft’s condition, including exceedances, in real time to an operations center. The premise is simple, said Steve Arms, president of MicroStrain, the Williston, Vt. company that has developed the technology. “You can extend the life of rotating parts if you track them more accurately.” Arms said the current system of using slip rings and wired strain gages on a few test helicopters, generally during certification of airframes and follow-on components, is a poor predictor of part health and life on individual helicopters. The process is called regime recognition. “You have the pilot do different maneuvers and fly different regimes and then
record the worst-case scenarios to estimate usage,” said Arms, who called the process “a relatively coarse way of lifing parts. The same pilot can fly a similar regime on the same aircraft and get vastly different loads on rotating structures.” The system can be used to measure strain and vibration on rotating parts and vibration on nonrotating parts. Arms said a wireless system is the best way to track, and thereby extend the service life, of rotating parts on an entire fleet. “It has to be wireless. The parts are spinning and no one is going to fly sliprings on an entire fleet and string wires on everything.” Simply outfitting test helicopters with slip rings, wires and strain gages can take six to nine months per helicopter, Arms said. The time required to install a MicroStrain wireless HUMS system? One day. The system is installed on three Sikorskys: a Navy MH-60S at Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland; and two Army H-60s, one at Fort Eustis, Va., and the other at Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif. It also is flying on a Marine Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor based at Cherry Point, N.C. The guts of the system are small and lightweight. Strain sensors are connected to a tiny wireless node about half the size of a credit card that is powered by an energy harvester, in this case, an Infinite Power Solutions Thinergy
rechargeable micro energy cell that is tuned to the helicopter’s predominant frequencies. The cell generates power by tapping into the helicopter’s natural vibration. “When it undergoes cyclic loading, it generates energy,” Arms explained. A tuned energy harvester can generate approximately 3 milliwatts. “You not only get rids of wires, you get rid of battery maintenance,” he added. Sensor data is then transmitted to a “WSDA box,” or wireless sensor data aggregator, a handsized device that is basically a single-board computer running on the Linux operating system. The WSDA includes Ethernet, USB and Arinc 1553 connectivity as well as wireless IEEE802.15.4 in the 2.4 GHz radio frequency band. Commercial WSDAs use a GSM cell phone that pushes data to the cloud where it is hosted on a secure server. The WSDA also features an embedded inertial sensing suite that provides vehicle pitch, roll and yaw data as well as triaxial accelerations and triaxial angular rates. It uses temperature-compensated, commercial micro-electromechanical (MEMS) inertial and magnetic sensors that are similar to those found on the stability systems of modern automobiles. The system would eventually allow users to track aircraft parameters and performance from anywhere in the world in real time, he added. Exceedance levels can be programmed into the system, with automatic e-mails or text messages dispatched when levels are crossed. Pilots will be able to see quantitatively how their inputs influence aircraft loads and longevity. –M.H.
Conklin & de Decker issues life cycle cost software update Aviation research, consulting and education specialist Conklin & de Decker has released the latest of its Life Cycle Cost 2011 software tools. Life Cycle Cost provides owners, operators, flight department managers and aircraft consultants with extensive ownership and operating cost data for more than 380 jets, turboprops, helicopters and piston aircraft. The software is part of a family of aircraft operating and acquisition products developed by the Orleans, Mass.-based firm and it puts all cost aspects of owning and
operating an aircraft into a single program. New features to enhance and make the budgeting process more complete include: 100 percent bonus depreciation tax calculation; updated fuel surcharges that make charter projections more accurate; 12 additional aircraft added to the database; and updated fuel and maintenance costs, as well as aircraft acquisition prices. Other features include the ability to edit maintenance costs or add data, show managed aircraft with or without supplemental charter, name your own “other” cost-per-hour and
“other” cost-per-year categories. Prices for the Life Cycle Cost software (delivered in the U.S. and Canada) are $695 for the jets database, $550 for turboprops or helicopters and $450 for the piston database. Users can specify from one to five aircraft and pay for
only those aircraft that they need. Pricing is $225 for the first aircraft with a 20-percent discount when ordering more than one aircraft. Conklin & de Decker is demonstrating its newest Life Cycle Cost program here at its booth (No. 920). –K.J.H.
© 2011 Cobham plc. All rights reserved.
All-band P25 capability
Dart deals R44 luggage pod Dart Helicopter Services (Booth No. 4628) of Oceanside, Calif., has completed an exclusive agreement with Aviatech Technical Service for global distribution of Aviatech’s Ample Pod Luggage Carrier for the Robinson R44 Raven and Raven II. Aviatech (Booth No. 4340), based in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec (Canada), designed the luggage pod to carry up to 150 pounds in a 15-cu-ft volume, and the wide door provides easy access for large items like golf bags. The pod weighs 35 pounds and is available in white or, for additional cost, in colors to match other R44 finishes. The pod is certified in Canada, with pending STCs for the U.S. and Era Sees Big Savings with AviIT’s e-tech pubs Era Helicopters will be implementing AviIT’s eMan Solution (Booth No. 2662), an Internet-based, centralized technical publications management and delivery system, at all of its bases. The company’s v-p of maintenance, Stewart Stavley, said the system should reduce the number of paper subscriptions and the manpower required to update and distribute the paper documentation. “We operate about 180 aircraft at probably 35 different locations and we’re spending $202,000 on maintenance publications annually. The eMan Solution [should] reduce our annual cost to about $114,000,” Stavley told AIN. He did say there are some other costs, such as the requirement for a few additional computers and printers. Before implementing the eMan system for grounded helicopters Era had to fax all the applicable maintenance documents to mechanics at the AOG ship’s location. “Now [employees] can get it on the Internet,” he said. “It also serves as an audit and compliance tool in that we can monitor if the techs are using the manuals n to do the work.”
Europe. It can be configured for the right or left side, or two carriers can be installed, one adjacent to each skid. Initial installation, according to Dart, requires just two hours; thereafter pods can be removed and reattached in minutes.–K.J.H.
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www.ainonline.com • March 6, 2011 • HAI Convention Newsaa39
Phoenix firm Able to offer big savings by Harry Weisberger
uContinued from page 1 phase of the program is “completely funded.” Stucki said the helicopter is aimed at customers who want the cabin space of a twin with the operating economics of a single, and good high/hot performance. He said the latter would make the helicopter a natural choice for parapublic mountain rescue organizations and air ambulances. Marenco commercial director Mathias Senes said the market is ready for a new big single in the absence of fresh
production offerings from established OEMs. “There hasn’t been a truly brand-new single-engine helicopter developed since the 1970s,” he said. “They are all evolutions from original designs. We started with a blank sheet of paper. We have the same ergonomics, and in some cases better, as what has been developed for the twin-engine market.” Senes said the helicopter’s design incorporates automotive industry innovations. “We’ve integrated a lot of automotive concepts. [For example], our railed flooring system is modular and flexible.” Stucki said this flexibility will make the SH09 a true multi-mission helicopter. “Because you can
use this helicopter for different missions on the same day, it was important to design a cabin that you could reconfigure very fast.” Marenco is a contract mechanical engineering firm, and Stucki is a veteran helicopter pilot. The company employs a team of 30 engineers. Stucki said the firm plans to rely heavily on suppliers to provide major assemblies, and final assembly will be done at a former Swiss military airfield near Zurich. The company is negotiating for additional land adjacent to the site. The helicopter was designed extensively with computational fluid dynamics, but wind tunnel testing will be done later this year in South Africa. o
Able Aerospace, a Phoenix-based specialist in overhaul and repair of rotorcraft parts and components, explained how PHI achieved significant savings using Able Aerospace parts and services. PHI saved a total of $1.3 million in 2010, $110,000 by purchasing 95 Able Aerospace-manufactured parts plus another $800,000 through repair of components, rather than buying new OEM items, according to Bob DesRosiers, PHI head of procurement. Of Able Aerospace’s 8,000 FAA-approved repairs and 400 FAA-approved PMA (parts manufacturer approval) items, “Not one has failed in service,” Able Group president Lee Benson said. Last year was the company’s most successful year to date. The keystone of Able’s plans for 300 percent growth over the next five years is a new 191,000-sq-ft repair, overhaul
and production facility with its own hangar at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Construction is slated to begin in 2012. Able Aerospace (Booth No. 1614) presently employs 840 at a plant immediately south of Sky Harbor International Airport. A key to reducing costs and aircraft downtime is Able’s “captive shop” strategy to keep all work in-house, with little or no outsourcing, according to J.A. Saenz, Able Aerospace president. “We maintain control over every aspect of the process, from start to delivery,” Saenz explained. The company recently initiated its Able Preferred overhaul programs for Eurocopter AS350 and Bell 206/407 components, featuring equipment exchanges and streamlined procedures to reduce costs and turnaround time, which Able says can save operators up to 70 percent. o
Computer renderings of the SH09, show off its planned floor window (l.), intended to help pilots manage external loads. The singleengine helicopter will feature a reconfigurable cabin and clamshell doors. It is expected to sell for $2.6 million, beginning in 2015.
AW169 twin sure to impress
helicopter will carry up to 10 passengers and can be configured for two stretchers in a cabin accessible by two sliding cabin doors. The AW169 also offers additional safety margins with high rotor clearance, one-engine-out capability in all flight phases, engine burst containment and a 30-minute main gearbox rundry capability. The helicopter has been engineered, according to AgustaWestland, with high time-between-overhaul intervals for the powerplant and main components and a reduced number of life-limited parts.”
AgustaWestland has also designed the AW169 with environmental friendliness in mind. The PW210 turboshaft engines provide maximum efficiency/low emissions. Advanced rotor aerodynamics, new blade design and an improved rotor system combine to produce a very low external noise signature, “well below regulatory limits,” according to the company. The AW169’s first flight is expected in 2012 and entry into service is anticipated in 2014. AgustaWestland forecasts a potential market for nearly 1,000 aircraft over approximately 20 years. o
uContinued from page 1 and is capable of performing satellite-based IFR localizer performance with vertical guidance approaches. Safety-enhancing avionics such as terrain awareness warning, airborne collision avoidance and the Guardian obstacle detection device can be added to the standard configuration. Powering the AW169 are two Fadec-controlled Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210 engines. The
Marenco unveils SKYe
AgustaWestland’s AW169 makes its first Heli-Expo appearance in the form of a mock up. The multipurpose twin will carry up to ten passengers or two stretchers.
40aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
Hillsboro builds on China experience by Mark Huber Hillsboro Aviation (Booth No. 1350) continues to grow its business in China. The company currently has more than 100 Chinese airplane and helicopter student pilots training at its Hillsboro, Ore., facility and is the only Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) approved school for both airplane and helicopter training in the U.S. Hillsboro’s relationship with China began more than 30 years ago. In the early 1990s the company was contracted to maintain and provide pilot service for the first Robinson R22 helicopter in China. The company is expanding its physical plant to accommodate the growth of its Chinese and other business. A new four-acre facility features a new office and warehouse facility. Hillsboro also is finalizing an agreement to
lease 10 additional acres to facilitate even more future growth. In addition to training, Hillsboro offers helicopter avionics installation and repair and charter services. Hillsboro is offering flight demonstrations of the TrueView enhanced vision system to qualified customers during HeliExpo 2011. o
AT THE BOOTHS Aero Dynamix (Booth No. 1337) is nearly tripling its Euless, Texas, facility to accommodate the growth of its business. Sales and marketing manager Mike Guinn cited the growth of the company’s night-vision goggle business as the primary driver of the expansion. The new facility will be 24,300 sq ft. The company is displaying a client Bell 206 in its booth at Heli-Expo 2011. The helicopter is owned by former Nascar crew chief and current ESPN sports analyst Andy Petree. Petree is the former crew chief for Nascar legends Harry Gant and Dale Earnhardt. v
Situational awareness is all about visualizing what you may not be seeing. That’s why you need Garmin HSVT™. This safety-enhancing 3-D synthetic vision technology is now optionally available with Garmin’s G500H glass cockpit helicopter display system. And it can make a world of difference when weather and outside visibility are less than ideal. Creating a virtual landscape on the G500H PFD, Garmin HSVT™ provides a databasegenerated view of ground and water features, airports, obstacles, traffic and more. Plus, HTAWS helicopter terrain alerting1 is supported with compatible GNS 400W/500W series WAAS navigators (if option-enabled). HTAWS voice callouts audibly announce one’s height above terrain when descending below 500 feet. And a special Garmin HTAWS database adds over 30,000 lower-height structures – showing some 25% more obstacles that might be hazardous to helicopter operations2. No wonder more pilots look to Garmin technology for cues that translate to confidence. Follow the leader.
NASDAQ GRMN ©2011 Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries
NOTE: Optional HTAWS functionality for GNS sold separately. Compared to standard Garmin TAWS database for fixed-wing aircraft.
Turbomeca preps four t’shafts by Thierry Dubois Turbomeca (Booth No. 1637) is actively developing four demonstrators to prepare the next generation of turboshafts, aiming at a 15-percent cut in fuel consumption. At the same time, the French company’s international cooperations are growing in importance: it has joined Avic Engine, its Chinese counterpart, to develop an Ardiden derivative for medium twins; it has launched a major investment in Brazil; and it is progressing with several ventures in Russia, although they are moving more slowly than it had hoped. With regard to the demonstrators, the first–the Tech 600–targets an Arrius successor (the 600 represents 600 kilowatts, or about 800 shp). Turbomeca engineers are endeavoring to reduce maintenance costs and fuel burn and to that end are increasing the pressure ratio in the compressor. The turbine will be tested this June, followed by the combustor early next year and the exploratory engine ground testing shortly thereafter. The second demonstrator, the Tech 800, is aiming at the 800-kilowatt (1,100shp) power class. It could give birth to a new engine generation in the Arriel class. The first test is scheduled for mid-2012.
The third, the Tech 2000 (2,000 kilowatt, or 2,700 shp), is targeting a power range up to 3,000 shp. This could translate into a more powerful replacement for the Makila 2, which is in the 2,100-shp class. Engineers are starting Tech 2000 design work this year and are shooting for a first test in late 2014. The last demonstrator, the Techsys, is exploring engine control. The goal is to make today’s Fadecs and fuel control units cheaper to produce and maintain. The system’s architecture should be ready this year.
Kamov Ka-62). The agreement covers development, production and support. The two companies have committed to have the engine certified in China “the year before the AC352 is certified.” The latter milestone was previously planned for next year, but since the aircraft has not flown yet that target is questionable. Avic Engine has recently regrouped several manufacturers in China, such as SAIC and Dongan. The EC175/AC352 is being jointly developed by Eurocopter and Avicopter. The 15,000-pound-class AC352 was
On the cooperative front, Turbomeca is working on a 50-50 basis with Avic Engine on the WZ16 turboshaft that will power the Avicopter AC352–formerly the Z-15– and possibly other medium twins. Avic Engine is in charge of the compressor and accessory gearbox, while Turbomeca is responsible for the combustor, turbines and control system. The engine, which is to provide a minimum 1,800 shp, is derived from the Ardiden 3 that Turbomeca designed for six- to eight-metric-ton (13,000- to 18,000-pound) medium twins (like the
Turbomeca is developing a derivative of its Ardiden for medium twins.
initially to be offered with only Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67Es, like the Eurocopter EC175. However, the Avicopter does not currently appear on the list of PT6C applications. As for Turbomeca’s activity in Russia, some helicopter developments are taking winding roads to certification. In 2009, the European company agreed to provide an Arrius 2F engine for the Mi-34S2 Sapsan light single, but Russian Helicopters has
since changed plans and the turbine version is on the back burner, while the -S1 piston-powered variant has taken the lead. Meanwhile, the French firm is admitting slow progress with the long-awaited Kamov Ka-62, which was the object of a preliminary agreement for the Ardiden 3G engine in January last year. However, it is adamant it will be a viable low-cost alternative in the six- to eightmetric-ton category. The Ka-62 will sport a new five-blade main rotor, new avionics and a composite fuselage, in addition to the new engine–which is currently in the late stages of development, according to the company. Another Russian project, the Kamov Ka-226T, is undergoing flight tests with an Arrius 2G1. The engine is expected to be certified by the end of this year. Current target certification date is now hoped to be 2012–two years late. In Brazil, Turbomeca is building a final assembly line for the Makila 2, the engine that powers the Eurocopter EC725 Cougar medium-twin military transport. The Brazilian government has ordered 50 of the model. The turboshaft production line is an addition to maintenance facilities already established there by Turbomeca do Brasil. As part of the investment, the Brazilian facilities will eventually be able to maintain and repair all of the region’s Makilas. o
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Hudson River special flight rules area include required operating altitudes for both local and transiting aircraft. It also recommended that information be incorporated in the area’s published VFR aeronautical charts.
NYC Tour Operators
Since then, because of long-standing noise complaints by local community activist groups, New York City helicopter tour operators have shifted their operations from West 30th Street (JLA) to the Downtown Manhattan Heliport (JRB) and have established new air tour routes to take them out into the Hudson River area. While those helicopters were previously required to use the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) for the Hudson River exclusion area when operating from JLA, they are now required to use the CTAF for the East River exclusion area. Since most of the traffic at JRB will consist of tour helicopters, the Safety Board called for the FAA to redefine the boundaries of the CTAFs to include JRB in the Hudson River CTAF so the tour pilots will monitor and communicate position reports with other aircraft operating in the area. In its letter to the FAA, the NTSB also took exception to the agency’s Advisory Circular 90-48C issued in 1983, involving the pilot’s role in collision avoidance. The Board noted that some of the material the document contains is obsolete and includes no guidance regarding the use of recent advances in avionics and electronic traffic awareness systems and how they can help pilots with traffic awareness. The Board found that those pilots who use electronic traffic advisory systems in such heavy-use areas tend to become desensitized to the system warnings when they occur frequently and the pilot is aware of other aircraft operating in the area. While acknowledging that such systems can increase pilot awareness, the letter signed by NTSB chairman D eborah Hersman noted that FAA technical standard orders (TSO) regarding the systems do not address the unique o perating characteristics of rotorcraft, such as their ability to make frequent maneuvers in congested areas. The Board concluded that since the current FAA TSOs for electronic traffic advisory systems do not distinguish between the different flight characteristics of helicopters and fixed-wing airplanes, the effectiveness of these systems aboard helicopters is limited. As part of its recommendations, the NTSB urged the FAA to establish standards for helicopter electronic traffic advisory systems that address the ability of helicopters to hover and fly near other aircraft at lower altitudes, at slower airspeeds and at different attitudes than fixed-wing airplanes. o
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The NTSB is urging additional safety standards for helicopter operations in the aftermath of the fatal August 2009 mid-air crash between a tour helicopter and a single-engine Piper Lance over the Hudson River near New York City. The FAA initiated several changes as early as November 2009, including modification of the New York City Class-B airspace and establishing the Hudson River and East River exclusion special flight rules area. And late last year the NTSB issued several additional safety recommendations related to the incident, as well as to operations within the Hudson River special flight rules area and to helicopter operations in high-density traffic areas. In the 2009 accident, a Eurocopter AS350BA carrying a single pilot and five passengers lifted off from the West 30th Street Heliport on the west side of Manhattan for a brief sightseeing flight over the city. As it rose, it was struck by the southbound Lance, which had taken off from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey with a pilot and two passengers on board. All nine people were killed as both aircraft plunged into the river. The NTSB last September determined that the probable cause of the accident was the “inherent limitations of the seeand-avoid concept, which made it difficult for the airplane pilot to see the helicopter until the final seconds before the collision, and the Teterboro Airport local controller’s non-pertinent conversation, which distracted him from his ATC duties.” Contributing factors to the crash included “both pilots’ ineffective use of available information from their aircraft’s electronic traffic advisory system to maintain awareness of nearby traffic; inadequate FAA procedures for transfer of communication among ATC facilities near the Hudson River Class-B exclusion zone; and FAA regulations that did not provide adequate vertical separation for aircraft operating in the Hudson River Class-B exclusion zone.” The NTSB remains concerned that the current regulations do not provide adequate vertical separation for local helicopter flights in the area, including sightseeing, newsgathering and law enforcement, which are allowed to operate in the same block of airspace designated for transiting flights. While the FAA’s FAR 93.352 designates the altitudes to be used by aircraft transiting the area, “there is no published regulatory definition of the airspace structure for local operators,” the board stated, “or any mandated restriction for local operators to remain below the airspace designated for transiting aircraft.” As a result, the NTSB recommended that the FAA revise its regulations to specify that altitudes to be used by aircraft conducting local operations in the
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Bell 429 called a virtual ’vette by Mark Huber Bell 429 operators continue to give positive feedback about the new light twin as it enters its second year in service. Bell manufactured more than 30 of the model last year and completed customer kit options. The company continues to develop a version with wheeled landing gear, to remove weight from the 429 both Ad_NBAA100818.pdf
in the manufacturing process and by pursuing regulatory solutions, and it plans to produce more than 80 units by the end of this year. Late last year Bell received wide area augmentation system (Waas) approval for the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207D1-powered twin. The approval
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allows the 429 to be flown to point-inspace approaches when the cloud ceiling is as low as 250 feet agl, and to conduct steep (nine degrees) localizer precision and vertical guidance (LPV) approaches at a minimum velocity for instrument approaches (Vmini) of 45 knots. The company maintains that the 429 is the only helicopter in its class capable of performing a fully coupled four-axis autopilot LPV approach, a big selling point for EMS customers. The 429’s IFR capabilities along with its capacious 204 cu ft of interior space (cabin and luggage hold combined) are key attributes, but for a number of customers AIN spoke with, their decision to acquire the 429 came down to power. “It’s a Corvette,” said Dan Keough of Mercy Medical Services in Des Moines, Iowa, the first 429 EMS operator. “This thing is fast.” Keogh said the 429 shaves 15 minutes off the typical mission that Mercy Medical used to fly in a Eurocopter EC135. Race-Car Driver’s Dream
44aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
Private pilot and 429 owner Bob Dengler concurred. Dengler used to race Corvettes and Ferraris, but opted to take up helicopter flying at age 66 as a “safer” pursuit. Now age 70, he still drives highperformance cars–off the track. Dengler took delivery of 429 serial number 12 last September after logging 520 hours in a 206L4. His helicopter is on display here at Heli-Expo in the Bell booth (No. 237). Dengler first saw the 429 on a visit to the Bell factory in Mirabel, Quebec. “I have a need for speed,” he confessed, adding that he can make the trip from his base near Toronto to his Scottsdale, Ariz. winter home in the 429 in about 12.5 hours–four hours faster than the journey used to take in his LongRanger. Last year Dengler took the fiveday 429 transition course at Bell Fort Worth. It incorporated his multiengine rating and training for his personal instructor and his mechanics in Scottsdale and Canada. He said he ordered the 429 with just about every option, including supplemental cabin soundproofing, threeaxis autopilot and 40-gallon auxiliary fuel tank. One option he passed on was onboard weather radar, which Dengler said destroys the helicopter’s aesthetics. “I didn’t want a clown nose on the front of the aircraft,” he said. It does have integrated XM satellite weather. Not surprisingly, Dengler said that compared to his 206L4 the 429 is
The Bell 429’s extensive IFR capabilities and its commodious 204-cu-ft interior combine with its two P&WC PW207D1s to provide pilots a dream machine.
smoother, quieter and has plenty of power reserve. “I’ve never come close to pulling full power,” he said, even near the helicopter’s maximum 7,000-pound weight. He called flight controls “sensitive and precise,” said the helicopter has plenty of tail rotor authority and it performs well and is extremely stable in high winds. He compared vertical takeoffs to “going straight up on a bungee cord.” Outshines the 427
The helicopter also compares favorably with one of Bell’s previous entries in the light twin market, the 427, according to Marten Sachsse, a Toronto-based corporate pilot who flew one for six years. Sachsse transitioned into the 429 last year after 3.5 days of ground school, five hours in a flight training device and five hours in the actual aircraft. Compared to the 427, he said, the 429 is much smoother with better power and stability. “There’s no vibration through translation, departing from hover.” Nor are there ride quality changes associated with seasonal temperature variations, he said. With the 427 “we had to do [main rotor] track and balance in the spring and fall,” he said. “I haven’t seen any of that with this aircraft.” Sachsse also said the 429 “approaches the [Sikorsky] S-76 in terms of ride. It has a nice, substantial feel and makes you look like a nice, smooth pilot.” He praised the clarity of the Rogerson Kratos flat-panel displays under all lighting conditions, the stability of the Sagem autopilot and the 429’s ability to swallow bulky cargo. The machine Sachsse flies is equipped with a five-passenger VIP interior and optional dualevaporator air conditioning. Sachsse’s company typically does not fly IFR missions with the helicopter. Like Dengler, he sees fuel burns in the 530- to 550-pph range. His only complaint is that because of his six-foot height he sometimes hits his head on the cockpit ceiling when he enters the aircraft due to the position of the wet compass. To date, the helicopter is squawk-free, he noted. “Bell has really done a nice job with this machine,” he said. o
Eurocopter North Sea center offers training and support
Eurocopter’s new $16 million North Sea Service Centre features a full-flight simulator for the EC225. The level-B trainer is the company’s 15th in operation globally.
by Charles Alcock Eurocopter’s new North Sea Service Centre at Aberdeen in northeast Scotland is the blueprint for the manufacturer’s effort to locate product support and training infrastructure as close as possible to operators of its aircraft. The facility was officially opened on February 1 and the company is advancing plans for similar developments in the U.S., Asia and South America. Derek Sharples, Eurocopter executive vice president for support and services, said helicopter hotspots such as Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico could get support and training centers similiar to those built for operators serving offshore oil and gas activity in the North Sea. In the past year, it has added additional simulator capacity at its American Eurocopter headquarters in Dallas. The airframer opened an MRO subsidiary in India last year and expanded its operation in Singapore by 50 percent. It has invested some $68 million in a new logistics center in France and has a new training and logistics partner in China. The next step is to bring training provision closer to customers in key
developing markets. This will see simulators added in Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore and China this year. The North Sea Service Centre provides MRO support for Eurocopter aircraft operating in North Sea oil and gas fields. The facility includes a pilot training center that features a full-flight simulator for Eurocopter’s EC225 large twin. CHC Helicopters last month signed a contract that calls for at least 800 training hours in the new level-B simulator each year. This follows another deal signed late in 2010 by Bond Helicopters for at least 200 hours, with both operators indicating that they may need as much as 50 percent additional simulator time. Eurocopter also expects the smaller EC175 to sell well in the burgeoning offshore market. With this in mind, space available next to Aberdeen’s new EC225 simulator has been provisionally earmarked to house an EC175 unit. Bristow Helicopters already has its own in-house simulator. The company’s worldwide headquarters is located in Aberdeen and it may opt to take some
time in the Eurocopter simulator, too. Eurocopter developed the EC225 full-flight simulator in partnership with Spain’s Indra group. The company opted for equipment with level-B certification rather than the more advanced level-D because, according to Sharples, “that’s what customers need and that’s what they will pay for.” The EC225 unit in Aberdeen is Eurocopter’s 15th full-flight simulator worldwide. Another EC225 unit has been installed at its French headquarters in Marignane. Eurocopter has invested almost $16 million in the facility, which is run by its Eurocopter UK subsidiary with a staff of 20. The manufacturer expects to expand the 20,000-sq-ft center to respond to the needs of growing numbers of aircraft that it anticipates being used to support fastexpanding wind farm operations in the North Sea. Aberdeen is Europe’s busiest heliport
and a hub for some 100 Eurocopter rotorcraft operating in the North Sea, where helicopter operations account for approximately 100,000 flight hours annually. Exploration and production activity in the region is due to increase this year and into 2012. Of the 100 Eurocopters active in that sector, 56 are based in the UK, 31 in Norway, eight in the Netherlands and five in Denmark. The MRO capability in Aberdeen is intended to reduce downtimes for helicopters operating in the high-demand sector. The facility gives operators a direct alternative to Eurocopter’s MRO facilities in Oxford, UK, and at its corporate headquarters in Marignane. The North Sea Support Centre includes a logistics hub that stores almost $24 million worth of spare parts. The company has set a goal of getting spares to locally based operators within three hours, but often it can deliver them in about 45 minutes. o
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Rotorcraft in China: industry about to take off by Mark Huber China not only wants to be the world’s largest consumer of helicopters, it intends to be the largest producer. This is a lofty goal for a country that had less than 100 civil-use helicopters five years ago. Yet as early as 2000, executives who ran China’s state-owned aviation companies predicted that the country would be one of the foremost helicopter manufacturers by 2030. Near-term, China has its eyes set on acquiring 2,000 civil helicopters by 2013 and as many as 10,000 by 2020, according to China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp. The demand for helicopters is fueled by the country’s superheated $5 trillion annual economy, now the world’s second-largest behind the $15 trillion U.S. economy. Over the last decade the percapita income in China quadrupled and the country’s economy is expected to continue to expand at double-digit yearly rates, according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC). The country also is flush with cash. It holds the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves–$2.65 trillion. Three Channels of Development
China is attempting to increase its vertical lift via three main channels: straight imports, joint ventures with foreign companies and the development of indigenous rotorcraft. Seemingly every month, a Western OEM announces new sales in China: AgustaWestland, Bell, Eurocopter, MD and Sikorsky all announced new sales there last year. So did Erickson Air-Crane, which last December announced a deal for five S-64Fs from China’s Taicang Aircrane for delivery this year and next. As eager as China is for Western helicopters, it is more eager to buy them with local content and eventually leverage joint-venture relationships into its own
indigenous helicopter industry. According to the USCC, this has long been part of a three-legged government policy. It includes large government investment in aviation, an offset policy that mandates technology transfers from foreign firms as a condition to gaining access to China and close coordination between China’s military and civil aviation sectors.
The Aviation Industry Corporation of China’s (AVIC) first indigenous heavy-lift helicopter made its debut last year. The 27,600-pound AC313 is expected to receive certification in 2012.
In its annual report to Congress last year, the USCC noted, “The development of China’s aviation industrial base would not be possible without the strong support it receives from the Chinese government. Beijing considers China’s commercial aircraft industry to be strategic and has made its development a national priority.” China began this practice in the 1950s with the Soviet Union, manufacturing the Z-5, a version of the Mi-4 Hound, which was later leveraged into its own Z-6 military helicopter. In 1969, it established the China Helicopter Design and Research Institute. To date, state-owned Chinese companies have established joint ventures with AgustaWestland, Bell, Eurocopter and Sikorsky for the manufacture and assembly of legacy aircraft in China including the AW109 and the S-76. More ambitiously, China’s Avicopter is jointly developing the EC175 medium twin with Eurocopter. The country’s relationship with what is now Eurocopter, dates back to 1980, when Harbin Aircraft (HAMC) signed a deal to assemble 50 AS365N1 and N2 Dauphins, designated the Z-9. Eurocopter has sold approximately 150 aircraft into China and controls 40 percent of the parapublic and civil market. Avicopter also is known to be collaborating with Russian Helicopter’s Mil unit on the development of a 40,000pound heavy lift helicopter. Chinese companies also are building components for
AVIC subsidiary Avicopter has partnered with Eurocopter to develop the medium twin EC175.
46aaHAI Convention News • March 6, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
Erickson Air-Crane announced a deal for five S-64Fs from China’s Taicang Aircrane for delivery this year and next. Western OEMs have been successful in logging helicopter sales in China.
these and other helicopters manufactured elsewhere and sold into the world market. Western Technology
Evidence that China is leveraging Western technology, albeit very dated, into its own helicopters already is apparent. Last year it flew a new homegrown heavy-lift helicopter–the AC313–for the first time. The AC313 tips the scales at 27,600 pounds, can carry up to 27 troops, has a maximum ferry range of 560 miles and was built at the state-owned Avicopter unit of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the same company manufacturing Sikorsky S-76C++ airframes. The AC313 appears to be an outgrowth of the 14,000-pound Chinese Zhi-8 medium helicopter. That helicopter is based on the 1970s-vintage Aerospatiale SA321 Super Frelon. China Daily, the state-run newspaper, hailed the helicopter as a “breakthrough in domestic aviation technology.” The AC313 is believed to have a maximum gross weight that could eventually increase to 30,000 pounds and an external load capability of at least 10,000 pounds. Certification is expected next year. Late last year, Avicopter conducted the first flight of another helicopter, the light single AC311, which closely resembles a Eurocopter product. Certification of that helicopter is expected later this year. Chinese companies Changhe and Harbin were development partners on the Eurocopter EC120.
Independent of these joint ventures, China continues to make substantial investments in helicopter development, recently opening a $1.2 billion helicopter R&D and production facility in Tianjin. However, its inability to produce an advanced turbofan engine remains its “Achilles’ heel,” according to the USCC. “Without the ability to successfully produce a turbofan engine, China will remain dependent on imported engines,” it said, noting the ongoing thrust, blade and oil leak problems with the only homegrown turbofan developed in China to date, the military WS-10A. “Until China’s turbine engine industry becomes more mature, it is unlikely to develop a truly indigenous helicopter for global consumption,” the USCC concluded. o
AT THE BOOTHS Atlanta-based Precision Aviation Group (PAG) acquired Dallas-based Avcenter in late January. PAG owns four other companies, including Precision Heliparts (Booth No. 1341), and is an FAA repair station specializing in wheels, brakes and accessories. The purchase allows PAG to expand the MRO services it provides to customers operating fixed- and rotarywing aircraft. Avcenter has been relocated to the company’s 65,000-sq-ft facility in Atlanta. “Since closing on the acquisition we have made substantial investments in tooling, equipment, training and inventory that have expanded Avcenter’s existing capabilities and support,” said David Mast, PAG president and CEO. v
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