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    Mango Patrol

    A Police helicopter has been sent up to protect Spain’s most expensive cash crop.

    The Guardia Civil chopper is keeping an eye on 9,000 hectares of mango plantations in the Axarquia, as harvesting season gets into full flow.

    The measure – alongside police road checkpoints – has been introduced to prevent the growth of fruit-snatching in the region.

    Local shops and markets are also party to random checks to prove that the mangoes they are selling are legitimate.

    Spain's Guardia Civil now on 'Mango Patrol' duties

    Thieves can make up to €3/kg for the crop.

    The move came after farm association Asaja met with Guardia Civil, local police and the Velez-Malaga’s mayor to discuss ways to cut down on theft.

    Because of the variety of mango breeds harvest season can last up until early December and the season is expected to be a bumper harvest with up to 25,000 tonnes expected.

    Axarquia is one of the only places in Europe with an appropriate climate for mango farming and is the continent’s only exporter – expecting to net farmers over €20 million this year.

    The crop is proving increasingly popular among farmers as they consume 30% less water than the contending avocados.

  • #2
    Reykjavík Helicopters in Hot Water over Volcano Landing

    Goga Ashkenazi, a tycoon from Kazakhstan, and her entourage put themselves in grave danger when they landed by helicopter near the Holuhraun eruption site without permission, according to Víðir Reynisson, divisional manager at the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police’s Department of Civil Protection.

    A video of the group dancing near the eruption has garnered significant attention in Iceland after the Iceland Weather Report first wrote about it.

    A Reykjavik Helicopters Ecureuil

    Only scientists and media personnel who have received a special permit are allowed to enter the closed area near the eruption site. Even with gas masks, they have only been visiting the site for short periods at a time.

    Pollution levels at the site have reached almost double the maximum levels detected in populated areas and there is a risk of a sub-glacial eruption and subsequent glacial outburst flood starting at any time.

    The case is currently being investigated by the Icelandic Police. People found entering the restricted area face heavy fines.

    Friðgeir Guðjónsson, marketing officer for Reykjavík Helicopters, the company which flew the group, said yesterday that they had not yet had the opportunity to speak to the pilot. He added that he hoped that the pilot could provide an explanation for the landing.

    The company released a statement emphasizing that it has since the beginning focused on safety when visiting the eruption and that it has not landed at the site except when it has received special permission, which “mainly involves scientists and journalists.”​

    Views of the Holuhraun eruption from an Icelandic Ecureuil:


    • #3
      Barcelona Prepares for New Helicopter Procedures

      Barcelona Airport is ready for new satellite-based helicopter flight procedures, after a series of flight trials funded by the Single European Sky ATM Research Committee Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) were recently completed. The new procedures, known as Simultaneous Non-Interfering (SNI) operations, will expand airspace capacity at the airport and allow helicopters to take passengers to and from the airport to city and business destinations, according to a SESAR JU statement.

      The SNI trials are part of the Navigation SESAR Concepts Involving Operators (NASCIO), which is looking to demonstrate new navigation specifications in eight different scenarios using rotorcraft and fixed wing aircraft. SNI procedures use satellite guidance technology to manage helicopters flying low-level corridors, perpendicular to the direction of the duty runway down to a given point in space close to the airport followed by a final visual landing.

      SESAR JU helicopter conducting Simultaneous Non-Interfering (SNI) flight trials at Barcelona Airport in June

      Along with SESAR JU, Barcelona-based air navigation science and technology lab Pildo Labs and helicopter operator CatHelicopters performed the flight trials in late August. Pildo participated in the design of the flight trials and Cat Helicopters operated the flights. ENAIRE, the Spanish Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), provided air traffic control services for the trials as well.

      Among the avionics included to perform the flight trials were the TSO 145/146 Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) onboard receivers. There were a total of six approaches performed during the flight trials, using Airbus AS-355 helicopters, performing Area Navigation (RNAV 150) procedures.

      “Satellite-based navigation is a key enabler for allowing SNI operations at airports. There is no other technology that can provide such great level of flexibility in the design of the trajectories,” Marc Torres, air navigation consultant for Pildo Labs told Avionics Magazine. “The flexibility that GNSS [Global Navigation Satellite System] offers in the design is vital for avoiding interference between helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft in the instrument part of flight.”

      Post Air Traffic Controller (ATC) reports collected by Pildo following the flight trials showed the controllers did not believe the proposed procedures would interfere with fixed wing aircraft operations at the airport and that the workload was about the same as a normal operational day for the controllers.

      “SNI concept of operations derivate from the “independent parallel approaches” mode of operation. ILS/MLS is required for such operations, and therefore vertically guided approaches are required also for the helicopter approach,” said Torres.

      For now, the SNI procedures are only being developed within the framework of NASCIO for Barcelona. As air traffic at busy European airports continues to follow growth patterns projected by the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), SESAR JU could consider introducing the procedures at other airports throughout Europe.


      • #4
        Terna Receive AS350B3e Scoiattolos

        Italian electrical transmission grid operator Terna has taken delivery of two Airbus Helicopters AS350B3e rotorcraft to perform surveillance and maintenance support for power lines that deliver electricity throughout the country.

        The two helicopters were delivered by Airbus Helicopter’s long term Italian distributor, Aersud Elicotteri, who won Terna’s tender and will retrofit some of the equipment required by the customer.

        Terna's new AS350B3e Scoiattolos

        The new aircraft provide Terna with its own resources to conduct airborne operations, enabling the company to provide such services rather than relying on subcontractors.

        Terna is the leading independent European company in kilometers of electrical lines managed, and ranks sixth worldwide. Through its Terna Rete Italia subsidiary, it manages a national transmission grid encompassing more than 63,500 km. of high voltage lines, with the responsibility for dispatching power and safely managing the balance between electrical demand and supply.

        The deployment of helicopters for surveillance and maintenance of electrical transmission grids provides multiple advantages, including the ability to visually inspect approximately 300 km. of power lines daily, a quick-reaction capability in detecting and evaluating failure or problems, and the ability to reach difficult or inaccessible areas – all while minimizing the environmental impact.

        As the high-performance member of Airbus Helicopters’ Ecureuil family, the AS350 B3 outclasses all other single engine helicopters for performance, versatility, safety and competitive acquisition and maintenance costs. It can be configured – and easily reconfigured – with a long list of certified equipment for utility missions, and has the lifting power capacity, endurance and maneuverability for the most demanding missions, including hot-and-high operations.

        The enhanced AS350 B3e version includes the more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine with a longer lifecycle and lower maintenance costs, a new FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control), avionics that feature Airbus Helicopters’ VEMD (Vehicle Engine Multifunction Display) and engine data recorder, along with an improved interior design and tail rotor modifications for additional ease of piloting.​


        • #5
          SAF Hélicoptères Buys Eagle's Super Puma

          Courchevel-based helicopter operator SAF Hélicoptères has added an AS332 Super Puma to its fleet and has started flying it for aerial work, a move it expects will generate increases in revenue.

          “We had been looking for a heavy-lift solution for nine years, after we ceased operating our Bell 214 because of parts issues,” said SAF president Christophe Rosset. The opportunity arose when Eagle Helicopter, a Swiss operator, filed for bankruptcy. A Super Puma that SAF had been leasing regularly came up for sale.

          Eagle Helicopters' Super Puma has been bought by SAF Hélicoptères​

          It is now used in aerial work, especially for installing and maintaining ski lifts in the neighboring Alps. “One load can weigh up to about 9,000 pounds,” Rosset said. Other work has included carrying rooftop air-conditioning systems and construction and earthmoving machinery.

          Between August 22 (when it entered into service with SAF) and September 26, the Super Puma had logged 71 hours. The goal is 500 flight hours per year, increasing revenues proportional to the €8,000 to €10,000 ($10,000 to $13,000) SAF charges per hour.

          A new subsidiary, SAF International, has been formed in Sion, Switzerland, to operate the helicopter. SAF employs one Super Puma pilot and plans to add at least one more. Ruag is responsible for maintenance.

          Separately, the company is predicting a boom in its training center’s activity in Albertville. The facility has housed two simulators since July. One of them, an Airbus Helicopters AS350B3 AStar/Ecureuil Reality H simulator, is owned by manufacturer Thales and jointly operated by SAF and Thales. SAF owns and operates the EC135 simulator.

          Both helicopters are ubiquitous among European operators, notably in the Alps. “We can see a synergy between the two simulators,” Rosset said. He expects a major contract to be signed soon and a large number of student pilots to arrive early next year.


          • #6
            HTM Helicopter Travel Munich in Joint Venture with Lufthansa

            Lufthansa customers will be able to reach the ski slopes of Germany faster than ever before this winter (assuming we get some more snow!) courtesy of a new helicopter service being provided by Munich's HTM Helicopter Service in collaboration with Lufthansa. The new service will commence on the 1st of January 2015.

            Lufthansa’s hub in southern Germany is within easy reach of ski resorts such as Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Zillertal, Kitzbühel, SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental and other resorts in the Alps and, as long as there is a helipad on site, customers will be able to choose their preferred destination. The service can be booked now and will operate until the end of April.

            HTM's EC145 D-HAKA

            In Munich, Lufthansa customers will be collected directly from their aircraft and handled by Munich Airport’s VIP service. HTM Helicopter Travel of Munich have been selected by Lufthansa to provide the service.

            First Class passengers can book this transfer via the service hotline on 0800 627 0508 and +49 69 86 799 444, while Business Class passengers can call at +49 89 21547172. Alternatively, passengers can make a reservation by emailing


            • #7

              HELI DAYS AUSTRIA

              Heli Days Austria 2016 is coming up, 9-11 September.

              Some Aviaforans will be attending this event, will you be going?




              • #8
                Turkey to Challenge Leonardo and Airbus with New Mid-Size Helicopter

                Turkish Aircraft Industries (TAI) has brought its T625 twin-engined medium utility helicopter partial mock-up to Paris, displaying the type in full scale for the first time outside Turkey.

                Turkey's new T625 mid-size twin

                TAI began the design of the T625 in 2013 under the name Ozgun. Development of a utility helicopter was driven primarily by the domestic market, especially the need to replace the aging fleet of Bell Model 205/UH-1Hs in service with the Turkish armed forces. Although there is no formal commitment yet to acquire the T625, the armed forces naturally have what TAI’s executive VP for the helicopter group, Metin Sancar, described as a “strong interest”.

                There is also a considerable and growing requirement for this class of helicopter for parapublic tasks such as air ambulance and rescue, while Turkey is also seeing a growth in helicopters used for executive travel, with a rise in the number of city helipads. TAI is displaying a representative VIP cabin at the show, and is studying air ambulance interiors that could take two or three stretchers plus an attendant. Sancar is hopeful of selling 300 T625s domestically over 15 years, and is aiming for more than 500 export sales over 20-to-25 years.


                • #9

                  Air Zermatt to the Rescue
                  • Snow has blocked all roads and the train leading to resort of Zermatt, a popular ski station in the Swiss Alps
                  • There are currently 'around 13,000' guests at the resort
                  • Tourists have been making the most of the situation indulging in a spot of après-ski to pass the time
                  • Helicopters have finally begun the process of evacuating the stranded skiers while trains begin to move again
                  Helicopters were finally able to access one of Switzerland's most popular alpine resorts as the evacuation of thousands of stranded skiers began on Tuesday evening after blizzard-like conditions saw train travel rendered impossible.

                  Heavy snowfall had trapped around 13,000 tourists at the ski resort Zermatt, with many indulging in a spot of après-ski to pass the time.

                  The snow has blocked all roads and the train leading to Zermatt, in the southern Swiss canton of Valais, leaving thousands stranded at the resort.