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  • Consolidated Helicopter News

    Textron Profits Up

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Textron said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter net income rose 13 percent, benefiting from higher revenue from its Cessna jet and Bell helicopter businesses and its industrial division. Textron Inc.'s shares gained $2.07, or 5.7 percent, to $38.17. For the three months that ended on Dec. 28,

    Textron earned $167 million, or 59 cents per share. That compares with $148 million, or 51 cents per share, in the same months a year earlier. Income from continuing operations was 60 cents per share, beating analysts' average estimate by a penny. Revenue rose 4 percent, to $3.51 billion from $3.36 billion.

    Analysts polled by FactSet expected $3.41 billion. The Cessna aircraft unit got a boost from deliveries of 62 new Citation business jets. Volumes rose in the Bell helicopter division and in the company's industrial unit, which makes golf carts, tools, test instruments and other products.

    Volumes fell in the unit that makes armored vehicles and equipment for the defense and aerospace markets. For this year, Textron anticipates earnings rising to $2 to $2.20 per share on revenue of $13.2 billion. Wall Street predicted profit of $2.22 per share on revenue of $13.3 billion.

    Textron's outlook doesn't include the $1.4 billion acquisition of aviation company Beechcraft, which is expected to close in the first half. In 2013, net income totaled $498 million, or $1.75 per share, on $12.1 billion in revenue.
    Last edited by Aviafora Newsdesk; 23rd January 2014, 16:58.

  • #2
    Pilot Praised for Emergency Landing

    A helicopter pilot’s prompt response to a rattling noise in a Robinson R22 helicopter avoided a potentially serious accident.

    On Oct. 12, 2011, the pilot was performing aerial work near Saxby Downs, Queensland when he heard the rattling noise. He opened the clutch actuator circuit breaker and, at the same time, noticed a burning rubber smell. He immediately made a precautionary landing and shut down the helicopter.

    The ATSB’s investigation into this incident, traced the problem to the clutch assembly where a group of locking nuts had cracked and fractured. This cracking had stemmed from the likely embrittling effect of residual hydrogen generated during the cadmium electroplating process applied during manufacture. The nut failures led to a series of mating part failures and a breakdown of the clutch assembly, producing the symptoms experienced by the pilot, which led to the landing.

    At the time of this occurrence the brittle failure of MS21042L-series nuts was an emerging airworthiness issue and several safety actions had already been implemented. Two months before this occurrence, the helicopter manufacturer issued service letters alerting owners and maintenance personnel to the potential for cracking and requiring the replacement of any cracked nuts on inspection.

    On the same day as this occurrence, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) issued an Airworthiness Bulletin alerting pilots and maintenance personnel of the need to closely monitor the condition of high-strength steel hardware (such as these nuts) with a view to identifying any failures that may have resulted from hydrogen-induced cracking.
    Last edited by Aviafora Newsdesk; 23rd January 2014, 16:36.


    • #3
      Army aviation leaders conduct delicate balancing act

      WASHINGTON — Leaders in the Army say they can meet “about 80 percent” of the aerial scout mission over the next several years by using a mix of Apache helicopters teamed with a variety of unmanned aircraft, while retiring the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, which has traditionally performed that role.

      Scout Role: US Army leaders expect Apaches to be part of the mix of platforms performing the aerial scout mission. (Photo: US Army)

      In 2010, the service conducted an analysis of alternatives that looked at options for the scout mission and found the best choice to be a mix of AH-64E Apache helicopters, teamed with unmanned systems.

      But at the time, “we didn’t have enough money to fund all the AH-64s necessary” to meet requirements, said Maj. Gen. Kevin Mangum, commanding general of the US Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, Ala., told the audience at the Association of the United States Army symposium on Jan. 14.

      Now that the Army is being forced to make some hard decisions as its budgets flatten and force structure constricts, Mangum said, “we have the opportunity to get to that mix and repackage the 698 AH-64s, teaming them up with the Shadow and Grey Eagle [UAVs] to meet about 80 percent of that armed aerial scout requirement.”

      “The scout mission is still valid,” said Maj. Gen. William Crosby, who wraps up his five years as the Army’s Program Executive Officer Aviation at the end of this month. “Unfortunately, sometimes what we do is tie a mission to a platform, but we’ve been doing that mission for a long time with the Kiowa.”

      Last edited by Aviafora Newsdesk; 23rd January 2014, 16:56.


      • #4
        UK considers 'surrogate' helicopters to reduce pilot training costs

        The United Kingdom is looking at introducing a new 'surrogate' helicopter type to train pilots at a lower cost than is currently the case with operational platforms, the deputy commander of the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) said on 23 January 2014.

        Speaking at the IQPC International Military Helicopter conference in London, Brigadier Neil Sexton revealed that with helicopters accounting for nearly half of the army's running costs, a cheaper training solution is being sought.
        He said that "45% of the army's running cost bill [is] taken up by helicopters. We have to reduce those costs to a minimum, and [the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is] looking at surrogate training".


        • #5
          United Technologies Profit Rises on Canada Helicopter Delay

          Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) -- United Technologies Corp.’s fourth- quarter earnings beat analysts’ estimates thanks to a last- minute deal with Canada to delay delivery of eight military helicopters that would have resulted in losses.
          Postponing the handover of the unprofitable aircraft produced a benefit of 6 cents a share, the company said today in a statement. Earnings from continuing operations rose 53 percent to $1.45 billion, or $1.58 a share, topping the $1.53 average estimate among 21 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
          “We really thought the Canada situation was going to be over and done with by the end of next year, but unfortunately it looks like there’s still more to learn,” said Nick Heymann, an analyst with William Blair & Co. in New York. “The timing of the remaining deliveries could affect where profit is this year versus next.”


          • #6
            Maltese Air Force helicopter used for national requirements – government

            The government used an army helicopter to transport Labour MP Justyne Caruana from Gozo to Malta since she was on Parliamentary duty.

            Dr Caruana was recalled from Marseille, in France, on Sunday soon after she had arrived for a Parliamentary Assembly for the Mediterranean conference, due to a debate on the citizenship for sale scheme that was held in Parliament on Monday evening. It was decided that Dr Caruana should return to Marseille on Tuesday and she required a transfer from Gozo to Malta airport to catch a flight to France.


            • #7

              U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry thanks the pilot and flight crew member of the Swiss Air Force helicopter that carried him from Davos, Switzerland, to Zurich on Jan. 25, 2014, after he attended the World Economic Forum (Photo: US Department of State)



              • #8
                Airbus Helicopters 2013 deliveries rise to 497

                PARIS: Airbus Helicopters, formerly called Eurocopter, said on Tuesday that it delivered 497 helicopters in 2013, up from 475 in the previous year.

                In a change of its usual reporting practice, the company said at a news conference that it would not give detailed operational figures ahead of parent Airbus Group's full-year results on Feb. 26.

                Airbus Helicopters Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said the company was committed to safety after a serious of accidents involving helicopters in the North Sea.


                • #9
                  South Korea service center for Russian Helicopters' aircraft

                  MOSCOW, Jan. 28 (UPI) -Russian Helicopters reports that the Korea Forest Service has formally opened a new service and maintenance center for Ka-32 aircraft.

                  The center is located in a multi-purpose complex that also houses the headquarters of the Korea Forest Service and will service all variants of the Ka-32 in South Korea and in service elsewhere in Asia.

                  "The opening of the new service center will first of all have a positive effect on prospects for promoting Russian-built Kamov-brand helicopters in East Asia," said Russian Helicopters Chief Executive Officer Alexander Mikheev. "This is a key region for our industry, and we want to be able to offer helicopter operators high-quality maintenance services through the whole life-cycle of our helicopters."

                  The center is the second in the country. Maintenance and service of the helicopters was previously outsourced to South Korean company LGI, one of Russian Helicopters' key partners in the region.

                  The LGI service center will continue to operate, Russian Helicopters said.

                  South Korea has 32 of the aircraft, which is used by the government and military for forest monitoring and firefighting, search-and-rescue missions, and for patrolling coastal waters.


                  • #10
                    Enstrom Helicopter changes leadership

                    MENOMINEE, MICH. — Jerry Mullins, current president and CEO of Enstrom Helicopter, will retire on Friday.. Mullins will continue to work as a consultant to Enstrom through 2014.

                    The company will promote vice president Tracy Biegler to president and CEO effective Saturday. Biegler is currently serving as Vice President

                    Biegler is a 26-year veteran of the aviation industry and 10-year employee with Enstrom. The company has expanded its production capacity and plans to increase its workforce.

                    The change in leadership will be formally announced at the Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo in Anaheim, Calif., in late February.

                    Founded in 1959, Enstrom Helicopter Corp. designs, fabricates, assembles, and tests a full line of light single helicopters for sale and delivery to customers in the global market. Enstrom is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chongqing Helicopter Investment Group.

                    For more information on Enstrom, go to


                    • #11
                      MoD contracts safeguard 1,000 AgustaWestland jobs

                      Two contracts worth £760m to convert Merlins and service Apaches a boost for helicopter maker.

                      Helicopter maker AgustaWestland has been awarded two contracts from the Ministry of Defence worth £760m which will secure 1,000 jobs in the UK.

                      The first contract will see Westland convert 25 Merlin helipcopters for use by the Royal Navy, while the second contract will provide the Apache attack helicopter fleet with support and maintenance service for for the Army for the next five years.

                      Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, who announced the contracts on a visit to Yeovil-based Westland, said the £760m investment was “vital in maintaining the Apache attack helicopter and Merlin helicopter as a first class airpower for our Army and Navy for many years to come”.

                      “This contract also demonstrates the strength and importance of the defence industry to the UK economy and how these programmes are supporting 1,000 highly skilled, UK based jobs whilst laying the foundations for long term growth throughout sector via the supply chain,” he said.

                      The £330m Merlin Life Support Programme (MLSP) will eventually see the Merlin replace the Royal Navy’s Sea King fleet, which are flown by Prince William, and will take place in two phases.

                      The first phase will see the delivery of seven Merlin helicopters, which have been adapted for use at sea, to provide the Royal Naval with an “interim capability” between the withdrawal of the Sea King in early 2016 and the fully-configured new Merlin beginning operational duty by mid-2018.

                      Phase two will see the fully-converted 25 Merlin helicopters, which will be designed and manufactured at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil plant, delivered between 2017 and 2020 and will be based at nearby Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton.

                      The fully-operational “phase two” helicopters will be fully optimised for ship operations and will include two touch screens for controlling the aircraft’s systems and mission equipment.

                      In total, the Merlin programme will sustain roughly 175 “highly-skilled jobs”, AgustaWestland said, as well as more than 500 jobs in the supply chain, which includes many small and medium-sized companies.

                      The five-year Apache Integrated Operational Support (IOS) contract, valued at £430m, will sustain around 360 jobs, mainly at Wattisham Airfield, Army Aviation Centre Middle Wallop and AgustaWestland’s Yeovil plant.

                      This is the second Apache contract of its type for AgustaWestland, which will provide full support and maintenance for the Ministry of Defence’s Apache helicopters from April 1 2014 to March 31 2019.

                      AgustaWestland will be the prime contractor and will work alongside Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Longbow International and Selex ES to deliver spares, engineering, maintenance, repair and overhaul and technical support services for the UK’s Apache fleet.
                      The announcement will be welcome news after the company warned earlier this month that jobs were under threat after the Indian government terminated a £465m contract amid bribery allegations.

                      At that time AgustaWestland revealed that it had prepared a “mitigation plan” that involved job losses. However, the company also said it would intensify legal action to reinstate the contract, saying it believed the Indian government did not have a case for terminating the deal.


                      • #12
                        New sensors for JBLM for low-flying helicopters

                        JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AP) - The Army plans a $4.6 million system at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to help monitor helicopters that fly below 500 feet - under the radar.

                        The system will improve safety for training flights at the base where four pilots were killed in a 2011 helicopter collision.

                        The News Tribune reports ( the Army hired Saab Defense and Security to build a Wide Area Multilateration system. It would place sensors around the training areas to give air traffic control at Gray Army Airfield a more complete picture of helicopters in flight.

                        The system has previously been installed at the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in California and the home of Navy aviation, Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

                        Lewis-McChord has 140 helicopters.


                        • #13
                          Fort Erie set to land new manufacturing jobs

                          Fort Erie is about to land some high-tech jobs at one of its local aerospace manufacturing companies.

                          Formerly known as Eurocopter Canada, Airbus Helicopters will be making an announcement on Tuesday, sharing news about expansion of its operations on Gilmore Road.

                          The Eurocopter Group was founded in 1992 with the merger of rotocraft divisions Aerospatiale from France and Deutsche Aerospace in Germany. In January 2014, the company rebranded itself and became Airbus Helicopters.

                          The company manufactures 12 different models of aircraft that are used for both military and civil purposes, accounting for one third of the fleet throughout the world.

                          It employs 22,000 people around the globe and its in-service fleet includes 12,000 helicopters, operated by more than 3,000 customers in approximately 150 countries.

                          Fort Erie has seen a decline in the amount of manufacturing jobs over the last two decades but its aerospace industry held firm with companies such as Fleet Industries, Aerospace Technologies and Airbus Helicopters.

                          Bullet News Niagara will have additional details about the expansion taking place after Tuesday's announcement.

                          A spokesperson based out of Airbus Helicopter's Fort Erie location said the event on Tuesday "is going to focus on manufacturing jobs," when reached for comment on Friday.


                          • #14
                            Airbus talk of electric backup motor

                            One concept demonstrator now being developed into a product is the electric backup motor. It was tested on an AS350 Ecureuil single in 2011.

                            Improvements in motors and electric energy storage have made a sound business case for such hybrid power, Faury said.

                            While not powerful enough to serve as a second engine, the system would make autorotation safer by countering any rpm drop and providing some power in the flare.

                            Faury declined to give a time frame for certification.
                            Last edited by Aviafora Newsdesk; 1st February 2014, 12:23.


                            • #15
                              Another Leasing Firm Arises

                              Hawke Aerospace Holdings and Perella Weinberg Partners Asset Based Value Strategy, a leading alternative asset management strategy and a unit of Perella Weinberg Partners, have launched Infinity Helicopter Leasing, a new helicopter equipment leasing venture.

                              Infinity Helicopter Leasing will focus primarily on the light (single and twin) and medium helicopter equipment types throughout the Western Hemisphere, particularly on-shore operators in the United States and Canada, such as health care organizations that use helicopters for air medical transportation, law enforcement agencies and utility operations. HAH’s maintenance, repair and overhaul subsidiary, Uniflight, and flight services subsidiaries, Keystone Med-Flight and Aviation Services Unlimited, will also be involved with the venture.

                              Infinity Helicopter Leasing and its affiliates acquired four helicopters in December 2013, the company’s first aircraft acquisitions.


                              • #16
                                Airbus Helicopters eyes Asian rotorcraft requirements

                                Growth in the region’s offshore oil and gas sector and the expected future opening of China’s lower airspace has kept Asia firmly in the sights of the major civil helicopter OEMs

                                For Airbus Helicopters, growth in Asia along with new opportunities in Eastern Europe and Latin America is projected to offset flat-lining markets in North America and Europe.

                                At the company’s annual presentation to the press in Paris, president Guillaume Faury noted that the most promising prospects were offered by oil and gas activity in the region as well as China’s burgeoning EMS sector.

                                ‘The market is trending towards medium and heavy helicopters. This trend can be attributed to the vitality and the transport needs of the offshore oil and gas industry. We have seen investment in both exploration and production double over the past decade. By 2020, 109 new offshore platforms will likely be built, located at significant distances from the coast, accessed in most cases by helicopter,’ Faury said.

                                The company believes such trends will lead to increased demand for its EC225 and EC175 helicopters – the latter of which was recently approved for certification by EASA.

                                In China, the company’s long history of partnering with domestic industry may pay off in the next five or so years as the military loosens its grip on the country’s lower airspace.

                                ‘In China the skies are starting to open and this is raising very high hopes, especially given the extent to which the country is under-equipped for its current and future airlift needs,’ Faury explained.

                                ‘The current capacity represents just 350 civil helicopters, which is not much for a population of 1.4 billion spread across 9 million square kilometres. Last year just 25 to 30 civil helicopters were delivered by the industry. However, according to our projections, the pace should increase to around 200 helicopters a year by 2020.’

                                Dominique Maudet, executive VP of global business and services, added that EMS services were also expected to be increasingly established across China as the population demands access to such medical services. He also highlighted Vietnam and Malaysia as two countries with growing offshore oil industries.

                                While the end of January saw the global marketplace have second-thoughts about wisdom in investing in emerging markets – causing instability for emerging currencies – Faury downplayed the effect this might have on regional sales.

                                As an example, he highlighted Thailand where social unrest has cast a long shadow over the country’s economy. However, Faury argued that the nature of oil and gas activities meant the sector remained divorced from such economic indicators and the company remained bullish about opportunities there.


                                • #17
                                  Bell Helicopter Singapore to Expand Services

                                  Bell Helicopter – which has a regional service center in Singapore that also does maintenance and reassembly of helicopters – is looking to expand its technical capability here by doing more complex customization work.

                                  C. M. Hwang, Bell Helicopter managing director of commercial sales for Asia Pacific, says the facility in Singapore already has the capability to do some customization, but he describes this as minor work, in which the team in Singapore are working from kits sent from the factory in the U.S.

                                  He says they aim to do major customization work in future that involves adding advanced features needed – by enforcement agencies, for example – such as FLIR and searchlights.

                                  The facility in Singapore also expects to add flight training to its repertoire. “The plan is to have a flight training device here,” says Hwang, who declines to say for which helicopter it will be. He says it depends on market demand, but types it may consider are the Bell 429 and Bell 412.

                                  At the Singapore Airshow, Bell Helicopter has the Bell 407GX and Bell 429 on display. The 429 is in an emergency medical service (EMS) configuration.

                                  Hwang says they chose to display the 407GX at the show, “because it has been a good seller for us, yet we have never actually had a demo tour or significant marketing event in Asia for the 407GX. We think we will get a good response having it at the show, because we did a demo tour of the 407GX in Australia, and that tour resulted in sales for us.”


                                  • #18
                                    New Online Fuel Calculation Resource

                                    19 Feb, 14

                           is today adding fuel weight calculations to its website.

                                    As part of a planned expansion to provide the industry with more resources, has today added graphics to provide the multiplication factors needed to convert the various measures of volume - Imperial Gallons, US Gallons and Litres - into Pounds or Kilograms.

                                    All details can be found at and further fuel-related resources will be added in due course.


                                    • #19
                                      New Rolls-Royce HeliOps Center Open 24/7

                                      Rolls-Royce has launched a 24/7 Operations Center for its civil helicopter engines to deliver round-the-clock support for its global customer base. The new center is the focal point of a series of improvements to the customer experience for helicopter engine operators and fleets, aimed at further enhancing mission success.

                                      The new Operations Center will align helicopter engine support with a model already proven successful in both civil and military operations.

                                      Operators will benefit from M250 and RR300 fleet support through the 24/7 engineering support center, aligning overall support processes with the Rolls-Royce Defense Operations Center in Indianapolis.

                                      About 4,500 individual helicopter customers are now supported by the Operations Center, including nearly 16,000 civil aircraft.


                                      • #20
                                        Canadian Pilots Not Pleased

                                        Canadian helicopter pilots are displeased by the federal government’s temporary foreign worker program.

                                        Pilots say they’re being denied jobs in favour of cheaper temporary foreign workers.

                                        Dozens of so-called labour market opinion applications for temporary employees from private helicopter companies across Canada say they’re unable to find domestic pilots.

                                        One longtime helicopter pilot says temporary foreign workers are typically paid half of what their Canadian counterparts make, and accuses helicopter operators of capitalizing on the program to increase their profit margins.

                                        He says he applied to several jobs at companies and was told each time there were no openings, only to later learn they had applied for temporary foreign workers.

                                        One aviation industry expert says when companies say they can’t find qualified workers, federal officials are unable to confirm the claims and rarely investigate further.

                                        Gilles Hudicourt, a longtime Air Transat pilot who’s spent years crusading against the temporary foreign worker program in the aviation sector, says “the poor helicopter pilot in Canada” is particularly victimized by system.

                                        Most of them aren’t unionized, he says, and are afraid to complain publicly for fear of being blacklisted by helicopter operators.


                                        • #21
                                          S-76 Down in India


                                          • #22
                                            R44 Ditching