World Helicopter NEWS

Latest NEWS from the helicopter world

HELI-EXPO 2018 – PRESS RELEASE – 21 February 2018

The H160 lands in Las Vegas, kicking off Airbus’ presence at Heli-Expo. H160 prototype, H145, H135 and H125 alongside a full range of updated HCare digital solutions.

Las Vegas, USA, 21 February 2018 – The H160 prototype has landed in Las Vegas and will be headlining Airbus Helicopters’ presence for the first time ever at an international airshow at this year’s Heli-Expo from 27 Feb – 1 March at the Las Vegas convention centre.

Showgoers will be able see for themselves the #H160ReasonsWhy the H160 is raising the bar in the industry. “We are proud to be bringing the H160 prototype to Heli-Expo for the first time”, said Ben Bridge, Executive Vice President for Global Business. “This aircraft is emblematic of the company’s transformation in every domain from concept and design, to the revamped industrial production model enabling enhanced industrial maturity from entry into service, and capitalizing on key digital technologies for greater customer support and maintenance.

All of this has been done with our customers’ priorities in mind, and we are excited that they will get to experience the H160 shortly with the US demo tour kicking off after the show,” he added. Maintenance demos on the H160 will be performed daily to show how maintenance has been optimized and facilitated thanks to its unique design and new processes like the “Operator Zero” campaign.

Alongside the second prototype of the H160, on booth N1915, Airbus Helicopters will be displaying its HGeneration range of mission enablers including HCare services that allow customers to focus on their operations safely, efficiently and cost-effectively. On display will be an H125 in a law enforcement configuration, the H135 equipped with Helionix, and the H145 in a private and business aviation configuration. In its on-going commitment to innovation and the future of flight, Airbus Helicopters is incorporating new digital and electrical technologies into products and services alike. A great example of this is CityAirbus, Airbus’ self-piloted battery powered aircraft designed with the latest safety standards to transport four passengers for inner-city flights.

A mock-up of this innovative project will be showcased at Heli-Expo as the project team is busy maturing technologies that will allow a demonstrator to fly at the end of this year. However Urban Air Mobility for Airbus Helicopters does not stop at the aircraft itself and as part of its new customer services offer, Airbus Helicopters intends to provide travellers with on-demand helicopter services to escape urban congestion by taking to the skies, as the recently integrated Voom project exemplifies.

PRESS RELEASE – 15 February 2018

NEW HELICOPTER SERVICE FROM LAND’S END AIRPORT TO THE ISLES OF SCILLY.

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group has announced the start of a new helicopter service from Land’s End Airport to the Isles of Scilly from May this year.

Called Island Helicopters it will operate year-round up to six days a week from Land’s End Airport, with up to eight return flights a day. Fares start from £215 for a return. The flight time will be approximately 15 minutes.

Tickets will go on sale in April and passengers can register their interest now at www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk/islesofscillyhelicopter or by calling the Isles of Scilly Travel Centre on 01736 334240.

Island Helicopters will be operated by Gloucester-based Specialist Aviation Services (SAS) in partnership with the Steamship Group using a brand new 10-seater AW169 aircraft. SAS is no stranger to Cornwall.

Passengers can park at Land’s End Airport or a new park and ride service will chauffer them from Penzance train station or their accommodation to and from Land’s End Airport in just 15 minutes.

Island Helicopters will complement and integrate with the existing Skybus fixed wing flights from Land’s End, Newquay and Exeter Airports, and the seasonal Scillonian III ferry which sails from Penzance. Together they carried 214,000 passengers last year.

Andrew May, chairman of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Island Helicopters to Land’s End Airport and look forward to sharing our modern facilities, which already handle more than 60,000 passengers a year. We know there is demand from thousands of people who have really missed the helicopter since it stopped in 2012.

“We’ve listened to that demand, investigated what we believe can work, and have partnered with SAS to make it happen. This gives visitors and islanders more choice over how they travel and makes the transport network more resilient, which is exactly what our customers say they want.”

Andrew added: “We plan to fly to St Mary’s Airport and Tresco, subject to agreement with both. We know how important a direct high quality helicopter link is to Tresco’s customers and we are renewing our offer to Tresco to work with us to make the service a success for all of the islands.”

Henk Schaeken, managing director of SAS, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Steamship Group to provide the aircraft and crews for these new helicopter flights from Land’s End Airport. The AW169 is a state-of-the-art helicopter and we’ll be providing a brand new aircraft straight off the production line, offering passengers a speedy and comfortable service. We look forward to expanding our operations in Cornwall.”

The announcement has been welcomed by business leaders in Cornwall. Kim Conchie, chief executive of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “The visitor economy is crucial to the Isles of Scilly and any sustainable development that strengthens transport links has got to be welcomed. This new service will offer more choice year-round, and that’s great news.”

And business leader Chris Pomfret, former chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “When the previous helicopter service to Scilly ceased for financial reasons, I was Chair of the LEP and know only too well what a blow that was. I am therefore delighted for those who love the islands – whether residents, visitors or local businesses – that a new service is being put in place using a latest generation helicopter. I am sure this will be welcomed by everyone involved with the Islands and hope it proves a commercial success.”

Land’s End Airport handles over 60,000 passengers and more than 10,000 aircraft movements a year, and is just over a mile from the A30 and only seven miles from Penzance.

In recent years the Steamship Group has completely upgraded Land’s End Airport to include a new £1 million terminal building, extra car parking and a £2.6m project to replace the main grass runways with asphalt, which was part-funded by the European Union.

The company has recently completed a £260,000 investment in equipping all eight of its Skybus aircraft with a new GPS-based landing system to improve resilience and reliability.

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group was founded by islanders almost 100 years ago to provide lifeline passenger and freight services to the Isles of Scilly.

The £17-million turnover business employs 228 staff and returns more than £1.1 million a year to local communities through subsidised travel, freight, sponsorships and grants.

PRESS RELEASE – 14 February 2018

Era Group celebrates 70 years of service.

Era Group Inc., one of the largest helicopter operators in the world and the longest serving helicopter transport operator in the United States, has commenced a year-long celebration of 70 years of service beginning in 1948.

Era’s founder, Carl Brady, learned to fly helicopters in Washington State where he formed Economy Pest Control. In 1948, Brady renamed his company Economy Helicopters and moved his Bell 47B helicopter to Alaska to support the U.S. Government’s mapping of the territory — the first use of a commercial helicopter in Alaska. By 1950, Brady’s Alaska-based company had moved into the petroleum support business and in 1958 merged with Rotor Aids, Inc. The first letters of Economy and Rotor Aids were combined, and the company became ERA Helicopters, Inc.

Rowan Companies, Inc. purchased Era Helicopters in 1967, and by 1970 the company was operating in the Gulf of Mexico, the Middle East and Africa. In 2004, SEACOR Holdings Inc. purchased then-named Era Aviation Inc. from Rowan to complement its existing aviation business, Tex-Air. On Feb. 1, 2013, Era Group Inc. began trading on the New York Stock Exchange as an independent public company following a spin-off from SEACOR. 

With a current fleet of more than 130 helicopters, Era has emerged as a leader in the helicopter industry providing an array of services including offshore personnel transport, emergency air medical, search-and-rescue, firefighting, utility, VIP transport and flightseeing services. Era also provides a variety of operating lease solutions and technical fleet support to third party operators.

“As we celebrate Era’s 70-year history as a pioneer in the aviation industry, we will continue our contribution to Era’s rich legacy by focusing on the company’s mission to provide safe, efficient and reliable helicopter services,” said Chris Bradshaw, Era’s president and chief executive officer. “I want to thank all of the Era team members, both past and present, for their contributions in making Era one of the global leaders in our industry.”

PRESS RELEASE – 1 Febbraio 2018

Il 1° febbraio 2018 ha segnato un evento storico nel panorama elicotteristico mondiale. Nel nuovo quartiere generale di Wetzikon, nella cintura industriale di Zurigo, Andreas Loewenstein, nuovo CEO di SHM (conosciuta come Swiss Helicopter Marenco), ha rivelato il nome nuovo dell’azienda, che d’ora in avanti si chiamerà ”KOPTER”.

Dopo l’uscita di scena del socio fondatore ed ex CEO Martin Stucki, che aveva dato un’impronta più ingegneristica, il nuovo managment, per la maggior parte di provenienza Aerospatiale/ Eurocopter/ Airbus, ha come obbiettivo primario essere un costruttore di elicotteri e diventare nei prossimi anni uno dei tre maggiori player mondiali nel settore civile.
Il nuovo nome deve essere corto, di facile pronuncia e riconosciuto facilmente in ogni parte del mondo. La lettera “K”, invece della “C”, rimarca l’origine tedesca e la precisione svizzera, entrambi al primo posto per evidenziare una filosofia aziendale dedicata alla massima soddisfazione dei clienti. La certificazione, inizialmente prevista per il 2015, è poi slittata nel tempo. Ora l’obbiettivo principale è ottenere la certificazione EASA nei primi mesi del 2019 e a seguire, non più tardi di 8 mesi, americana FAA.
Le prime consegne del monomotore, che mantiene la designazione di SKYe SH09, sono previste per la seconda metà del 2019, con l’ambizioso target di consegnare fino a 10 macchine entro la fine dello stesso anno. Ad oggi l’azienda conta 250 dipendenti altamente qualificati, di 19 nazionalità differenti. Il cuore dell’azienda rimane svizzero, come sinonimo di precisione, affidabilità e qualità; tutti i componenti critici di classe A sono costruiti in casa. I componenti dinamici sono costruiti a Ennetmoos, fusoliera, pale, pre-assemblaggio dei gruppi e la catena di fornitura sono a Naefels, progettazione, engineering, uffici commerciali ed amministrazione a Wetzikon. L’assemblaggio finale e le prove di volo hanno luogo ull’aeroporto di Mollis, che in occasione dell’incontro con la stampa del 1° febbraio, ha visto il taglio del nastro del nuovo edificio di 4.000 m2. A breve è prevista la costruzione di altri 14.000 m2 nella stessa area aeroportuale.
Per soddisfare e supportare il mercato americano, che si stima dovrebbe accogliere il 45% delle vendite, sono stati aperti vari uffici, tra cui una divisione commerciale, a Dallas. A Monaco di Baviera si trovano il supporto ingegneristico e ci si occupa di tutte le pratiche relative alla certificazione ed eventuali sviluppi futuri. Nelle intenzioni dell’azienda vi è la costruzione di un sito produttivo negli USA ed uno in Asia, anche se per quest’ultima non è ancora stata individuata la nazione. Considerando i volumi di vendita, la produzione è coperta per i prossimi 2-3 anni. Ad oggi Kopter ha in carniere 27 ordini confermati, mentre altri 19 contratti diventeranno operativi subito dopo la certificazione, oltre a 120 lettere di intento. Il 45% degli elicotteri è destinato al mercato americano, mentre il restante 65% distribuito nei 5 continenti. Il maggiore utilizzo per questa macchina della classe delle 2.5 tonnellate, che può volare fino a 140 kts in crociera, spazia dal trasporto di materiali e/o passeggeri ( pilota più 7), ai voli panoramici (grazie all’ampia vetratura), ad enti parapubblici ed all’HEMS. Proprio un mock-up in configurazione HEMS sarà esposto il prossimo marzo a Las Vegas, in occasione dell’annuale Heli-Expo.
Il CEO Andreas Loewenstein spera in un cambio di normative all’interno di EASA in modo da permettere l’utilizzo di monomotori nel settore medicale in Europa, come già avviene da anni negli Stati Uniti ed in Asia. In competizione con Leonardo AW119, Bell B407, Airbus Helicopters H125 e H130, l’SH09 incorpora molte innovazioni, essendo stato concepito diversi anni dopo i principali concorrenti. I sedili e serbatoi sono a prova di crash, rotore di coda silenzioso, motore Honeywell HTS900-2 a doppio canale FADEC. Il prototipo P1 HB-ZXA, praticamente un dimostratore che ha volato solo 1.5 ore, fa bella mostra all’interno negli uffici di Wetzikon, il secondo P2 HB-ZXB, utilizzato come de-risk program, ha all’attivo circa 70 ore di volo e a breve verrà affiancato dal P3 HB-ZXC, mentre il P4, prima macchina di pre-serie, dovrebbe volare nella seconda metà di quest’anno.
Il P3 di fatto inizierà la vera e propria fase delle prove di volo. Abbandonerà l’affascinante cornice delle montagne svizzere, troppo soggette al maltempo, a spazi ristretti e all’impossibilità di trasmettere i dati telematici. Per questo motivo è stata individuata una più idonea area prove nel sud dell’Italia. Con il nuovo logo che rappresenta un mix di rotore quadripala e croce svizzera, la mission del nuovo corso è focalizzata sulle persone e sviluppare soluzioni per gli operatori con un occhio di riguardo alla costruzione impeccabile, a training dedicati e personalizzati, e soprattutto al servizio postvendita, motivo principale di lamentele degli operatori verso la maggior parte dei costruttori attuali.

PRESS RELEASE – 1 February 2018

Say hello to Kopter! Marenco Swisshelicopter (MSH) rebrands its fast-growing business.

Wetzikon/Zurich, February 1st, 2018 – MSH, the Swiss helicopter manufacturer, has unveiled its new brand name.
During an inauguration event held at its recently completed corporate/engineering facility, the company’s CEO, Andreas Loewenstein, introduced Kopter to customers, suppliers, partners and staff. Kopter marks a new chapter in the company’s history. The launch is an opportunity for the company’s leadership to share its ambitious business strategy, as well as news about its upcoming flight test programme and the start of production of the SH09 helicopter.
The introduction of the Kopter name, logo and brand design is a decisive step that places the business as a potential leader in the marketplace. By simplifying the brand, Kopter will be better placed to tell the world its story. The distinctive branding will be accompanied by a bold new strapline that outlines the business’s everyday aim – and its ongoing vision – for missions
accomplished. Loewenstein said of the rebrand: “We’re a company with an upward trajectory. Over the past few years, we have grown quickly. To support that growth, and place us as a leader in our field, we need to be clear about who we are. That means investing in our brand and telling our story.”

“Our new name provides us with immediate recognition. It allows us to own a word that is synonymous with helicopter travel. As we are an unmistakably Swiss company, the use of a ‘k’ – instead of a ‘c’ – gives the Kopter a strong, Swiss–Germanic feel. It has a feeling of solidity and dependability – two things that are essential in our industry.” “Kopter is a modern name. In branding as in engineering, confidence is delivered through simplicity of thought. Kopter is a marker in the ground to let people know we have arrived – and we’re here to stay.” Kopter also makes a promise to its customers: whatever the missions, whatever the times, wherever the places, Kopter will get you where you’re going – safely, quickly and consistently.

PRESS RELEASE – 7 February 2018

Leonardo expands its presence in Bangladesh helicopter market.

  • Three AW109 Trekker and two AW119Kx helicopters to be delivered in 2018 to Bashundhara Airways.
  • Leonardo’s footprint in the market expanding to over 30% of turbine helicopters.
  • Bashundhara Airways also to become exclusive distributor and a Service Centre for
    Leonardo civil helicopters in Bangladesh.

Singapore, 07 February 2018 – Leonardo is expanding its share of the growing Bangladeshi helicopter market with the announcement, during Singapore Air Show, of the upcoming delivery of five helicopters to Bashundhara Airways, comprising three AW109 Trekkers and two AW119Kx. The helicopters will be used for EMS, utility, law-enforcement, surveillance, VIP, corporate & passenger transport applications and are all scheduled to be delivered before the end of 2018 bringing Leonardo’s market share to exceed a 30%. Furthermore, Bashundhara Airways has been appointed exclusive distributor of Leonardo civil helicopters in Bangladesh and will establish a Service Centre for the Country, thus beginning a fruitful collaboration. The appointment marks another step in Leonardo’s ongoing expansion of its customer support network around the world, establishing centers close to customers to provide quicker and better services.

Leonardo already has an established presence in Bangladesh with government customers operating helicopters – including twin-engine AW139s with the Bangladesh Air Force and AW109Mss with the Navy – and other defence and security systems. Bashundhara Airways is part of Bashundhara Group, one of the largest conglomerates of Bangladesh. Leaded by the dynamic leadership of Managing Director Mr. Safwan Sobhan, the company, debuted in late 2016 great vision to be one of the remarkable & extraordinary air service providers of south-east Asia, being the most cost-effective & upholding uncompromised safety, unmatched quality & unbroken commitments. Bashundhara Airways is working with the Bangaldesh government to establish the first & only private heliport in the heart of Dhaka. The AW119Kx is a best in class single engine helicopter featuring a ‘state-of-the-art’ avionics system for enhanced situational awareness, mission effectiveness and safety. Nearly 300 AW119 helicopters have been ordered to date in almost 40 countries by over 120 customers. The AW109 Trekker is the latest addition to Leonardo’s helicopter portfolio and the company’s first light twin to offer skid landing gear. Featuring modern modular avionics it can be easily configured for a wide range of roles and is the ideal solution for EMS, utility, SAR, law enforcement, surveillance and passenger transport applications. Orders for over 40 AW109 Trekkers have been logged so far by customers in Europe, North America and Asia to perform roles like emergency medical service, law enforcement and utility missions.

PRESS RELEASE – 7 February 2018

Leonardo cresce in Indonesia con nuovi ordini e consegne nel settore degli elicotteri.

  • Ordinati due AW169 destinati al trasporto aziendale.
  • Leonardo amplierà ulteriormente la presenza nel Paese grazie alle prossime consegne di elicotteri per missioni offshore, antincendio e di elisoccorso.
  • La flotta di elicotteri di Leonardo in Indonesia è raddoppiata negli ultimi 3 anni.

Singapore, 7 febbraio 2018 – L’Indonesia si conferma un mercato in forte crescita per Leonardo grazie ad un nuovo ordine nel Paese per due elicotteri intermedi leggeri AW169 destinati al trasporto aziendale.

Gli elicotteri, i primi di questo modello ordinati in Indonesia, saranno consegnati entro la fine del 2018. Con le imminenti consegne di un ulteriore AW139, che sarà gestito dalla compagnia aerea Travira per operazioni offshore, e di due AW119Kx per attività antincendio e di elisoccorso all’operatore NUH, Leonardo espande ulteriormente la sua presenza in ambito elicotteristico nel Paese con una crescita della flotta del 100% negli ultimi 3 anni.

I nuovi ordini e le consegne si aggiungono a vari modelli impiegati per numerosi ruoli, confermando la flessibilità della gamma di prodotti di Leonardo nel settore. Tra questi, l’elicottero intermedio AW139, gestito dall’agenzia governativa BASARNAS per missioni di ricerca e soccorso, altri AW139 per attività offshore e un mix di elicotteri monomotore e bimotore leggeri impiegati per il trasporto di passeggeri. Leonardo è, inoltre, presente nel Paese nell’ambito di diversi programmi governativi e militari, nei sistemi di difesa forniti alla Marina indonesiana e nel settore dell’osservazione satellitare.

PRESS RELEASE – 7 February 2018.

Airbus Helicopters starts the year with new orders and deliveries in Japan.

Singapore, 7 February 2018 – Airbus Helicopters’ business in Japan gains traction with two new orders and two new deliveries at the start of the year, reaffirming the company’s strong presence in the country. Currently leading the Japanese civil and parapublic helicopter market with more than 50% market share, Airbus Helicopters plans to increase its position in tandem with the Japan’s projected fleet growth of 2% annually over the next 20 years. 

The first contract was signed with longstanding customer Excel Air Services, for a Helionix-equipped H135 helicopter. This new aircraft will join the operator’s growing Airbus fleet currently comprising an AS355N, AS350B2, AS350B3 and Hermès-designed H135. This best-seller light-twin helicopter will be dedicated for electronic news gathering missions.

The second contract was signed with a new customer the Hokkaido Government, which placed an order for one AS365N3+ helicopter from the Dauphin family. The helicopter will be dedicated for rescue missions and supporting activities in the Prefecture and will play an important role in the North of Japan, known for its extensive fields and harsh winter conditions.

Additionally, Airbus has delivered one AS365N3+ helicopter each to the Fukuoka City Fire Department and the Kumamoto prefecture respectively, for firefighting work, search and rescue missions and emergency support. “The successive orders and deliveries signal a good start to the new year in Japan, as we renew long-lasting relationships and welcome new ones,” said Olivier Tillier, Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters in Japan. “With more orders expected in the coming months, we are all geared to provide total support through our well established value chain to serve the growing needs of our customers.”