World Helicopter NEWS

Latest NEWS from the helicopter world

BQ-102 – Heli image of the day

Thanks to Diogo RICARDO for these new images of the Agusta A109K2 BQ-102 operated from Cuerpo de Bomberos del Distrito Metropolitano de Quito at Quito in May and September 2019. This helicopter was previously operated in Italy as I-HBHB from 1995 till 2011 and than sold to Germany a D-HABI and later on Ecuador as HC-CRE.

D-HHPJ – WORLD ROTORS update

Thanks to Andreas HOFFMANN for these first images of the Leonardo Helicopters AW169 D-HHPJ, delivered few days ago to Heli Service International Gmbh, wearing full N.H.V. color scheme … Emden Airport, February 2020.

HAI Heli-Expo 2020

The annual HAI Heli-Expo 2020 Event is over …. lots of new Press Releases and new helicopters on display at Anaheim, CA.

Thanks to Oscar BERNARDI & Gianfilippo COLASANTO for their contribution in order to realize this exhaustive Photo Report Page with full coverage of the exposition … 225 images to enjoy.

HAI Heli-Expo 2020

PRESS RELEASE – 30 January 2020

Alternate Gross Weight available for the latest version of the H135 family of helicopters.

Airbus Helicopters has announced a new Alternate GrossWeight (AGW) available on the latest version of the H135 family of helicopters. H135 helicopters with the new alternate gross weight benefit from a 120kg (265 lb) increased take-off weight and useful load. This increase can also be used to extend the range by up to 75nm or the endurance by up to 40 minutes under standard conditions.

The new AGW will becertified by EASA and FAA in 2020 and can be retrofitted on all H135s with Helionix. The best-in-class Direct Operational Cost (DOC) and Direct Maintenance Costs (DMC) of the H135 are maintained under the new AGW, with no reduction of part lifetimes or additional inspections. The new AGW will apply for visual and instrument flight rules (VFR and IFR).

To date, more than 1,300 helicopters of the H135 family are in operation around the globewith more than five million flight hours. More than 300 customers in 60 countries use helicopters from the H135 family for a wide range of missions including Emergency Medical Services (EMS), law enforcement, corporate transport, offshore wind and military training.

HAI Heli-Expo 2020

PRESS RELEASE – 28 January 2020

The U.S. agency will use the aircraft for security during rocket launches, emergency medical services and qualified personnel transport.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has placed an order for three H135 helicopters, marking the first-ever partnership between the U.S. space program and Airbus Helicopters.

The order was announced today at the Airbusbooth at the Heli Expo Trade show in Anaheim, California. TheH135s will be operated out of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a variety of missions, including rocket launches, security, emergency medical services, and passenger transport.

Two of the helicopters are scheduled for delivery later this summer, with a third planned for early 2021. “NASA chose the H135 because Airbus was able to meet all the NASA mission requirements which include personnel movements, airborne law enforcement roles, aerial firefighting, weapons training, and overwater operations,”said Dave Ramsey, NASA’s Chief of Flight Operations at the Kennedy Space Center. “The H135 provides a modernized airframe that performs well in the Florida environment and will serve to protect NASA assets and personnel for years to come.”

As part of a fleet replacement initiative, NASA will acquire the aircraft through Davenport Aviation, an SBA-certified woman-owned small business and HUB Zone contractor specializing in the supply of aerospace equipment to federal, state and local government agencies. “These new helicopters will help support NASA and the men and women who advance space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research,” said Romain Trapp, President of Airbus Helicopters Inc. and Head of the North America region. “We look forward to partnering with NASA to provide them with the best products and services to complete their important mission.”

The H135 is the market leader among light twin-engine helicopters, known for its endurance, reliability and versatility. It boasts the Airbus-developed Helionix avionics suite designed by pilots specifically for helicopters. The H135’s advanced cockpit improves pilots’ situational awareness, and the high-set main rotor and Fenestron shrouded tail rotor enhance operational safety. Globally ,the H135 operates in more than 60 countries and has flown more than 5million flight hours.

HAI Heli-Expo 2020

PRESS RELEASE – 28 January 2020

Retrofit of 34 Maverick aircraft as Airbus announces CRFS certification for EC130B4 and AS350B3 and B3e models, including cargo swing.

Maverick Helicopters and Airbus Helicopters have announced they will partner to retrofit the tourism operator’s entire fleet of 34 EC130 B4 helicopters with the Airbus Helicopters Crash Resistant Fuel System (CRFS), which has just received EASA certification with FAA to follow shortly.

Maverick Helicopters, one of the largest aviation-based tourism companies in the world, carries morethan 250,000 passengers annually in Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Hawaii. It operates an exclusively Airbus fleet of nearly 50 helicopters, comprised of the H130 which has come standardwith a CRFS since its entry into service in 2012 and of its earlier variant the EC130 B4. Thecompany’s decision to ensure that its earlier models have the same CRFS as the rest of its fleet reinforces both Maverick’s and Airbus’s strong commitment to ensuring the highest levels of safety available in the industry. “We are glad that Airbus has been able to provide us with their own retrofit kit for our fleet of EC130B4s, as it’s important for us to bring our entire fleet up to the same high standards,” said Greg Rochna, CEO of Maverick Helicopters. “Retrofitting such a large fleet is not a small endeavor, and Airbus Helicopters has shown great support, and we expect this to continue as we work together moving forward.”

Airbus Helicopters has also announced that its CRFS was certified last month by EASA for operations with a cargo swing on H125, in full compliance with the 27.952 regulation, and that it is now also available for the AS350 B3 variant for retrofit. Furthermore, the Airbus Helicopters CRFS, which comes standard on all H125 aircraft coming from Airbus Helicopters’ Columbus, Miss. production facility will now come standard on all new-built H125s worldwide. Any Airbus H125 or H130 family helicopter in service today that does not have a CRFS can be equipped with one through either an Airbus Helicopters or third-party approved retrofit solution, based on the model. To encourage the implementation of this important safety feature industrywide, Airbus Helicopters has been offering its CRFS retrofit kits at the below-cost price of € 35000 or US$44,000 worldwide for the past year and has been providing incentives to its customers who choose to retrofit their fleet with a third-party solution.

HAI Heli-Expo 2020 … Complete Photo Report Page

HAI Heli-Expo 2020

PRESS RELEASE – Anaheim, 30 January 2020

Air Zermatt has selected VRM Switzerland as its supplier for an innovative training solution based on virtual reality (VR) technology.

The simulator’s visual system provides 3D vision with unprecedented resolution. “This will allow our discerning pilots to effectively train for difficult scenarios on mountain landing sites, with bright sunshine and under various snow conditions such as white-outs,” says Air Zermatt CEO Gerold Biner.

The simulator can also be used for other scenarios, such as external load training (HESLO), autorotationand vortex recovery, using a validated flight data model. The small environmental footprint and the cost-effective price were important criteria for Air Zermatt when it selected VRM Switzerland’s simulator. In the long run, it will enable Air Zermatt to conduct morein-house training, allowing it to reduce the travel costs and time involved in traveling to other training centers. All this while doing something good for the environment in Zermatt.

“We have not found anything on the market that comes close to the solution that VRM Switzerland is offering in terms of quality and technology,” says Biner. “And I would like to mention the ultimate key to a successful partnership. We here at Air Zermatt are very passionate about what we do. So it was great to find in VRM Switzerland a team that is equally passionate about what they do: Offering the demanding pilot the best simulator experience.”

HZ-HC5 – WORLD ROTORS update

Thanks to Luigi PISANO / Aviaphotos for these images of the third Leonardo AW139 delivered to The Helicopter Company of Saudi Arabia and registered HZ-HC5 … at the beginning of the ferry flight towards her new home. Milan Malpensa, February 2020.

PRESS RELEASE – PHOENIX, 5 February 2020, Amanda JENSEN

  • 2020 findings show increased deliveries, despite slightly lower purchase plans than in 2019
  • Light single-engine models are most-desired product class
  • Higher purchase rates expected in Europe and Latin America, lower in North America
  • Results show increases in purchase plans for corporate/VIP transport missions and overall aircraft utilization

In its 22nd annual “Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook,” Honeywell (NYSE: HON) forecasts 4,100 new civilian-use helicopters will be delivered from 2020 to 2024, marginally higher than the five-year forecast from 2019. While deliveries are expected to be higher than 2019, purchase plans are lower, but only by less than a percentage point.

“This year, we anticipate higher deliveries due to entry into service of new helicopter platforms,” said Heath Patrick, president, Americas Aftermarket, Honeywell Aerospace. “Despite the slight dip in purchase plans, we see several bright spots, including higher utilization rates. This means operators plan to use their aircraft more frequently over the next 12 months. Honeywell is prepared for this upswing and is committed to providing seamless global customer support, while also maintaining our focus on bringing new, innovative products to the helicopter market.”

Key survey findings this year include:

  • Purchase plans are significantly stronger from the corporate/VIP segment in this year’s survey, but lower from law enforcement and oil and gas operators.
  • A greater proportion of planned new helicopter purchases is for light twin-engine models in this year’s survey compared with 2019. The proportion is lower for light single-engine models. Overall, 56% of planned purchases are for twin-engine models, 8 percentage points higher than last year.
  • When choosing their make and model for a new rotorcraft, the top three factors operators consider are brand experience, aircraft performance and cabin size.
  • In North America, average utilization was higher by about 12% in 2019 compared with 2018.  About 19% of survey respondents said their helicopter fleet utilization is expected to increase over the next 12 months.

Regional Overview

North America: Purchase plans have declined by six percentage points over a year ago, with 12% of respondents saying they would either replace or expand their fleet with a new helicopter over the next five years. North America is home to more than 40% of the world’s helicopter fleet.

  • Nearly half of planned North American purchases were identified as light single-engine models, while roughly 32% of new planned purchases were for intermediate and medium-twin product classes.
  • About 38% of planned purchases will be used for emergency medical services (EMS) purposes, followed by 20% for Law Enforcement and 17% for Corporate/VIP usage.

Europe: Compared with 2019 results, purchase plans are higher in this year’s survey. More than 18% of respondents said they would either replace or expand their fleet with a new helicopter over the next five years. The figure was 15% a year ago.

  • Intermediate and medium twin-engine classes captured roughly 41% of total purchase plans for new helicopters. Meanwhile, 37% of respondents indicated plans to purchase light single-engine helicopters, up 5 percentage points from last year.
  •  About 26% of planned purchases will be used for Utility/Aerial work, followed by 23% for Corporate/VIP and 16% for EMS/Search and Rescue (SAR) usage.

Latin America: Results for 2020 show significantly higher fleet replacement and growth expectations compared with 2019. Purchase plans are well above the global average of 14%, and the region’s purchase plans increased by 20 percentage points from last year.

  • Latin America had the highest rate of new aircraft purchase plans globally, with close to 29% of respondents saying they would either replace or expand their fleet with a new helicopter over the next five years.
  • Purchase plans in Brazil increased to 26%, a jump of 21 percentage points over last year’s survey results.
  • Latin American respondents favored light single-engine models, which represent about 50% of their planned purchases. Light twin-engine models are second with 28% of all planned purchases, an increase of 23 percentage points compared with 2019 survey results.

Middle East and Africa: This region has the lowest new purchase rate globally, with only 5% of respondents’ fleets expected to get a new helicopter replacement or addition. Purchase plans are 10 percentage points lower compared with 2019 survey results.

  • Close to 62% of planned new helicopter purchases are for light twin-engine models.
  • Medium twin-engine models are the second-highest mentioned product class in the survey at 23%, a decline of 46 percentage points compared with 2019 survey results.

Asia Pacific: Overall buying plans are down 6 percentage points compared with 2019. Close to 7% of respondents said they would either replace or expand their fleet with a new helicopter over the next five years.

  • Intermediate/Medium twin-engine and light single-engine helicopters were the most popular classes, capturing 38 percent and 35 percent of all mentions for new helicopters, respectively.
  • Despite limited inputs, new helicopter purchase plans are lower in China, showing that about 14% of the fleet would be replaced or expanded by a new helicopter over the next five years. Purchase plans are down by about 7 percentage points compared with 2019 results.

Methodology

The 2020 outlook presents a snapshot of the helicopter business at a given point in time and reflects the current business and political environment. This year’s data comes from a survey of more than 1,000 chief pilots and flight department managers of companies operating 3,559 turbine and 282 piston helicopters worldwide. The survey excluded large fleet or “mega” operators, which were addressed separately. Input received from large oil and gas support and emergency medical service fleet operators is factored into the overall outlook in addition to the individual flight department responses. The survey detailed the types of aircraft operated and assessed specific plans to replace aircraft or add new helicopters to the fleet.

PRESS RELEASE – PHOENIX, 6 February 2020, Amanda JENSEN

Epic 2.0 Phase 8 upgrade introduces range of features that improves safety for a variety of missions and conditions.

Honeywell (NYSE: HON) is providing Leonardo’s helicopter division with a significant cockpit upgrade — Honeywell’s innovative Primus Epic 2.0 — for its AW139 helicopters. Primus Epic 2.0 will deliver innovative and intuitive features that provide better maps, improved situational awareness at night and in marginal weather, and easier access through wireless connectivity, improving safety and saving time. For the first time in the industry, it is track-based, meaning navigation follows the actual path of the helicopter and accounts for wind and other environmental factors.

“Since its first certification, our AW139 platform has been supported by the latest Honeywell software technology,” said, Paul De Jonge, Vice President of Marketing, Leonardo Helicopter Division. “With Honeywell’s Primus Epic 2.0 upgrade, we continue to stay ahead of the industry by enabling pilots to fly a variety of challenging approaches. We continue to support several helicopter-specific missions — be it corporate VIP transport, emergency medical services, oil and gas, or search and rescue operations, with increased levels of safety.”

The Primus Epic 2.0 Phase 8 upgrade includes new features that make operations safer, smarter and faster. The SmartView synthetic vision system is usable all the way down into the hover, helping pilots navigate during low-visibility conditions and challenging missions. These missions can include steep 9 degree descents into landing areas in challenging terrain and oil rig approaches. Flight crews will also benefit from a more user-friendly, iNAV map visual interface with easy-to-use displays and an improved Cursor Control Device that makes map manipulation and menu navigation quicker and more comfortable.

“Technology innovations are crucial to reducing pilot workload and making flights safer for crew and passengers,” said Mike Ingram, vice president and general manager, Cockpit Systems, Honeywell Aerospace. “With the Epic 2.0 Phase 8 upgrade, AW139 pilots will not only reduce the time and cost of some operations, especially those in weather and around challenging terrain, they will also experience some of the best safety features available anywhere in the helicopter market.”

The Phase 8 upgrade also increases connectivity capabilities, with Wireless Data Loading that lets pilots access data at high speeds remotely without a hardwire connection, transferring flight plans wirelessly and accelerating preflight actions.