All posts for the month September, 2020

PRESS RELAESE – 23 September 2020

LCI, a leading helicopter lessor and the aviation division of the Libra Group, and Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Company, Limited (SMFL) have agreed to establish and operate a joint venture helicopter leasing business.

The vehicle has launched with the initial acquisition of 19 next generation helicopters with a value of US$230 million. SMFL and LCI are co-investors in the partnership, with LCI also acting as manager.

The young, modern helicopters acquired by the joint venture will be used by operators across the globe on a range of missions including Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Search and Rescue (SAR), and transportation to offshore wind farms. With a strong lessee profile, long average lease tenor and full power by the hour maintenance coverage, the portfolio offers a robust profile for the investors.

Jaspal Jandu, Chief Financial Officer of LCI, says: “LCI is delighted to be launching this new leasing vehicle with SMFL. Our joint venture with this renowned partner highlights the opportunities available in the helicopter leasing marketplace, and demonstrates how these aircraft have now become a proven and attractive asset class.”

Shinichiro Watanabe, Managing Executive Officer of SMFL, says: “LCI’s experience, expertise and reputation makes them a natural business partner for SMFL, and we look forward to working with them and combining our respective financial strengths to jointly and professionally manage a successful and dynamic venture.”

George Logothetis, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Libra Group, added: “We are very pleased and proud that LCI has formed a joint venture with such a highly respected organisation. This partnership promises sustained and exciting growth for LCI’s rotary wing business, which has already proved highly resilient during the global pandemic.”

The new joint venture will enable SMFL and LCI to further expand the range and volume of their helicopter investments by leveraging their proven track record, knowledge and experience derived from SMFL’s aircraft and engine leasing companies, and LCI’s years of value creation in aviation helicopter and fixed wing leasing.

LCI’s fleet comprises approximately US$1 billion of assets in service, on order and under management, focused on the latest technology medium and super medium helicopters manufactured by leading helicopter OEMs including Leonardo, Airbus and Sikorsky.

These are in operation across four continents in multiple sectors including emergency medical services, offshore wind, search and rescue, maritime pilot transfer and oil-and-gas transportation. 

PRESS RELEASE – Marignane, 25 September 2020

Omni Taxi Aereo, Brazil’s leading oil and gas transport company and part of OMNI Helicopters International group (OHI), becomes the first operator to introduce the H175 in Brazil.

The aircraft has arrived in Brazil, where it will perform cargo load and passenger transport missions for the country’s key oil and gas industry.

“The H175 offers the right mix of comfort, performance and cost-effectiveness and I am very pleased with the introduction of this aircraft in Omni’s fleet”, said Roberto Coimbra, CEO of Omni Taxi Aereo. “With a range that enables Omni to reach 100 percent of Brazil’s offshore installations and high technology equipment on board it is a very promising aircraft to serve the Brazilian oil and gas market”.

OMNI’s current fleet includes Airbus H135, H155 and H225 helicopters, which are largely dedicated to transporting passengers and cargo to offshore platforms and ships, while also providing emergency medical services for the oil and gas industry.

“OMNI has been a true partner for over a decade and I am honoured by their renewed confidence in Airbus’ helicopters”, said Regis Magnac, Vice President Oil and Gas at Airbus Helicopters’. “With currently 40 aircraft in service having accumulated more than 85,000 flight hours, the H175 has set new standards for offshore operations across the world and I thank OMNI for introducing the aircraft to the important Brazilian oil and gas market.”

Developed to answer oil and gas industry needs, the H175 provides outstanding performance, unmatched cost efficiency and the ability to comfortably transport 16 passengers up to 160NM. The H175 is equipped with Helionix, Airbus Helicopters’ integrated suite of advanced avionics and 4-axis autopilot, which offers enhanced situational awareness and improved operational safety by helping to reduce pilot workload. The aircraft also provides fully automatic oil platform approaches, thanks to the Rig’N Fly mode.

I-AWVB – Italian Helicopter Register NEWS

Thanks to Mirko BRUNA for this image of the AgustaWestland AW109SP GrandNew I-AWVB registered to Leonardo Spa earlier in July 2020. The helicopter was previously operated by Monacair as 3A-MDF [2].

PRESS RELEASE – GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas, Sept. 17, 2020

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has signed a $15million HCare Infinite full-availability support solution with Airbus Helicopters, Inc.

The comprehensive contract, initially covering two years with the option to extend up to 10, provides the entire spectrum of support needs for NASA’s fleet of three H135 helicopters, which will begin deliveries later this month.

Airbus will ensure operational availability by managing all of NASA’s scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, as well as spare parts. In addition, Airbus will be responsible for the helicopter flight operations by stationing two pilots, two mechanics and one program manager at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.

“With this new HCare contract, NASA is relying on Airbus’s manufacturer expertise for the comprehensive management of all support and service needs. The OEM experience and knowledge will provide support as NASA transitions from an aging aircraft fleet into the advanced H135 helicopter,” said David Ramsey, Chief of Flight Operations at NASA Kennedy Space Center. “The OEM level of expertise will ensure that the transition of aircraft is a smooth and safe process and will allow KSC Flight Operations to focus our attention on supporting those NASA Programs and Partners that are advancing science, technology, aeronautics, and space exploration.”

NASA will operate their new fleet of H135 helicopters, purchased as part of a fleet renewal initiative, at Cape Canaveral for a variety of missions including security around rocket launches, emergency medical services, and qualified personnel transport.

“Our customers’ success lies in their ability to ensure aircraft are ready to take off the second they need them, and our HCare support solutions provide the guarantee that we have taken care of everything to ensure their full fleet availability,” said Anthony Baker, vice president of Customer Support and Services at Airbus Helicopters, Inc.  “Our entire team is extremely proud to support the future of space exploration by providing both new helicopters and full support services to NASA.”

HCare Infinite is Airbus’ most comprehensive level of customer support and requires the company to guarantee the customer’s full fleet operational availability, including maintenance, technical support, and the supply of spare parts, tools and consumables. Airbus Helicopters’ range of HCare material management services starts out with Easy (on-request catalogue services) and Smart (four by-the-hour options), before progressively building up to Infinite (full availability commitments).

PRESS RELEASE – Donauwörth, 18 September 2020

Airbus Helicopters and HTM-Helicopters have signed a contract for the purchase of two additional H145 helicopters.

HTM will be the first operator to use the new five-bladed H145 in the Offshore Wind segment.

“We thank HTM for their continued trust in Airbus Helicopters and our products”, says Thomas Hein, Head of Sales Western Europe at Airbus Helicopters. “Since HTM started offshore wind operations in 2008, they rely on H135 and H145 helicopters for their demanding operations.”

The delivery of the first helicopter, a four-bladed H145, is scheduled for the fourth quarter this year, while the second aircraft, a five-bladed H145 will be delivered mid next year. The four-bladed H145 will also later be upgraded with the new five-bladed rotor system by HTM’s maintenance organization.

The two new aircraft will be operated from HTM’s bases at Norden-Norddeich, Emden, Borkum and Helgoland. For their missions, which include passenger transport to and from wind farms and hoisting technicians to the wind-turbines, the two helicopters will be equipped with a powerful hoist, floatation equipment, and a cargo hook.

Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145 is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) and the Helionix digital avionics suite. It includes a high performance 4-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145 the quietest helicopter in its class.

The new upgrade of the H145 boasts several new features that will allow customers to enhance their operations: The innovative five-blade bearingless rotor increases the useful load by 150 kg, further enhancing the mission capabilities of the aircraft. This new rotor also improves crew and passenger comfort. Other advantages include a smaller D-value, allowing the H145 to operate in more confined areas, simplified maintenance, and an increased availability rate.


Some new images added to Robinson R22B Beta I-MMAA data sheet. The helicopter was pictured while flying out of Eurotech facility wearing Jetstream Aviation Academy (Greece) titles. Caiolo (SO), August 2020.

PRESS RELEASE – Torrance, CA , August 10 2020.

On July 29th 2020, Robinson delivered R66 Turbine serial number 1000 to Robinson dealer Les Gillespie of Gardner Aviation (Peachtree City, GA).

FAA-certified in October 2010, the first production R66 was delivered the following month. Since then, the R66 has proven itself on a daily basis. Powered by the Rolls Royce RR300 turbine engine, the R66 recently surpassed 1.2 million flight hours without a single reported in-flight engine failure. This accomplishment demonstrates a level of reliability that exceeds EASA’s stringent requirements for single-engine helicopters. The R66 has also risen to the challenges of flying to the North Pole and circumnavigating the globe multiple times.

“Delivering serial number 1000 demonstrates the R66 is the top performer and leader in its class,” said Robinson president, Kurt Robinson.

Today’s R66 is offered with many options including a cargo hook, lithium-ion battery, fuel flow system, auxiliary fuel tanks, impact resistance windshields, state-of-the-art touchscreen avionics, and a SAS/autopilot. The aircraft is also available in police, news, and float configurations.

When asked about the R66, dealer Les Gillespie said, “Because the R66 can be configured to meet the needs of any pilot or helicopter flight department, it quickly became our number-one selling helicopter.” The aircraft’s new owner, Donovan Valentine of Monarch Helicopters (Nashville, Tennessee) previously owned an R44 and decided to upgrade to an R66 to better serve his tour company.

Founded in 1973, Robinson Helicopter Company is the world’s leading manufacturer of civil helicopters. For more information, visit

Articolo tratto da QC – QUOTIDIANO del CANAVESE

LEVONE (TO) Si è svolta lunedì 31 Agosto la cerimonia di inaugurazione dell’area per l’atterraggio notturno dell’elisoccorso. Un numeroso pubblico ha atteso l’arrivo dell’aeromobile AgustaWestland AW139 nonostante il ritardo sul programma a causa di una emergenza relativa al trasporto di un paziente. Ubicata all’interno del campo sportivo Ottavio Cortina, è stata predisposta con i più alti standard di sicurezza e accessibilità che potranno garantire l’eccellenza del servizio in caso di necessità.   

Il progetto ha visto la realizzazione di importanti investimenti da parte dell’Amministrazione Comunale che contemporaneamente hanno anche migliorato la fruibilità delle strutture sportive – l’area è sede degli allenamenti e delle partite di calcio della A.S.D. Valmalone – costituendo così un sicuro punto di riferimento anche per le comunità vicine.

«Abbiamo sostituito tutto l’impianto illuminante – commenta il sindaco Massimiliano Gagnor – con lampade e led moderne e di ultima generazione che garantiscono immediate e anche ripetute accensioni senza tempi di attesa. Abbiamo migliorato l’accessibilità all’area mediante rifacimento di una rampa che consentirà l’ingresso dell’ambulanza e dei mezzi di supporto al servizio di soccorso. Abbiamo messo in sicurezza tutta la recinzione ed installato un quadro dei comandi elettrici in modo che in qualsiasi ora del giorno e della notte l’elicottero possa atterrare e ripartire anche senza preventive ricognizioni ed in totale ed assoluta autonomia. Il progetto ha visto anche l’installazione di adeguata cartellonistica stradale per indirizzare i mezzi e il personale verso l’accesso riservato». 

«Pur con la speranza di non averne mai bisogno – continua Gagnor – siamo consapevoli che questo servizio servirà a offrire una percezione di sicurezza maggiore ed una conseguente miglior qualità della vita non solo per gli abitanti di Levone ma anche per i comuni limitrofi che sono sprovvisti di tale opportunità e per i turisti che affollano i nostri sentieri e le nostre montagne». 

Le operazioni di collaudo del sito, consistenti anche nella ricognizione aerea della zona prima dell’atterraggio e nella verifica delle strutture e degli impianti necessari al corretto e funzionale utilizzo in caso di emergenza, hanno avuto tutte esito positivo e pertanto il sito sarà a breve inserito negli elenchi ufficiali a disposizione degli organismi di soccorso.

L’area di atterraggio di Levone, viste le sue peculiarità, potrà essere inserita nel progetto che prevede un network di rotte satellitari e relative procedure che permetteranno il collegamento capillare tra varie elisuperfici. A regime verranno rese operative circa 25 aree di atterraggio e una rete di tratte di volo che unirà i punti nevralgici della rete dell’assistenza sanitaria piemontese.

Il velivolo ha sostato per circa mezz’ora all’interno dell’area di atterraggio dando così la possibilità agli intervenuti di avvicinarsi e conoscere anche il personale di soccorso ponendo, con le dovute precauzioni anti-Covid, numerose domande sul loro impegnativo ma anche affascinante operato.

Durante la cerimonia di inaugurazione, alla presenza del sindaco, del vicesindaco Laura Allice e di numerosi consiglieri, l’Amministrazione comunale ha omaggiato gli equipaggi del soccorso intervenuti con un paniere di prodotti tipici della zona ed ha espresso la più sentita riconoscenza per il lavoro svolto spesso in condizioni di estrema difficoltà.

Link all’articolo originale:

PRESS RELAESE 16 September 2020

Since the resumption of the test flight activities in June in Pozzallo, Sicily, our third prototype (P3) has completed 40 flights, allowing testing of multiple aerodynamic modifications and configurations. The current configuration fitted on P3 has seen a significant improvement in smoothness and stability.

Recent upgrades include an engine cowling extension for improved aerodynamics, a variable asymmetric tail plane at the best available incidence, the removal of the end plates and a larger upper vertical fin improving stability.

Richard Grant, Kopter Chief Test Pilot, commented: P3 returns to Mollis a very different aircraft. The changes that have been implemented this year have made a real improvement to the handling of the aircraft. Now we are able to further expand the envelope and start to realize the aircraft’s true potential”

This most recent block of flight tests has been the most productive in terms of the number of modifications assessed and the general improvements realized. Early analysis and observations confirm the validity of the new design concepts. This achievement is a result of the work of all teams involved, utilizing the analysis and feedback from all the previous flight test blocks of P3. The SH09 is more and more reaching the planned overall performance and capabilities as development moves ahead.

For the next chapter in the SH09 evolution, P3 is back to our facility in Mollis; the upcoming upgrades require a strong support from the Engineering and Operations teams.

On return to Mollis, the test priorities are to explore the capabilities of the new tail rotor and the recent aerodynamic modifications throughout the low speed envelope. We will then proceed with the upgrade to Garmin avionics and then of the final main rotor head and flight controls.