Thanks to Francesco & Gianfilippo COLASANTO for this complete report of the Heli-Expo 2019 event held in Atlanta, GA, in March 2019. 180 new images covering all the moments of the exposition.
- Kopter to take over a 84,700 sq. ft. facility located at Lafayette Airport
- Creation of 120 jobs by 2025 for production of around 100 aircrafts per year
Heli-Expo, Atlanta, March 5, 2019 – During an event taking place today at Heli-Expo, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Kopter Group’s CEO Andreas Löwenstein jointly announced that Kopter will establish a new production facility for its SH09 helicopter in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Discover our video at: https://koptergroup.com/videos/10
Kopter will lease a 84,700 sq. ft. facility from the Lafayette Airport Commission, which owns the stateof-the-art helicopter assembly buildings. This future production and support center comes in addition to the already existing and soon to be expanded Kopter sites in Switzerland, and will serve customers throughout the Americas. It is planned that it will ultimately source from U.S. suppliers parts representing more than 50 percent of the SH09’s value.
The State of Louisiana initially funded construction of the $25.3 million Lafayette facility on a 14.7-acre airport site. Kopter plans to make an important additional capital investment in new equipment and building extensions. Kopter will begin hiring of personnel later this year and prepare operations by mid-2020. Deliveries of locally assembled helicopters will start in 2021. Kopter intends to create at least 120 new direct jobs by 2025 in Lafayette, while production should ramp up to an anticipated volume of around 100 SH09 per year.
“We are delighted that Kopter chose Louisiana and Lafayette for the assembly of a dynamic new aerospace product,” Gov. Edwards said. “The SH09 helicopter will be highly competitive in the marketplace and provide outstanding performance, great passenger and cargo capacity, and superior engineering and design. Kopter could have chosen any location in North America to assemble this new helicopter. Louisiana’s outstanding workforce and facility assets, and our competitive business climate, make Lafayette the clear choice for Kopter’s future in the Americas.”
“Kopter Group chose the Lafayette site for several reasons,” Löwenstein said. “First, because of Louisiana, which is a rapidly growing and attractive region and already hosting several key helicopter operators and many industrial players. Second, for the easy access to a qualified workforce and a high-quality educational environment. And third, for the facility itself, which meets the highest standards and allows almost instant operations. Its location on the airport provides an ideal production environment, with quick and easy logistics and commercial access.”
In the framework of a thorough site selection process, Kopter Group conducted formal discussions with Louisiana Economic Development (LED) for several months. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package.
Kopter joins now a growing list of companies active in the helicopter sector in Louisiana, including offshore operators Bristow Group, Era Helicopters, PHI Inc. and RLC; and the medical air transport leader Metro Aviation.
This major step for Kopter’s development in the US follows the formation in July 2018 of a fully owned US subsidiary, Kopter North America LLC. Christian Gras is the CEO of this subsidiary – in addition to his responsibilities as Executive Vice-President for Kopter Group – and Larry Roberts the President Sales, Marketing & Customer support.
Atlanta, 05 March 2019 – Babcock Australasia, the aerospace and defence company, is celebrating its first year of Airbus H175 helicopter operations in Timor Leste after clocking up nearly 1400 flights providing offshore aviation services for their oil and gas customer.
The company, which operates two H175s on personnel transport, search and rescue, and medevac duties in the Timor Sea reports a 98% aircraft availability rate for the 12 months following entry into service in January last year.
Airbus worked with Babcock to train 27 pilots and engineers on the H175 prior to delivery and Babcock has since employed 19 Timorese support staff at the Dili base, including four local engineers who are training at Airbus Helicopters’ Marignane, France headquarters.
During 2018 Babcock’s Timor operation recorded 1,274 flight hours in 1,365 sectors and the company received highly positive feedback from passengers praising the H175’s comfort levels. The aircraft are operated in support of ConocoPhillips offshore operations in the region.
The H175 provides a smooth ride with lower cabin noise, large windows for increased visibility and enhanced emergency egress, comfortable seating, and cabin climate controls.
Already in service in the North Sea, Western Africa and Gulf of Mexico as well as Timor Leste, the H175 was specifically designed to be exceptionally safe and competitive in the oil and gas, and search and rescue sectors, with extremely powerful engines, up to 270 nautical miles radius of operation and the latest technology in avionics and automation.
Andrew Cridland, Managing Director Aviation Offshore for Babcock Australasia, said: “As the aviation company who introduced the H175 aircraft to the Southern Hemisphere, we are extremely pleased with the H175’s performance in this first year of operation. Our exceptional reliability statistics are a testament to the excellent work performed by our highly skilled engineers and the commitment by Airbus to deliver the necessary parts in a timely manner to Timor-Leste. The aircraft have been well received by our customer and the passengers we transport. As a super medium aircraft, the H175 has good economics and is clearly setting new standards in the offshore business.”
ConocPhillips Manager, Global Aviation Safety Assurance, James Adams said: “We have been very pleased with the performance, economics and reliability of the H175. The success of our Timor operation has been a combined effort of Babcock Offshore Services and the excellent collaboration from the Airbus Oil & Gas support team.”
A total of 33 H175s are in service worldwide, having recorded 43,000 flight hours.
Leonardo is deploying a global campaign for the world’s first multirole commercial tiltrotor.
- Leonardo and Nakanihon Air Service sign an MoU to evaluate tiltrotor operations in Japan for transport and public service roles.
- Leonardo is deploying a global campaign for the world’s first multirole commercial tiltrotor.
- The AW609 is now entering mass production ahead of FAA certification.
- The first Full mission flight simulator will be operational in 2020 in USA.
Atlanta, 7 March 2019 – Leonardo and Nakanihon Air Service, Co., Ltd. of Japan (Nakanihon Air Service) signed at Heli-Expo a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a joint working group that will study requirements for introducing the AW609 commercial multirole tiltrotor into service in Japan. Leonardo already supplies a range of advanced rotorcraft technology to the benefit of Japanese civil and government users.
The AW609 represents the next generation of aircraft transport under the all-new, rigorous power lift civil certification category being set by FAA, and is now entering the mass production phase at Leonardo Philadelphia facility. In line with market interest, the AW609 first Full Motion simulator will be available in 2020.
The AW609 excels at reaching people in hard-to-access areas including densely populated citycenters; high mountains, coastlines, and far-flung islands; and low population regions where the nearest hospital is many miles away—all with unprecedented performance and all-weather capabilities.
Thanks to turboprop-like speed, a 25,000 ft altitude and 2000 km maximum range, users will benefit from unique flying capabilities above adverse weather and a pressurized cabin for maximized comfort and patient medical treatment, while maintaining rotorcraft vertical take-off and landing / hovering versatility.
Nakanihon Air Service said: “At Nakanihon Air Service we operate about 80 aircraft, both fixedwing aircraft and helicopters, and we are very interested in the new tiltrotor category. Through this joint working group with Leonardo, we would like to explore the applications of the AW609 to future aeromedical services, disaster emergency response and news coverage as well as new areas of business.”
During the next 12 months, the working group will leverage the Nakanihon Air Service experience as one of the largest fixed and rotary wing operators in Japan and a Leonardo Authorized Service Center for decades in delivering charter, goods transport, aerial photography and EMS/SAR services across the nation to identify opportunities for the world’s first multirole / commercial tiltrotor in Japan and offer the AW609 for a range of roles such as transport and
EMS/SAR. Their combined fixed/rotary wing operational and service expertise makes Nakanihon Air Service the ideal partner.
There are over 130 helicopters in service in Japan performing law enforcement, emergency medical service, search and rescue, firefighting, disaster relief, VIP/corporate transport, electronic news gathering and naval utility.
Atlanta, 6 March 2019 – CHC Helicopter’s newest H175 will become the first Airbus helicopter to be delivered with digital logcards. The announcement, made at HAI Heli-Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, makes Airbus Helicopters the first helicopter manufacturer on the market to transform paper-based logcards into easy-to-use digital data.
“A logcard is a document that tracks the entire history of critical helicopter parts, from manufacture all along their in-service lives. There are around 2.5 million logcards already in circulation throughout the world today, with some 80,000 new ones being produced each year,” said Matthieu Louvot, Executive Vice President of Customer Support & Services at Airbus Helicopters. “Over time the paper logcard ages, gets misplaced, becomes hard to read and more difficult to use. Our new digital version stores the content in a secured cloud while preserving the existing template, using the same process and stakeholder roles and responsibilities as the paper version, meaning no additional workload.”
”The digital logcards allow us to take better care of ourselves and our customers,” said Sean Toth, Director of Global Maintenance and Engineering at CHC Helicopter, which took delivery of its fourth H175 in January and will convert its paper logcards to the electronic format in April. ”Thanks to them we can better ensure overall compliance, while our staff improves productivity as our logcards are updated in real time.”
CHC currently operates H175s in the North Sea: one in Norwich, England and three in Aberdeen, Scotland.
The digital logcard is the latest demonstration of how Airbus is committed to developing fully digital solutions for its customers that make processes more efficient and that contribute to quality and safety. They are the result of a collaborative effort involving Airbus customers and repair centres, who were consulted during development and acted as early adopters, participating in a year-long pilot phase.
“The feedback we received from our pilot users indicates that digital logcards meets our objectives of delivering better data quality, smoother processes, time savings, reliability and data confidentiality,” said Stephanie Bonnefoy-Fourie, who leads Airbus Helicopters’ Connected Services business.
New functionalities not possible with paper logcards include the ability to attach documents, archive, search, and immediately transfer a selection of logcards. Future applications include the ability to synchronise data between the digital logcard system and customers’ Maintenance Information Systems (MIS), or to build new analytics around the collected data.
Rolling out progressively worldwide from April 2019, all customers taking delivery of a new civil helicopter can opt to receive digital logcards at no additional cost. Customers with existing paper logcards can opt to convert theirs to the digital format. Digital logcards can also be tracked online via Airbus’ Keycopter customer portal.
Atlanta, 05 march 2019 – Swiss Air-Rescue Rega has taken the decision to retrofit its entire H145 fleet of seven helicopters to the new 5-bladed version, that was revealed yesterday at Heli-Expo, making them the launch customer for the retrofit of the new H145.
“We’re proud to be amongst the first customers to upgrade our H145 to the new version”, said Heinz Leibundgut, Chief Pilot and member of Rega’s Management Board. “Our patients will profit from the increased useful load. It is a great benefit for our air rescue operation, where every additional kilogram is crucial, especially in challenging environments like the Alps.”
“Airbus Helicopters is pleased that Rega has taken the decision to upgrade its entire H145 fleet to the new version” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “We thank Rega for their continued trust in our H145 family of helicopters.”
Rega is currently replacing its EC145 fleet with H145 helicopters. Six out of seven H145s have already been delivered, with the last one to follow in May this year. The helicopters of the H145 family are in service with the Rega for more than 15 years.
The new upgrade of the H145, revealed at Heli-Expo, embodies Airbus’ approach to value creation through innovation. It 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.
Atlanta, 6 March 2019 – Airbus has signed an order for an ACH160 with an undisclosed Canadian customer. The customer, who has vast experience in corporate aviation, has opted for the aircraft to be delivered with a custom-made interior.
“We are proud to announce the sale of the first H160 in Canada where we have seen strong interest in this game-changing aircraft. The H160 has received considerable attention from private and business aviation, air medical services, and passenger transport operators,” said Romain Trapp, President of Airbus Helicopters Canada. “The H160’s breakthrough design, low sound levels, smooth flight at high speeds and the product maturity at entry into service, meet and often exceed the premium standards set by operators in high-demand markets.”
The selection of the H160 followed a flight demonstration during the H160’s 2018 North American tour, which demonstrated passenger comfort and the next generation-technology firsthand.
The innovative medium twin-engine H160 is the first member of the H generation. From its inception, the complete design of this helicopter has revolved around the creation of an aircraft with added value for customers in terms of performance, economic competitiveness, safety and comfort. In addition, there is increased external visibility for pilots through the enlarged windshield, lateral and floor level, combined with the aircrafts’ cameras which show one of four multi-functional displays in the cockpit.
Airbus’ digital helicopter avionics suite, Helionix, as well as the 4-axis autopilot, further contribute to the H160’s safety by significantly reducing pilot workload. Along with the integrated automatic functions, Helionix allows the pilot to concentrate on the mission at hand.
The H160 has also been designed to facilitate ease of maintenance, allowing it to reach levels similar to that of a light-twin helicopter. The aircraft’s optimized accessibility has been praised by rotary-wing operators who have had the opportunity to fly in the H160.
ACH – Airbus Corporate Helicopters is the Airbus Helicopters offer dedicated to its private and corporate customers offering end to end service-based ownership experience.
- Training Academy expected to be completed in 2020 to deliver the widest scope of ground/flight training for pilots, cabin crews and maintainers
- World’s first AW609 tiltrotor and first US AW169 helicopter Full Flight Simulators plus advanced digitalized services
- Strong commitment to crew safety, mission effectiveness, customer proximity and advanced services, in line with Company’s Industrial Plan
Atlanta, 5th March 2019 – Leonardo announced today at Heli-Expo 2019 a substantial reinforcement of its helicopter training capabilities and services in the USA with the establishment of a new Training Academy within its production facility in Philadelphia. The new purpose-built campus is expected to be completed in 2020. With a 65 million USD multiyear investment, the new Training Academy will meet the increasing demand for comprehensive training services for pilots, cabin crew and maintenance technicians as the North and Latin America helicopter fleet grows. In 2018 over 10,000 students have been trained by Leonardo worldwide.
The Training Academy will also introduce a full set of dedicated services for the global customers of the AW609 tiltrotor, as mass production starts ahead of FAA civil certification, and the first US AW169 light intermediate helicopter Full Flight Simulator, both developed in collaboration with CAE and based on the CAE 3000 Series FFS. The Training Center will also host Rotorsim USA, a Leonardo-CAE joint venture which has delivered nearly 250,000 training hours for Leonardo helicopters products.
The 60,000 square ft US Training Academy will fully mirror Italy’s Sest Calende training syllabus approach from ground to flight training, providing a one-stop-shop for digitalized course, flight, simulation, mission specific and maintenance training. This will include all new classrooms, customer lounges, AW119/AW139/AW609 Maintenance Training Bays, AW109/AW139/AW609 Virtual-Enhanced Training Devices an AW169/AW139/AW609 Level D Full Flight Simulators. The new devices will enable real-time analysis of student progress and development. This will ensure knowledge and competency of each student is continually monitored to deliver the best learning outcomes for maximized mission effectiveness and safety. Leonardo continues to be driven by a clear commitment to improve safety, crew effectiveness and customer proximity combined with the latest technology, in line with the Industrial Plan. The new facility also represents an added testament of the Company’s focus on the US as a key home market. Thousands of students will benefit from this new Training Academy across Leonardo’s rotorcraft product portfolio. The first home for tiltrotor commercial aviators, Leonardo is proving a game- changer in helicopter customer support and training.
5 March 2019, HAI Heli-Expo 2019, Atlanta – Safran Helicopter Engines has obtained a Validation of Type Certification (VTC) from CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) for its Arriel 2H engine powering the Avicopter AC312E. A VTC is based on the EASA type certificate (obtained in 2018) and confirms that an imported engine conforms with Chinese airworthiness standards. This Arriel variant was selected in 2015 to power this helicopter developed by AVIC Harbin Aircraft Industry Group, a subsidiary of Avic (Aviation Industry Corporation of China), and certified by EASA in April 2018. The AC312E made its maiden flight in July 2016.
Commented Nicolas Billecocq, Safran Helicopter Engines Vice President Light Helicopter Engines Program, “This Chinese certification is an important milestone for the Arriel engine program. It emphasizes our ability to support new Chinese helicopter entry-into-service”.
Developed from the Arriel 2+, the 2H is one of the most powerful Arriel variants with a take-off power rating of 986 shp. The Arriel 2H will deliver excellent reliability, power and performance during demanding missions.
The Arriel is the best-selling helicopter engine in its class. Over the past 40 years, over 12,000 units have been produced, together logging more than 50 million flight hours. With power outputs ranging from 650 to over 1,000 shp, the Arriel family now powers over 40 different helicopter types. An Arrielpowered helicopter takes off every 15 seconds – all day, every day.
Atlanta, 4 March 2019 – The next-generation H160 is debuting a new air medical interior concept at this year’s Heli Expo trade show, with a cabin-mock up on the Airbus Helicopters booth completed by Metro Aviation. Metro, a longstanding partner of Airbus, developed this specific cabin concept design with needs of North American air medical operations in mind.
“At Metro Aviation, we spend a large amount of time pouring over designs to ensure any configuration that leaves our facility is one that exceeds expectations and eases the burden of air medical professionals who are already faced with a stressful job,” said Metro Aviation Managing Director Milton Geltz. “This EMS cabin concept designed for the H160 was laid out to ensure medical crews have the room and flexibility they need to work efficiently with the right equipment at their fingertips. We are excited about the possibility of completing this aircraft in the future.”
Some key features of the Metro concept interior include machined aluminum cabin floor allowing multiple configurations; four track and swivel medical attendant seats; a Modular Medical Rack (MMR); and an overhead communication panel with radio, audio and touch screen controls.
The H160 is the next generation medium twin-engine helicopter destined for offshore transportation, business and private aviation, public services, and commercial passenger transport. Its entry into service is planned for 2020.
With the largest cabin in its class, wide opening sliding door and positionable stretcher capacity, the H160 is the next generation high intensive care helicopter ideal for long distances critical patient or isolette transport. The air medical configuration on display at the show is just one of the concepts that will be designed for the H160, as this helicopter has the necessary components allowing it to be customized to meet the various patient care mission profiles delivered by air medical providers.
“We are excited to see the wide range of H160 configurations begin to take form, as we gear up for the much anticipated entry into service of this next-generation aircraft,” said Chris Emerson, president of Airbus Helicopters, Inc. and head of the North America region. “Metro Aviation is a trusted partner and performs completions on the entire range of Airbus products. We are impressed with their initial concept and look forward to expanding on its development.”
Airbus Helicopters is the leading provider of helicopters to the air medical transport industry. Approximately 55% of the 2,500 helicopters EMS helicopters flying in the world today are Airbus helicopters. In the U.S. alone, more than half of all new air medical helicopters sold in the last decade were produced by Airbus.