Flying through

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

HeliExpo Day Two

Bell 429 on wheels
Day two was surprisingly short of press briefings, they were all done on day one - with the exception of Sikorsky. We had a round-up of the position of Sikorsky so far - still owned and if on the market currently unsold. Followed by a look at what is to come - more X2 technology in both military and commercial sectors, aiming at lower costs and higher revenues for their customers etc

Then a few photos sessions and the lovely Russian three or so hours.
The Russian hour included a pilot who had flown his R66 (with another and a total of four pilots) to the North Pole, round the world 40,000 miles including Fiji, and was about to embark on another round the world of 50,000 miles. His stories included being banned from USA airspace as Russian registered aircraft were not allowed there, and being able to overcome this prohibition thanks to a really kind American called Bob.

AW109 Trekker on skids
So, here we have two new helicopters: the AW 109 on skids and, conversely, the Bell 429 on wheels - we are never happy with what we had already, are we.

HeliExpo Day One Lovelies

Lynn Tilton
Lynn Tilton, CEO of MD Helicopters looking like Madonna. An interesting day for MD. Apart from growing success with the current models, Ms Tilton is looking to make a new machine with printed parts and possibly a hybrid engine. Fascinating, if it happens. Lets hope the end result is not just a H500 on wheels!

Day One odditiies

Oh the hype and excitement of the dance. What was that saying about the build up to an event being in inverse proportion to the excitement of the event itself.
Yup, well this girl with a lampshade on her head gives you a pretty good feeling for it! AW unveiled another AW109 - this time on skids.

HelExpo 2014 Day One

John Garrison unveiling the Bell 505 JetRanger X
Interesting day, day one. First we had the unveiling of the Bell 505, monumental event with lights smoke and the tedium of not getting to the point quick enough. However, we got there in the end and thus we have the Bell 505. It is hydraulic with mechanical pedals. They won't comment on the all up weight, but we are probably looking around 3200 lbs, same as the B206. The nose slopes sharply down for good visibility and 'aerodynamic effect' (maybe!) Normal tail rotor.

After Bell the Enstrom TH180 was unveiled. I'm guessing the 180 part is name after that Cessna workhorse the 180, for this is a training helicopter (TH) with a piston engine, two seats and a mostly composite body. It is, in effect, a lighter version of the E280.
Enstrom TH180
Mechanical controls, a flight governor, and electric clutch.
I would like to fly it.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

HeliExpo 2014 Day One

Airbus Helicopters EC175
Today is the day of unveilings... it is still early here but that is to come. Until then, yesterday's report:

AgustaWestland are focusing on their new ‘Think Customer’ vision plus their ‘family’ policy. In this, they say, they will never forget that the customer has a choice, but they can fill all his needs with their family of helicopters. Roberto Garavaggio noted that many customers who already have the AW139 have now ordered the AW189 to enhance their fleet, Bristow Helicopters is just one such example having ordered 11 189s for the UK Search and Rescue contract starting in 2017. The AW189 was EASA certified in February 2014, and the company expect FAA certification by the summer of this year.

On the expanding fleet, Garavaggio said that the 149, the 169 and the 609 are all on target for the future. They have changed the 609 considerably since taking over the design from the Bell partnership.

For the future, Roberto pointed out that in the next fifteen years the distance needing to be flown by oil and gas serving helicopters will increase as demand moves further out into deeper waters further offshore, Thus, a new technology machine with distance capability like the AW189 will become more and more necessary.
AgustaWestland is also focusing on dual use helicopters for both military and civilan needs, it is relatively easy and cost effective to change the AW169, AW139, AW149 and the AW109 from military or civilian modes, and certification of new models is now done with these dual roles in mind.
Also, with the customer in mind, John Ponsonby said that although the AW189 has only just received EASA certification, there is already a simulator in place and that pilots are already receiving training.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

HeliExpo 2014 Anaheim California... pre show

Enstrom in purdah
 This is pre-show day at HeliExpo 2014, this year in Anaheim, California. It should be an excellent show as there are quite a few announcements being made and new helicopters. Here you see a veiled helicopter on the Enstrom stand, and below the Bell booth, which is so covered in cloths and security that a mouse couldn't get in with a camera.
The new Bells to be shown will be the new SLH (Short Light Helicopter) and the 525 Relentless, presumably in mock-up. I was told there have already been several attempts to scale the walls, but these have currently been repulsed.
The mystery of the Bell
There will also be the real Marenco Skye 90 Helicopter, and the Enstrom EC145T2 and the AW189. All tasty titbits for the magazines.

More to come on this blog through the days.

Bell and AgustaWestland have press conferences tomorrow, but Bell's unveiling is not until Tuesday.

Sikorsky is also going to tell all about their latest designs and Robinson has glass cockpits for the whole fleet, even the R22.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Blade angles!

Coning angles?
Look at the angles on these blades! This is just a normal take-off in the H269 otherwise S300.

I'm not sure if it is the camera or the helicopter but it makes you feel curly!

2014 the year of the Horse and Helicopter

Berkshire in the floods
2014 is the Chinese Year of the Horse, and I would suggest that means it is also the year of the helicopter.
Helicopterly speaking it started well, in that fixed wing aeroplanes are banned from flying because all the airfields are waterlogged. However, helicopters can fly.

This is Berkshire, not far from London.... wet wet wet?!