Eurocopter Canada has approximately doubled the size of its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Fort Erie ON to 135,625 sq ft. The addition, which has the blue roof, will be used to expand composite manufacturing for the AS365, EC130, EC135 and EC145. Eurocopter expects to deliver its 500th helicopter in Canada later this year.

Sikorsky reports that it has successfully ground tested its X2 technology demonstrator with rotor blades installed and spinning. Ground tests are continuing in preparation for first flight at the Schweizer facility at ELM (Elmira NY).

Eurocopter AS350 and AS355 operators using Chelton synthetic vision EFIS displays can now upgrade to version 6.0B of the software under a recently approved STC. Chelton lists benefits of the upgrade as including ADS-B datalink display functions, traffic information system (TIS-B) and flight information system (FIS-B), WSI weather, enhanced FMS capability, TCAS II, vertical deviation indicator and expanded hover vector.

Heliservices has ordered 2 AW139s to be used for search-and-rescue (SAR) training for AgustaWestland export customers. They will operate from RAF Valley in Wales, where the company already provides SAR training to UK military forces. First delivery is scheduled for 1Q09.

The US Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate has signed an $11.4-million 42-month contract with Sikorsky to develop solutions that will increase rotor life in corrosive environments, provide a reliable and maintainable ice protection system and include methods to assess and repair damage.

Austria's Ministry of the Interior has taken delivery of 3 Eurocopter EC135 P2i twin-engine light helicopters in Innsbruck, Austria. An additional EC135 is to be delivered in time for the 2008 European Football Championships (Euro 2008), scheduled for Jun 7-29 in Austria and Switzerland. Delivery of the 4 EC135s in time to provide security services at Euro 2008 was a requirement of the sales contract.

Dart Helicopter Services and its subsidiary Apical Industries have received EASA approval for their Tri-Bag emergency flotation system for the EC135. The system was previously approved by Transport Canada.

Spanish marine safety agency Sasemar has placed an order for 3 AW139s from AgustaWestland for use in search-and-rescue and pollution detection. Sasemar's orders with AgustaWestland now total 8 AW139s, with 3 already delivered.

Turkish helicopter sales and services provider KAAN Havacilik has taken delivery of the first of 2 AW109 Power light twin turbine helicopters, 1 of which is fitted with a 6-seat interior and the other with a 5-seat VIP interior.