DC National Guard accepts 1st medevac Eurocopter UH72As

District of Columbia National Guard (DC-NG) accepted its first American Eurocopter UH72A Lakota at a Mar 12 ceremony at the DC-NG Armory. (Above L-R) National Guard Bureau Chief Gen Craig McKinley, DC-NG Commanding General Maj Gen Errol Schwartz and EADS North America CEO Ralph Crosby. (Right) 2 DC-NG UH72As overfly downtown Washington DC.

District of Columbia National Guard took delivery of its first 3 American Eurocopter UH72As on Mar 4 at Columbus MS. Official acceptance was Mar 12. Based at DAA (Davison AAF, Fort Belvoir VA), DC-NG's 121st Medical Company (Air Ambulance) is the first National Guard unit to receive the medevac-configured version of the UH72A. It is due to receive 3 more on Apr 15.

These 6 aircraft will replace the 9 Bell UH1Hs and UH1Vs currently operated by the unit. DC-NG is due to receive 2 further UH72As in 2012, for operation by Detachment 1, B/1-224th Security & Support the 121st's sister company at DAA-which now flies the Bell OH58A. The US Army started taking delivery of UH72As in Dec 2006.

Current size of the Army's proposed buy stands at 344, at least 200 of which are to be assigned to National Guard units. -Phil Rose

Sikorsky has successfully tested its Sandblaster brownout system on a NASA JUH60 testbed. Honeywell and avionics firm Sierra Nevada helped develop Sandblaster as an aid to pilots in low-visibility landings. Acting as an autopilot and SVS to reduce drifting, the system gives the pilot more situational awareness in order to increase precision on landing.

CAE and AgustaWestland have announced AW139 type rating and recurrent training will take place in Morristown NJ. CAE has recently received FAA certification for its AW139 Level D full-flight simulator, which will be used in the New Jersey training base.

Universal Avionics has received certification for a new UNS1Fw/1Lw WAAS-capable FMS for helos. The WAAS/LPV monitor will be STC'd initially for the Sikorsky S76B and C. Universal's system includes 2 GPS antennas mounted on the helicopter's vertical stabilizer, plus a new FMS and UNS navigation monitor.

Omniflight has opened a Roswell NM base, expanding its Southwest Medevac subsidiary. A Eurocopter AS350B3 will be based at ROW (Roswell NM) and will serve Albuquerque NM and Lubbock TX.

American Eurocopter is to open a customer support call center in Grand Prairie TX later this year. This is a follow-on to the launch of AE's customer support and satisfaction initiative last November.