US Army bids farewell to the Huey

A retirement ceremony on Oct 2 at Summerall Field, Fort Myer VA, marked the end of 50 years of US Army operational service for one of the most famous military helicopters of all time—the Bell UH1 Iroquois. The last UH1 operator was District of Columbia National Guard’s 121st Med­ical Company (Air Ambulance), based at DAA (Davison AAF, Fort Belvoir VA), which now operates the American Eurocopter UH72A Lakota. It was in Oct 1970 that the first Army National Guard units began receiving UH1s, and the “Huey” went on to serve with Guard units for another 39 years. (Main photo) DC-NG Bell UH1H lifts off in front of guests, VIPs and executives from Bell, EADS North America and Sikorsky. ARNG Acting Dir Maj Gen Raymond Carpenter looks on. (Inset) Twilight departure for an old soldier. Many airworthy ex-US Army UH1s will be allocated to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s Foreign Military Sales program. —Phil Rose

EADS North America exhibited its Armed Scout 645 demonstrator at this year’s Assn of the US Army (AUSA) convention, held at the Washington DC Convention Center from Oct 5–8. Based on the same airframe as the Eurocopter UH72A Lakota (itself based on the EC145) now being delivered to the US Army, the Armed Scout 645 can be equipped with a full combat mission package. The package includes an EO/IR sensor, 2.75-in rockets, Hellfire missiles, 7-shot rocket pod and 0.50 caliber machine gun. (Inset) EADS North America VP Light Utility Helicopter Program John Burke and US Army Utility Helicopters Project Mgr Col Neil Thurgood.

American Eurocopter has donated $10,000 to the Airborne Law En­forcement Accreditation Commission (ALEAC) to be used to offset the cost of law enforcement air unit accreditation. The money will be awarded to qualifying agencies that complete the accreditation process. ALEAC was founded in 2002 with the purpose of developing professional standards for all airborne law enforcement units including local, state and federal government agencies. The Airborne Law Enforcement Association (ALEA) has adopted these standards as guidelines for starting new law enforcement aviation units and as recommended best practices for existing units.

Turbomeca has certified Westcor Aviation as a maintenance center. Endorsement by Turbomeca to provide Level 1 and 2 maintenance and repair on the Arriel and Arrius engine family—whether scheduled, unscheduled or AOG—includes engine removals and modular maintenance. This certification compliments Westcor’s existing approval with American Eurocopter as a service center for the AS350, AS355, EC­120, EC130 and EC135, all of which are normally powered by Turbomeca engines.

Heli-One has signed an agreement to establish a repair and overhaul center in Vancouver BC, Canada. The center will service AW139s for the CHC Helicopter group of companies and third-party operators. CHC, which has ordered 33 AW139s so far, began incorporating the type into its fleet in 2005 as part of its fleet renewal and expansion. CHC uses its AW139s for offshore transport, EMS and SAR missions.

Bristow Group has signed an agreement for 3 AgustaWestland AW139 medium twin helicopters for use in offshore transport missions. Options are included for additional AW139 purchases. Bristow Group provides helicopter services to the world­wide offshore energy industry. It has major transportation operations in most major offshore oil and gas-producing regions around the world, including the Gulf of Mex­ico and the North Sea.

EADS is the recipient of the 2009 French-Japanese Investment Award for its development and investment in Japan. The award was presented by the French Agency for Intl Investment (AFII), whose mission is to promote direct foreign investment by targeting potential in­vest­ors and assisting them in the process. Every year since 2004, AFII has made these investment awards to companies that have made outstanding contributions to the economies of Japan or France.

Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services– North America has received FAA certification for development of an STC for an integrated cockpit display system (ICDS) for the Bell 407. Vector is currently manufacturing 407 glass cockpit installation kits which will be available soon for sale, pending Transport Canada and EASA approval. In developing the STC, Vector partnered with Sagem Avionics. In addition to the Vector-Sagem ICDS avionics suites, Vector offers a Rockwell Collins glass cockpit solution for the Sikorsky S76 and S61 that uses an FDS2000/ Collins AHRS package.