HealthNet Aeromedical Services of Charleston WV is expanding its fleet by ordering a 3rd Eurocopter EC135 and its 1st EC145. Both will be delivered in 4Q2009. Working in conjunction with Air Methods and Med Flight of Ohio, HealthNet serves West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. HealthNet is a consortium owned by West Virginia University Hospitals, Charleston Area Medical Center and Cabell Huntington Hospital. The HealthNet fleet, which has completed 50,000 accident-free missions, also includes 4 AS350 AStars. All HealthNet’s helicopters have dual-pilot IFR capability and are equipped with NVGs, helicopter TAWS and wire strike kit. Interior completions of the new helicopters will occur after delivery.

AgustaWestland has received an order from the government of Trinidad and Tobago for 4 AW139 medium twin helicopters. Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard (TTAG) will establish a dedicated unit to use the AW139s for search and rescue (SAR), surveillance, law enforcement, drug interdiction and disaster relief. The contract also includes training and logistical support for the first 5 years. Total contract value is $348 million. A consortium consisting of AgustaWestland, Bristow Caribbean, the UK’s FB Heliservices and Helidex of the US will manage TTAG’s AW139 program in Trinidad and Tobago. Training will take place in Italy, the UK and the US. This order marks the establishment of the country’s first SAR helicopter unit. Operations will be based primarily at POS (Port of Spain, Trinidad) and from offshore patrol vessels working in conjunction with the Coast Guard. AgustaWestland has now taken more than 430 orders for the AW139 from nearly 120 customers worldwide. Photo shows a Spanish Coast Guard example.

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has awarded United Rotorcraft Solutions (URS) and partner Ahlers Aerospace CAR 35 approval for night vision lighting modifications on the Bell 412. URS Pres David Brigham traveled to Australia in June to complete the modifications on 2 Bell 412s for Australian Helicopters. With the NVG filters in hand over a 2-week period, Brigham performed the modifications and worked with CASA to obtain approval. URS/Ahlers say their modification design reduces installation time and cost. The external filters allow the modified component to remain generic, thus retaining the advantages of local repair and overhaul.

ENAC, the Italian civil aviation authority, has completed the first stage of qualification and authorization tests for the creation of a low-altitude helicopter IFR route between Turin and Venice, crossing the Po Valley. Trials were performed using an AW139 specially equipped to monitor and process data generated by ground and satellite-based navigation systems. During the tests, navigation data reliability and the navigation capabilities of the AW139 were evaluated. Testing took into account the expected evolution of satnav systems. This activity is part of a number of initiatives to develop a dedicated network of low-level IFR routes optimized for helicopter operations and integrated into the airspace system. Adverse weather procedures will be developed allowing helicopters to abandon use of dedicated IFR airspace and share the air­space used by fixed-wing aircraft.

Max-Viz has installed its new EVS1500 enhanced vision system on a corporate VIP Sikorsky S76C++ operated by Aero Rio of Rio de Janeiro RJ, Brazil. This is the first S76 to incorporate a rede­signed conformal EVS1500 fairing installation developed by Cary Foster and Sharmaine Vestal, co-owners of One Sky Aviation, a full service maintenance facility in Anchorage AK. The new fairing produces less standoff and drag than the previous design. Aero Rio chose the EVS1500 based on its ability to penetrate low-visibility conditions (especially smog and haze) common in its normal operating areas.

ATP Oil & Gas Corp has installed the first automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) system on a Gulf of Mexico offshore platform. ATP partnered with FAA Surveillance and Broadcast Services Office, HAI, Gulf helicopter operators and other offshore oil and gas companies. ADS-B uses GPS location data to provide real-time radarlike traffic information directly to ADS-B equipped aircraft. Data is then transmitted to FAA, air traffic controllers and other aircraft. In addition, the system will provide helicopter operators in the Gulf with immediate access to updated weather and other flight information services. The system on the ATP Innovator platform will be part of a network of systems set to go operational in Dec 2009.