Sikorsky and Líder Taxi Aéreo/Air Brasil have signed a contract for a single S92. Líder, which already operates 3 S92s and was the first operator of the type in the region, will use the aircraft in support of offshore oil operations. The company flies more than 50 helicopters in this role, including numerous S76s as well as Bell 206s, 212s and 412s. (L–R) Powerpack Managing Dir Marcos de Souza Dantas, Sikorsky Regional Sales Mgr Worldwide Sales Malcolm MacGregor, VP Sales The Americas, Global Oil David Powell, Líder Taxi Aéreo Pres & CEO Eduardo de Pereira Vaz, Líder Board Dir Mark Duncan and Líder Board Observer Jeremy Akel during champagne celebration at the NBAA convention in Atlanta on Oct 19. —Phil Rose
Life Star of Kansas took delivery of an AgustaWestland AW119Ke at the recent Air Medical Transport Conference in Fort Lauderdale FL. It has now entered service. The helicopter is based in Junction City KS and is used for medical transport missions.
American Eurocopter introduced an advanced helicopter flight and mission simulator for the AS350 during a launch event on Oct 8 at the company's training center at GPM (Grand Prairie TX). Developed with Indra Systems, the full-motion simulator features a complete AS350 cabin. The AS350 simulator will provide options for training in aircraft emergency procedures, CRM, NVG, helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) missions and airborne law enforcement. Convertible from AS350 B2 to B3, it is equipped with a full cabin for "true" CRM training, VEMD, NVG, autopilot, FLIR Star Safire III, moving map functionality and a SpecraLab S16 slaved searchlight. Airborne law enforcement training packages are available now. Eurocopter says that additional missions, including HEMS, will be available soon. More than 750 AS350s are in service in the US. —Clif Stroud
In early July, the District of Columbia National Guard (DC-NG)'s 121st Medical Company (Air Ambulance) became the first unit equipped with the medevac-configured Eurocopter UH72A Lakota to deploy overseas. On Aug 10, only weeks into its 12-month deployment to Hohenfels, Germany, the 121st carried out a live medevac, becoming the first unit to perform such a mission with the Lakota.
Based at DAA (Davison AAF, Fort Belvoir VA), the 121st received its UH72s in 2009. It was the first US Army aviation unit to receive the type in medevac configuration. According to DC-NG State Aviation Officer Lt Col Maureen Bellamy, the unit's mission during its deployment to Germany is to provide medevac standby for units training in the region, many of them prior to deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq. Hohenfels is home to the Joint Multinational Readiness Center.
Unit Commander Maj Mark Escherich notes that, from July onwards, the 121st completed numerous training scenarios to enhance litter-loading readiness for deploying units before it began carrying out live medevacs. Escherich reports that by Oct 29 the unit had completed 5 actual medical evacuations. —Phil Rose