American Eurocopter delivered the 4th and final AS350B3 AStar to the Miami-Dade Police Dept Aviation Unit on Nov 1. The B3s are part of an upgrade program started in 2008 to replace an aging fleet of helicopters. Equipment on the new aircraft includes thermal imagers, searchlights, moving map and platforms for tactical team insertions. In addition to mission equipment, the helicopters were delivered with NVG compatible cockpits. NVG training was provided for the MDPD pilots. One additional item on the latest AS350B3 was a 6-GHz video downlink system which allows the helicopter to broadcast video images to handheld units and a central downlink site.
FRASCA Intl has sold a Sikorsky S76 Level B full flight simulator (FFS) to Bristow Group. It will also be qualified as a Level 3 flight training device to UK Civil Aviation Authority standards. Bristow already uses 2 Level B FFSs in its training operation at ABZ (Aberdeen, Scotland) for the Eurocopter EC225 and Sikorsky S92.
Eurocopter and Civil Aviation Flight University of China (CAFUC) are collaborating to provide an ab initio helicopter technician training program to CAFUC students. An initial class of 15 students signaled the start of a long-term plan to train 120 students annually by 2015. Training for the 4-month train-the-trainer program will take place in China and Germany with 300 hrs of classroom and 300 hrs of hands-on practical training. On successful completion of training students must pass a Civil Aviation Authority of China approved test to receive a basic helicopter maintenance technician license.
Bell has delivered 4 helicopters to Mexico for the oil and gas industry and for corporate transportation. Three Bell 412s went to Heliservicio Campeche, a large Bell operator in the Gulf of Mexico. This brings its Bell helicopter fleet up to 31, of which 22 are 412s. A Bell 429 was delivered earlier to the State of Chihuahua for corporate transport.
Bristow Group and AgustaWestland have announced a contract to purchase 6 AW189s for offshore missions. Bristow's purchase signals confidence in the new helicopter due to enter service in 2014 with contract options allowing for additional aircraft in the future. The AW189 is AgustaWestland's answer to expanding demand for deepwater long-range helicopters capable of multirole missions required in the offshore industry.
AgustaWestland has delivered the first of 2 AW139s to the Autonomous Province of Trento in Italy. The 2nd aircraft is due to be delivered by the end of this year and will be placed in service by the Firefighting Dept of Aviation based in Trento. Planned mission use includes EMS, SAR and disaster relief missions throughout the province.
Sikorsky Aerospace Systems (SAS), the aftermarket division of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp, has received an order from the US Dept of State (DoS) for 3 additional upgraded S61Ts for service overseas. The S61T Sea King is a joint development with Carson Helicopters. Conversion includes a Sagem glass cockpit and composite main rotor blades. SAS delivered the 1st modernized S61T to DoS for passenger and cargo missions in Dec 2010. The latest 3 helicopters were ordered through an indefinite quantity (IQ) agreement to provide transportation services for diplomatic personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. This brings total purchases under DoS's contract to 29. DoS has the option to purchase up to 110 S61Ts. Other government agencies can also use the IQ agreement to buy S61Ts.