MARKET TRENDS

Helicopters—the only choice when it has to be point-to-point transportation

Safety enhancements, payload, range, speed and comfort are at the forefront when considering a V/STOL purchase.


Total variable costs per hour (in US dollars) with standard equipment and setup. Costs may vary depending on usage and region of operation.

Available with 2 engine options (Pratt & Whitney PW206C or Turbomeca Arrius 2K1) in the AW109E Power, it can haul 1287 lbs of payload over 260 nm. AgustaWestland also touts the fact that the AW109E Power is "single-pilot IFR certified and can perform Category A takeoffs from elevated helipads without any payload reduction, while complying with European regulations relating to Class 1 performance helicopters."

AW139 is AgustaWestland's new-generation twin-turbine helicopter, capable of carrying heavy loads at high speed.

Equipped with a new 5-bladed main rotor spinning with the power of Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C engines, the AW139 has an impressive power-to-weight ratio even at hot-and-high locations. This combination of power allows the AW139 to carry a 1937-lb payload with full fuel at a speed of 165 KTAS over a distance of 460 nm.

"I feel that the AW139 is the most technologically advanced helicopter in its weight class," says Winkler. "It offers the end user broad capabilities to meet their ever increasing helicopter demands. This includes the ultimate in corporate executive interiors, from the high-density seating required by the oil industry for deep water exploration to the utility demands of firefighting, SAR, law enforcement and EMS."

"In many of these requirements," says Winkler, "end users have enhancements in ride quality, the ability to have full deice capability, and extended-range fuel capability (with aux fuel tanks).

Customers can take delivery of their aircraft in green configuration and take it to a completion center of their choosing. "This provides greater capability of meeting specific customer requirements," says Winkler. "These include cockpit enhancements, advanced EMS setups and capabilities, and weight/sound reductions."

In addition to better performance, the safety options and features on the AW139 allow it to operate in diverse weather (including known icing conditions) in most mission situations. A large interior cabin can be configured into a wide range of layouts.

Eurocopter

New high-performance EC145 T2 takes safety a step further with the introduction of a fenestron and FADEC equipped engines.

Eurocopter offers a wide variety of helicopters suited for all mission types, both commercial and military, ranging from VIP transport and offshore operations to SAR and air ambulance.
One of Eurocopter's most pop­ular models, the EC135 notably serves as an air ambulance and transport machine. Reasons for its appeal and success include oversized sliding doors, wide fuselage, and 894-lb payload with full fuel.

Dual engines—optional Pratt & Whitney or Turbomeca—give the EC135 better reliability and function while offering 254-nm range fully loaded. Safety features such as optional offshore floats and standard energy-absorbing airframe add to the EC135's appeal as a multimission machine.

The EC145 medium-lift helicopter shares the characteristics of the EC­135 but in a larger package. Popular as an air ambulance, especially in the US of late, the EC145 has higher-set main rotor blades and a fenestron tail rotor on the newest and more advanced EC145 T2.

These features increase ground safety particularly when loading passengers or patients with the engines running. Wide doors and rear access for stretchers makes the EC145 ideal for safe patient transport while allowing the crew to do their jobs in a spacious area.

Powered by twin Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 engines, the EC145 can fly 274 nm with a 1412-lb payload, depending on configuration. This setup makes the EC145 well suited for heavier multimission loadouts in high-volume areas.

Heavy lifters are becoming more popular as missions become more demanding, especially in offshore roles. Eurocopter's AS332 Super Puma has settled into this and other roles with proven reliability and high payload capacity.

Safety is at the forefront with the Super Puma's available features, such as certified flight into known icing characteristics on all flight surfaces. Offshore emergency floats are also available. According to American Eurocopter, the AS332L1e variant offers "enhanced flight envelope protection and increased safety levels, along with full compatibility for such new-generation mission equipment as FLIR sensors, HTAWS, digital map units and TCAS."

With larger size comes greater payload capacity and range. With full fuel, the Super Puma can haul 3366 lbs of payload over 406 nm. In addition, the AS332 has wide doors and cargo access to handle bulky cargo and can carry a maximum exterior sling load of 9920 lbs.

Bell

Bell's fast and far-flying 429 has found a service niche, particularly in the EMS field.

Bell Helicopter has been in business since 1935. Since then, it has been opening the door to modern helicopter capabilities with numerous aircraft designed and flown by the military, transitioning to offshore operations and progressing into the civilian transport genre. Current offerings include the Bell 206L4, 407, 412 and 429.

The Bell 206L4 LongRanger is capable of performing missions that run from VIP to oil rig and rescue services. It also delivers a 253-nm range with 737-lb payload capacity.

As Bell started looking for a larger alternative to the Bell 206 JetRanger that would appeal to a more diverse customer base, it introduced the Bell 407—essentially an upgraded model based on the 206.

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