Greece gets its first 505

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Greece’s Bellavia has become that nation’s first operator of the Bell 505. Bellavia which has flown a Bell-centric fleet since the company began operations with a single Bell 47 in 1991. Since then, the company has grown from a single aircraft aerial applications operator to a six aircraft fleet (2×206, 1×407,1×429, 1×505 and 1x Airbus H120) with a wide portfolio of operations. In addition the company is EASA certified  maintenance facility. “This is an exciting milestone for the Bell 505. We are proud to deliver the first 505 in Greece,” said Patrick Moulay, senior vice president, International Commercial Business, Bell. “The Bell 505 is a unique platform that is fit for any adventure. The aircraft enables tourists to experience the world from a new perspective and see some of its most remote and beautiful places.”


Aerios Global Aviation to be Africa’s first five-blade H145 operator

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Cape Town based Aerios Global Aviation (AGA) has placed an order with Airbus for a five-blade variant of the H145 making it the first African based operator to fly the type. The company intends to operate the the aircraft on a wide variety of missions including VIP flights, maritime crew transfers, wind farm support as well as in SAR and HEMS across South Africa as well as in neighbouring countries.

The five blade variant of the twin engine H145 boosts useful load by 150Kg compared with its four-blade stablemate. In addition, the bearingless main rotor design simplifies maintenance and aircraft availability. Commenting on the announcement AGA CEO, Malcolm Pitcher said “The latest multirole version of the H145 was the move we had wanted to make since it was first announced. We already operate two H145 helicopters. The latest H145 is perfect for our current and future operations. We are paving the way by pioneering such an acquisition in our country and region. ”  The aircraft is due for delivery early next year.

Ecocopter firms up four aircraft order with Airbus

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Ecocopter the Chilean operator has revealed that it has closed on a order for three H125s and a single H145 to expand operations in Chile, Peru and Ecuador.

Ecocopter has an all Airbus fleet which includes 13 H125s, two H135s and three H145s which is employed different types of aerial work and services provided by the company, mainly in the mining sector, energy, telecommunications, aeromedical transfers, forest firefighting sectors. The new aircraft will be delivered in two tranches the first expected at the end of this year and the second is due in mid 2023.

Commenting on the announcement Marcelo Rajchman, corporate manager of Ecocopter said: “These new high-performance helicopters represent a clear step in our strategy to consolidate our regional presence in South America, and we will continue on the path of being a reference in high complexity aerial work missions with the purpose of safety, efficiency, innovation and sustainability”.




ITC AeroLeasing place EC225LP with US operator

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Tokyo based ITC AeroLeasing has announced that it has placed another Airbus EC225LP with an undisclosed but longstanding US client. The client will use the aircraft in support of governmental missions worldwide. Commenting on the announcement ITC AeroLeasing President, Mirika Nakayama said: “This transaction shows our continued commitment to our customer and ongoing trust in the EC225, which has been developed over several years since its re-introduction into service. We add value to our client’s development, supporting their sustainable growth as an industry leader in their field.”

ITC AeroLeasing’s portfolio of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft is currently operated in a variety of missions to support our clients’ operations, including government, humanitarian and air ambulance missions.


Airbus sells 27 H125s to Brazil

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Airbus have received an order from the Brazilian Government for 27 H125 Helicopters. The aircraft which are intended to boost the training capacity of the Brazilian Navy and Air Force and will replace the ageing AS350 and Bell 206 helicopters currently in service.
The aircraft will have a G500H TXi double glass cockpit and VEMD (Vehicle & Engine Multifunction Display) and will be compatible with the use of night vision goggles (NVG). They will also include different types of mission equipment such as a winch and a hook so that the training of future pilots is as representative of their missions as possible.
The aircraft will be assembled at the Helibras’ factory in Itajubá, where the country’s H225Ms were also assembled. “Airbus Helicopters is proud to see the H125 supporting the training of the next generation of pilots of the Brazilian armed forces. The H125 is a versatile helicopter used widely in both the civil and military markets as a training platform thanks to its ruggedness, reliability, and easy maintenance. We are honored by the continued confidence of the Brazilian armed forces after more than 40 years of cooperation,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters.

Safran renews Lakota engine support agreement with Airbus

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Safran Helicopter Engines have concluded an agreement with Airbus Helicopters which will see the company continue to provide support for the Arriel engines on the US Army’s fleet of UH-72 Lakotas.

The new agreement formalises formalises a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and service agreement supporting  over 900 Arriel 1E2 and Arriel 2E engines, operated by theU.S. Army on its H145 based UH-72A and UH-72B aircraft. Commenting on the announcement Thierry Derrien, Safran Helicopter Engines USA, President and CEO said: “Safran Helicopter Engines is honoured to continue working alongside Airbus in providing the engine logistics support for the US Army fleet of UH-72 Lakota’s. Our team remains ready to support Airbus and the U.S. Army through proximity locations and continues to show the importance of our U.S. presence.” 



MD Helicopters acquired by MBIA-led creditor consortium in debt/equity swap

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MD Helicopters has emerged from the bankruptcy of the former owners of MD Helicopters Inc, Patriarch Partners.

In a deal with MBIA and other Patriarch creditors, debit has been swapped for equity in the new entity MD Helicopters LLC (MDH).

As a result of the deal the bulk of the new company (70.4%) is owned by MBIA Insurance Corporation and its subsidiaries.

Newly appointed CEO Brad Pedersen told RotorHub that the new company’s primary focus would be on stabilising the company, getting the aftermarket business in hand and developing new aircraft sales.

He explained that the core of these three elements would initially be the aftermarket, specifically spares availability for the existing customer base. The company would then turn to new aircraft sales with the goal of increasing 500 series production from the “six or seven” anticipated this year to 15-20 in 2023.

Asked about the future of MD Helicopters’ NOTAR 6 & 900 series, Pedersen said the company would continue to support the aircraft in service but at present had no plans to return them to production as they are or as part of a new product line.

Pressed on the future of NOTAR technology he said that nothing was off the table, adding: “We are not out there actively peddling it but we rule nothing out.”

While the value of the transaction remains undisclosed as a straight equity for debt swap, reports earlier this year suggested the value of the debts held by the company’s new owners was around US$60 million.

It was also made clear that the purchase was only for the assets of MD Helicopters Inc. Any outstanding liabilities remain linked with Patriarch Partners’ Chapter 11 filing.

All Nippon Helicopters’ first H160 enters service

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All Nippon Helicopters (ANH) the rotary subsidiary of All Nippon Airways (ANA) has placed it’s first Airbus H160 in service. The helicopter which is configured for news gathering operations joins ANH’s fleet of 11 aircraft (six AS335s and five H135s). AHH work is dedicated to supporting  broadcasters across Japan. In addition to the aircraft Airbus also supplies aircraft support through its HCare power by the hour maintenance and spares programme.

Leonardo and Boeing deliver first four MH139s

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Leonardo and Boeing have delivered the first four MH139A multi role helicopters to the US Air Force (USAF). The delivery follows on from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issuing the last supplemental type certificate necessary to complete U.S. Department of Defence aircraft acceptance requirements.  Boeing and the USAF will now continue with additional developmental and initial operational testing to support the aircraft.

The aircraft, based on the AW139 platform, form part of an order for up to 80 aircraft which together with training and support equipment was valued at USD 2.4 billion when it was announced just under four years ago. The aircraft which are intended to replace the service’s fleet of UH-1Ns, will be produced at Leonardo USA’s facility in Pennsylvania. “
We are thrilled that the first four MH-139As have been accepted by the U.S. Air Force” said Clyde Woltman, Chief Executive Officer, Leonardo Helicopters U.S. “This aircraft is well-positioned to become an important asset in the defense and security of the United States.  I especially want to thank the combined program teams at Leonardo and Boeing whose tireless work and ingenuity made this possible.”


Bell completes Relentless US tour

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Bell have revealed that they have just completed US tour which saw the company carry out 50 demonstrations of the aircraft to prospective customers in the offshore support, SAR sectors as well as military operators. The month long tour took in Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and Washington DC. The fly by wire 525 is expected to be the first FBW helicopter to garner FAA certification which Bell expects to be completed in the near future.