SAF Aerogorup signs HCare contract for Puma and Super Puma fleet

By EUROPEAN ROTORS 2022No Comments

SAF Aerogroup, has signed an HCare In-Service support contract to cover its fleet of four H215 family helicopters and one H225 helicopter, operated by its subsidiaries Starlite Aviation and SAF International.

Starlite Aviation operates the fleet of two Puma and Six Super Pumas for a wide array of missions, including firefighting, medevac, and rescue & relief operations. European heavy-lifting operator SAF International is operating an additional Super Puma configured for delivering proficient aerial work.

The HCare In-Service package has been tailored to SAF Aerogroup’s specific operational needs, providing it with parts availability and by-the-hour services to optimise the fleet’s maintenance and performance. SAF Aerogroup, again via its entity Aero Support Force, has also signed a second contract to retrofit 15 of its H125 helicopters with a crash-resistant fuel system (CRFS). The fleet of H125s is operated by SAF Aerogroup’s subsidiaries SAF Hélicoptères and Helilagon.

“The new HCare offer has been designed with our customer’s unique needs and operational environments in mind. The HCare In-Service package is tailored to provide SAF Aerogroup’s entire Super Puma fleet with the optimal level of Part Availability Commitment in the form of a Part-By-the-Hour (PBH) solution in order to best meet their specific operational needs in one single contract,” says Christoph Zammert, Executive Vice President of Customer Support & Services at Airbus Helicopters. “As our primary mission is to help our customers conduct their operations efficiently, safely, and cost-effectively, we’re honoured to be able to help SAF Aerogroup carry out their essential missions.”

Bucher introduces AC70 flex at EUROPEAN ROTORS

By EUROPEAN ROTORS 2022No Comments

Bucher presented the newest member of its flexible helicopter emergency equipment line: the AC70 flex for the H145 yesterday.

Similar to the AC67 flex for the H135, the new AC70 flex is based on the same principle of making all components as flexible as possible. This flexibility is guaranteed by a “Quick Release” system, which allows a quick conversion from an EMS into a VIP, police, cargo, fire brigade or military configuration.

With this new product Bucher is seeking to break new ground and appeal not only to air rescue operators but also, more importantly, to helicopter operators who want to convert their configuration several times a day to keep the helicopter in operation for as many hours as possible.

To help increase customer awareness and product adoption, Bucher has partnered with long-standing experts from the field of air rescue and helicopter to work hand in hand with customers. With the help of these experts Bucher is able to utilize its customer proximity and short communication channels to improve and expedite product onboarding and in service times. When a customer invests in their flex equipment, the company’s experts are available for immediate advice on product use and upgradeabilty.


Air Corporate bags European launch customer for ACH160

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Milan’s Air Corporate has placed an order with Airbus Corporate Helicopters for an ACH160. The aircraft will feature a parquet flooring in the cabin as well as the usual fine leather upholstery you expect to find in a VIP specification helicopter. Uniquely though the carbon veneer panelling will actually reduce the empty weight of the aircraft compared with carpeting more typically found in VIP configured helicopters. This will allow Air Corporate the can of additional range capability that its customers seek.

The aircraft which is due for delivery early next year will be based in Milan. Speaking at yesterday’s press conference Air Corporate’s President and CEO Roano Grandi said “We are delighted to add this exceptional helicopter to our fleet of unique business aviation machines. It will be our new flagship and for sure will be very attractive to our customers.”

While the new aircraft will be initially Air Corporate’s flagship the operator expects that demand will require additional ACH160s in their unique layout ‘before long’.

Air Zermatt adds a third Bell 429 to its fleet

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Air Zermatt has signed a purchase agreement for an additional 429 with Bell. The new aircraft will increase the Swiss HEMS operator’s 429 fleet to three. Over 50 years Air Zermatt has grown its operation from a single aircraft to 11 in operation today. Delivering HEMS service in some of the most demanding conditions the Alps can conjure up. “Air Zermatt operates in one of the most demanding environments in the world to perform search and rescue missions,” said Patrick Moulay, senior vice president, International Commercial Business, Bell. “Their acquisition of a third Bell 429 for their HEMS missions is a true testament to their trust in Bell and its aircraft.”

Asked about the motivation for expanding the company’s Bell 429 operation, Air Zermatt CEO Gerald Biner replied “Bell has always supported our operations with excellent aircraft and support. The Bell 429 is in class of its own, and continues to offer reliable, superior performance for our search and rescue missions. We look forward to adding another HEMS-configured Bell 429 to our fleet and increasing our search and rescue support to the community in the Swiss Valais.”

Vertical Mission Training establishes VR training centre in Monchengladbach

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Monchengladbach based Virtual Mission Training is opening a simulator training centre for the Ruhr area. The company which was established in June of this year includes in its investors Heli NRW is a flight school providing training for PPL, CPL licences as well as FI ratings. The simulator programme is based on Virtual reality motion simulators created by VRM Switzerland and is based around a Robinson R22 and Airbus H125 based simulators. With the R22 platform being used to augment training in basic flight manovers while the H125 will be focussed on advancing the student to CPL standards. In addition the company has taken an option on an H145 based simulator VRM are presently developing in association with Airbus Helicopters.

The use of simulators, once the preserve of advanced training is becoming more common in the ab into phase as VRM CEO Fabi Reisen explains: “An advantage of the concept is to train emergency procedures safely and consistently. VRM Switzerland has proven with scientific research that it is possible to learn skills on the simulator and apply them in the real helicopters without adaptation. This increases learning efficiency, reduces costs, and is even more environmentally friendly.”  Meanwhile the EASA approved H125 Level 3 FTD will enable Virtual Mission Training to offer clients licence and operator efficiency checks, additionally it will allow scenario based training to develop pilot competencies far more effectively than might be the case in an actual aircraft.

Five more 505s for Europe

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Bell have signed purchase agreements for a total of five 505s making the announcement at the company’s booth at European Rotors the company revealed that three of the the aircraft are bound for Airborne, Bell’s independent representative (IR) for the Baltic states. Meanwhile the other two aircraft are destined for private buyers who have acquired the aircraft directly. Commenting on the announcements Bell Senior Vice President, International Commercial Sales, Patrick Moulay said “It’s exciting to see the demand for the Bell 505 continue to grow within Europe across many industries. We see great potential for Bell within the Baltics, and we are delighted to welcome Airbourne to our ever-growing list of IRs across Europe to expand our support. The 505 adapts well to Europe’s varied terrain, and our customers have a diverse range of uses for the aircraft. From taking tourists sightseeing to training pilots to land on top of mountains, the 505 continues to leave an amazing impression on our customers and the passengers they fly. According latest Bell data the company has delivered 78 505s have been delivered to European customers.

Leonardo awards HeliService International ‘excellent service centre’ status

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Leonardo is consolidating its strategy to strengthen  support and maintenance services offered to its customer base in Germany and Europe through the appointment of HeliService international GmbH (HeliService) as an Excellent Service Centre. The ‘Excellent’ ranking is assigned to selected Service Centres focused on maintaining third party fleets with the largest scope of service capabilities, while guaranteeing Leonardo’s customers stringent expectations continue to be met and specific market requirements are considered.

 As a result of this appointment,  HeliService will be able to deliver MRO support for  AW109 , AW16, and AW139 twin types. These aircraft’s importance and presence in Europe have constantly increased over recent years, with further potential in Germany. HeliService has operated AW139s and AW169s for offshore wind farm support missions in the North Sea over the last few years delivering outstanding operational capability and safety standards with ongoing successful expansion in Asia and USA, adding three new AW169s from next summer. Commenting on the elevation; Roy Hurrel, Head of Maintenance Munich/ Oberpfaffenhofen, said: “To be only 1 of 6 Leonardo Excellent Service Centres worldwide is a great confirmation of the quality of our work. Being part of this team fills me with pride.”


Swiss Helicopter signs for H120 avionics upgrade

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Swiss Helicopter has signed an agreement to upgrade the avionics systems for their seven H120 helicopters. The company operates a 25 strong fleet which besides the H120s, includes 18 H125s from 15 bases in Switzerland and Lichtenstein and as such is one of the biggest aerial work operators in Europe.

The new avionics will modernise the aircraft, provide new safety and performance functionalities and equip it with a digitally connected system. This upgrade is one of the continuous improvement programmes offered in the HCare Classics package – a suite of flexible services dedicated to out-of-production aircraft, including H120, Dauphin and Puma aircraft. “Our fleet of H120 helicopters are highly appreciated in our spectrum of operations given their excellent low sound levels, comfort, high reliability and good performance,” says Rolf Heuberger, CEO from Swiss Helicopter. “Our pilots, flight instructors and technicians are already familiar with this avionics system, which is used on our H125 fleet, and we’re pleased that the H120 will benefit from the same level of safety and performance this system provides. We’re looking forward to operating the H120 for many years to come,” Heuberger added.

First Green certificates presented to Airbus Helicopters and Babcock France

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Optima Aero is launching a new initiative to calculate carbon footprint avoidance through the reuse of serviceable helicopter parts. The first Green certificates were presented to Airbus Helicopters and Babcock France during the European Rotors trade show in Germany. “Our team developed a thorough methodology to quantify the carbon footprint avoidance for helicopter operators who elected to take a sustainable approach by electing to buy serviceable helicopters or engine parts and embody them into their assets rather than purchasing new ones,” explains Toby Gauld, President of Optima Aero. “We are proud to lead the way by helping our customers define a value on this responsible sourcing approach, which supports their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and sustainability strategy.”.

Airbus Helicopters receives first Green certificate from Optima Aero

Optima Aero was proud to present a Green certificate to Airbus Helicopters in recognition of its responsible part sourcing strategy. The company avoided releasing 9.1 tonnes of CO2 through the reuse of EC120 tail gear boxes and epicyclical modules. The certificate was presented to Nicolas Simon, Head of PSO Legacy at Airbus Helicopters by Toby Gauld, President of Optima Aero during European Rotors.

Optima Aero presents a first Green certificate to Babcock France

Optima Aero also presented a Green certificate to Babcock France, a testimony to its sustainable part sourcing strategy which helped avoid releasing 81 tonnes of CO2 through the reuse of three PW206B2 engines. The certificate was presented to Yannick Budin, Airworthiness Director at BABCOCK France by Toby Gauld, President of Optima Aero during European Rotors.

Safran signs SBH support contract with The Helicopter and Jet Company

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Safran Helicopter Engines has signed a contract with The Helicopter and Jet Company (THC) to support Arrano and Arriel engines powering its H160, H125 and H145 fleets. This Support-By-the-Hour (SBH®) contract formalises a long-term Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and services agreement supporting more than 60 engines.

SBH® is Safran’s support-by-the-hour program. It makes engine operating costs predictable, eliminates cash peaks and allows flexibility for scheduled and unscheduled MRO coverage. It now accounts for 50% of Safran Helicopter Engines’ customer flying hours.

 THC  operates a fleet of 30 helicopters offering a wide range of commercial services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia including emergency medical service (EMS), aerial work, private charter, aerial photography and filming, and tourism.

 Commenting on the announcement, Safran Helicopter Engines Support France Managing Director Frédéric Fourciangue said: “This contract marks a new milestone in our partnership with THC.  THC is a most important provider of helicopter services, with a very strong growth curve. Safran Helicopter Engines will deploy resources locally to support this key actor and we are particularly proud to be its partner”.