Airborne Technologies to upgrade H135 for Slovenian Police ASU

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Airborne Technologies (ABT) have revealed that during the PAvCon Europe Conference, which was held at the company’s Weiner Neustadt HQ, it signed another contract to upgrade an Airbus H135 for the Republic of Slovenia’s Ministry of the Interior. It will join another H135 fitted with ABT’s LINX Surveillance Package which the Slovenian Police ASU has operated since 2016.  Delivery of the upgraded aircraft is due to take place before the end of the year.

The upgrade package includes an ABT carbon fibre operator workstation and carbon fibre camera bracket, L3 Wescam MX-15, a BMS downlink, Shotover augmented reality system with ION recorder as well as Avalex displays and recorder. The elements are unified by the Airborne LINX system which allows the operator to control the entire system via a simple and easy to use touchscreen.

Speaking about the contract ABT CEO Wolfgang Grumeth, said “It was a great week with all the Police Aviation professionals and technology innovators in the house. Besides our successful live demo, showing Smith & Myers Artemis phone location system together with our Partners (L3 Harris, Shotover, ECS and of course Smith & Myers), the signing of the contract was definitely one of the highlights of the event for us.”

Helicopter ban sought by New York Councilman

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Lincoln Restler, the council member representing the Brooklyn Heights and Greenpoint ward of New York’s city council has introduced legislation designed to reduce Helicopter traffic in the city’s East River corridor. The bill, which apparently has won support from Council members representing wards in New York’s Manhattan, Brooklyn and Bronx boroughs will seek to ban “non-essential” flights from city owned heliports. According to a tweet by Restler “There are approximately 4,000 non-essential helicopter flights over New York City monthly by Uber, Blade and tourism companies…it’s disruptive to our communities and bad for the environment”.

Complaints about aircraft noise are, of course, nothing new but they have risen significantly in recent years in line with traffic growth fuelled by ride sharing apps and other booking platforms.

If successful, the ban would not only hamper corporate and leisure traffic but would a significant impact on the business models of nascent eVTOL companies.

Constant Aviation enters rotor market

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Cleveland, Ohio based Constant Aviation has expanded its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capabilities beyond its portfolio of business jets, commercial airliners and other fixed-wing aircraft to include rotorcraft including helicopters, drones and other Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). “We have striven to be at the forefront of aviation technology in all its forms, including servicing helicopters and emerging technologies such as Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” said David H. Davies, Constant Aviation’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our expansion into these sectors positions us well for the future, including our ability to serve even newer emerging technologies such as Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft. We are fully staffed and equipped to service any private aircraft that can fly, from fixed-wing aircraft such as business jets to helicopters, drones and other rotorcraft.”

As part of this initiative, Constant is completely refurbishing the Sikorsky S-76 helicopters flown by Flexjet’s new private helicopter division. The interiors of each helicopter are being refurbished in Flexjet’s LXi custom cabin interiors, with the first being the “Phantom” interior theme. All veneers are being refinished and all soft goods (seats, carpets and side walls) are being restored with new materials rich with texture. The newly painted livery was designed by Constant Aviation to pay homage to Flexjet’s distinctive business jet liveries which include a chameleon paint with an added carbon fibre accent on the upper cowling and leading edge on the vertical tail. The private helicopter division refurbishments are being performed at Constant Aviation’s facility at Florida’s Orlando Sanford International Airport. “We are proud that Flexjet has chosen us to ensure that its private helicopters meet its exacting standards,” said Davies. “The refurbishment demonstrates how we have successfully expanded our offering to include providing maintenance, repair and overhaul services to helicopters and other rotorcraft.”

The company says its expansion into helicopter MRO services is a natural step in ensuring the company remains at the forefront of aviation maintenance needs across the full range of aircraft. It also prepares Constant Aviation for the next generation of rotorcraft that will require MRO services. The expertise developed with helicopters and other traditional rotorcraft systems strategically positions the company to serve emerging technology areas like UAS and eVTOLs, which employ similar engineering, materials and systems. “The aviation industry is evolving quickly, with new systems coming to the fore, especially in vertical flight and unmanned systems,” said Davies. “We want to be positioned as the leader in servicing these newer forms of flight and have been expanding our capabilities to offer them the same levels of skill, speed and quality that we have long provided to business jets and other fixed-wing aircraft.”

Flexjet launch helicopter division

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Flexjet, one of the largest and fractional jet providers, has launched a helicopter division, integrating Associated Aircraft Group (AAG), which was acquired by parent Directional Aviation, into the Flexjet family. Flexjet will extend complimentary helicopter transfers to its Gulfstream fractional Owners, and will sell add-on fractional, lease and charter access in Flexjet-branded Sikorsky S-76 helicopters. The company says the new division will provide on-demand transportation regionally as well as last-mile transport for Owners of Flexjet aircraft traveling from airports to their final destinations, a unique door-to-door travel solution not available through any other provider in the U.S.
“Flexjet’s new helicopter division enhances our position as the leader in combining fixed-wing operations and private urban mobility in the U.S. This distinguishes us as the only operator in our industry to offer seamless travel,” said Flexjet Chief Executive Officer Michael Silvestro. “Today, more and more travellers are seeking an alternative to crowded forms of transportation – opting instead for easier, safer and less stressful options from beginning to end. In addition, this enhanced segment of the Flexjet experience allows our clients to become even more productive with their time.”

UK Competitions Regulator orders CHC to unwind Babcock buyout

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Following an in-depth Phase 2 investigation into CHC’s acquisition of Babcock’s North Sea oil and gas business, the UK Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has ordered the company to unwind its acquisition of  Offshore Helicopter Services UK, Offshore Services Australasia  and Offshore Helicopter Services Denmark, all previously owned by Babcock International Group. Explaining its decision, the CMA said that the deal reduced competition in North Sea Oil & Gas support services market to unacceptable level saying that it believes there should be at least four separate companies competing for business.

In making the announcement the CMA did not reveal a timescale for compliance with the order.