China certifies Mi-171 with VK-2500-03 engines
RUSSIAN HELICOPTERS announced on April 5, 2019, that the Civil Aviation Administration of China had issued type certification for the Mil Mi-171 helicopter, fitted with Klimov VK-2500-03 engines. The VK-2500-03 replaces the lesspowerful Klimov TV3-117VM Series 2 engine to ensure higher load capacity and increased absolute and static ceiling. Greater engine power also ensures greater safety during flight with one engine operating.
National Fire Corps AW139s
LEONARDO HELICOPTERS has delivered two AW139 helicopters to the Italian Vigili del Fuoco (National Fire Corps).
The helicopters were handed over to the Corps during a ceremony at the manufacturer’s facility at Vergiate on April 18, 2019.
The AW139s will be fitted with a range of specialised equipment for maritime and mountain search and rescue, medical evacuation, firefighting and disaster relief operations. The mission equipment includes, an external rescue hoist and cargo hook (with provision to accept a firefighting Bambi Bucket), weather radar, satellite communications system, high-definition forward looking infrared/low-light TV system, Leonardo’s optical proximity LIDAR system, night vision goggle capability, Trakka searchlight and an emergency flotation system.
The Vigili del Fuoco signed a €45-million contract with Leonardo for the acquisition of three AW139s in 2018 and the first two will be based at Rome’s Ciampino Airport for training of personnel. The third helicopter will be delivered later this year. Nigel Pittaway
Ansat maintenance centre
RUSSIAN HELICOPTERS announced it will open a technical maintenance centre for Kazan Ansat helicopters in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2020.
The announcement, made on April 25, 2019 said the facility will be developed in co-operation with Mexico’s Craft Avia Centre. The first Ansat helicopter for the Mexican market will be delivered in 2019. Nigel Pittaway
Power line H215s
AIRBUS HELICOPTERS announced on April 23, 2019 that it has delivered a H215 Super Puma helicopter to China’s State Grid General Aviation Company (SGGAC).
The SGGAC, a subsidiary of the State Grid Corporation of China, performs infrastructure construction and maintenance of the country’s network of high and very high voltage power lines.
The new Super Puma will be fitted with a 4.5-ton cargo sling, external hoists, weather radar, wire-strike protection and will have 17 cabin seats, fitted with oxygen jackets for operations at high altitudes. Duties will include cable repair, cable laying, cargo transportation and powerline construction operations in remote areas.
The new H215 will join the SGGAC’s existing fleet of 15 Airbus Helicopters aircraft, comprising H125, H120 and H225 helicopters.
AW109SPs on port duties
IN JUNE, the South African Transnet National Ports Authority will receive two new AW109SP helicopters, I-RAIQ (msn 22399) and I-PTFP (msn 22398), from Leonardo Helicopters to replace its three existing AW109s.
The aircraft will be used in the ports of Durban and Richards Bay to transfer marine pilots on and off visiting vessels.
Such services may also be extended to the port of Cape Town, especially when stormy conditions make it difficult for vessels to transfer pilots.
South Africa is one of just three countries in the world to use helicopters for pilot transfer.
A signing ceremony for the acceptance of the two new helicopters, worth around ZAR 250 million, was held at Vergiate, Italy, on April 17, 2019.
They were acquired as part of Transnet’s fleet renewal programme and for their role they are equipped with a Harbour Pilot Shuttle Kit, which includes a hoist.
China’s H135 final assembly line
AIRBUS HELICOPTERS has opened a final assembly line (FAL) at Qingdao, in Shandong Province in eastern China, for production of H135 helicopters, the company announced on April 17, 2019.
The facility is, according to Airbus Helicopters, the first helicopter FAL to be built in China by a foreign manufacturer and it is also the first H135 FAL outside Europe.
The FAL at Qingdao is the result of a co-operation agreement signed between Airbus Helicopters and the Chinese Government in 2016, for the purchase of 100 H135s for the local market.
Airbus Helicopters will ship H135 fuselages, main gearbox kits and rear fuselage assemblies from its European facilities in Donauwörth, Germany and Albacete, Spain for assembly at the 6,500m² (70,000ft²) Qingdao FAL.
Ninety-five of the 100 H135s will be assembled at Qingdao and the first is expected to be completed in the second half of 2019. The initial production rate will encompass 18 helicopters per year, but the facility has the capacity to double production if required, to accommodate future growth.