Heli-Expo 2017 Photo Report
17,788 people attended the show. A record-setting 322,800 sq feet of floor space was used with 731 exhibitors and 62 aircraft on display. Turnout was over 25% up on 2016 (though that is only to be expected after the off piste location of Louisville, Kentucky last year), with a good take up of exhibition space which some attendees saw as a sign of developing market optimism.
All photos © Aerossurance unless otherwise stated.
Less a mock-up of a planned helicopter and more a ‘concept helicopter’, that is never intended to fly but which highlights possible future innovations, the FCX01 features proposed technologies that include:
- Hybrid propulsion, with an electrically powered ‘cross-flow fan‘ anti torque system
- Single pilot augmented reality cockpit (similar to that originally envisaged for the Airbus Helicopters X4, now the H160) with fly-by-wire as used on the 525
- Variable geometry blade tips
- Unconventional landing gear
MD Helicopters also revealed their 8 seat 2.5t MD6xx helicopter with a four bladed tail rotor. They also described this as a ‘concept’ helicopter, though perhaps more a sign that they are yet to commit to development than a sign of radical innovation.
Leonardo hinted at a new light twin (an AW209) and discussed a reengined AW009. They exhibited a HEMS AW119Kx, a winch equipped HEMS AW169 and an AW189 in ERA Helicopters colours, the only oil and gas configured machine at the show.
ERA is the AW189 launch customer (video).
Marenco SKYe SH09
Hélicoptères Guimbal Cabri G2
The two seat Guimbal Cabri G2 continue to make headway in the GA sector.
Gear manufacturer ZF exhibited elements of the Cabri G2.
The aircraft on display was the Korean SAR organisation’s second S-92A.
Tragically after the show, in which the centenary of the US Coast Guard was marked by both Sikorsky and Airbus, an Irish Coast Guard S-92A was lost during a SAR mission.
At the show Heli-One, part of CHC, announced the availability of an external vision system for the S-92A.
The baseline installation has cameras that focus on the engine and cargo ramp operations. The engine view provides live monitoring for smoke or abnormal operation, while the cargo door view offers pilots visual vantage points to aid ground operations. The enhanced solution adds two additional cameras attached to the hoist and cargo hook that can provide video during lifting operations. The cameras function effectively even in low light conditions. A video recorder with audio is also part of the enhanced package. The camera feeds can be shown on any of the five multifunction display units on the cockpit and pilots can easily toggle between views.
These systems would potentially address the external detection requirement in Control 4.2 of the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) Basic Aviation Risk Standard for Offshore Helicopter Operations (BRASOHO).
The contractible BARSOHO Safety Performance Requirements (SPR) are fully aligned with the HeliOffshore Safety Performance Model (SPM), and are now available on the FSF website to download for free, along with the BARSOHO Implementation Guidelines (BIG).
HeliOffshore explained more about their activities here:
Sikorsky UH-60A Black Hawks
For a type whose prototype first flew on 17 October 1974, the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk is no stranger to Heli-Expo. Last year there were three civil UH-60s were on show. This year, well quiet frankly we lost count!
Due to a quirk in FAR21.25, Sikorsky is not the Type Certificate Holder for any of them. That’s because this regulation covers the “Issue of type certificate: Restricted category aircraft” for “special purposes”, allowing the use of ex-military aircraft for use in tasks such as fire-fighting, forestry, construction etc.
See an interview here.
But if a Chinook is too big for you, a Bell 212 was up for sale with a fire fighting key.
Executive Cabin Fits
Next year the show returns to Las Vegas (27 February – 1 March 2018 – a few days later than originally billed). Heli-Expo 2018 will really be the test of helicopter market optimism. UPDATE 2 March 2018: Heli-Expo 2018 Photo Report