Jan 012017
 

Helicopters have always be designed and built for a mission. Bell Helicopters made it their motto (“One Bell. On a Mission”). The reason is obvious: their cost to buy and maintain have always limited purchases for recreational use. However, new designs such as the Ehang 184 or the Volocopter start changing the market into a more affordable pricing.

The most important change, though, might be one of the least noticed these days: Airbus Helicopters is being rebranded and will be called Airbus, just Airbus. Airbus Helicopters, formerly Eurocopter, is famous and acknowledged as the first civilian helicopter manufacturer in the world, designing and manufacturing reliable aircraft. Why, then, take the risk of losing the benefit of the history?

With the gigantic new market of autonomous drones, the technologies are becoming mature for new aircraft.

Airbus is taking the path of new airborne vehicles with rotary wings, and helicopters as we know them will only be a small part of it. It is all a matter of definition: while a helicopter has one main rotor and a tail rotor, or several main rotors, the use of push propellers or tilt rotors draws the designs closer to the limits of the definition. Furthermore, the use of fixed pitch propellers, in order to produce lift instead of propulsive thrust, confuses the difference between airplanes and helicopters.

Super Frelon rotor head

Super Frelon rotor head, variable pitch

DJI Phantom 2

DJI Phantom 2, fixed pitch rotors. Is it an airplane without wings and flying upward?

The diversity of missions that can be fulfilled by aircraft is overwhelming. Many companies around the entire world come with new ideas and answer problems that are not even existing yet: E-Volo, Zee.Aero, Joby Aviation, Ehang, Airbus Vahana, City Airbus…

All these new design will make the word “helicopter” obsolete. While the current “Sikorsky” configuration (main rotor and a tail rotor) will still be the best design for many missions, alternative solutions will emerge. Separable fuselage to load the cargo, modular engine pods, optionally piloted vehicles, variable number of engines, all these designs will only be limited by the imagination of engineers, for a safer, cleaner, and efficient future.

Urban mobility seen by Airbus (C) Airbus

Urban mobility seen by Airbus (C) Airbus

Apr 072016
 
VC200 Volocopter first manned flight

E-Volo performed their first flight in Bruchsal, Germany, 30th March 2016 with a pilot on board of their prototype of the Volocopter VC200 (callsign D-MYVC, also named “White Lady”).

The multirotor helicopter maintained a height of 20 to 25 meters above ground.

VC200 Volocopter first manned flight, from the ground

VC200 Volocopter first manned flight, from the ground

 

VC200 Volocopter first manned flight, cockpit view

VC200 Volocopter first manned flight, cockpit view

 

VC200 Volocopter first manned flight

VC200 Volocopter first manned flight

Sep 092015
 
AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (1)

Harbin Aircraft Z-19 E, export version by AVIC

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (2)

The aircraft is displayed with a wide range of armament: KD-9 air-to-ground missiles, 57 mm rockets, TY-90 air-to-air missiles, and a 23 mm machine gun pod. 90 mm rockets are displayed on the side. However, considering the heavy rocket launcher, it may not be possible for the Z-19E to fly with both the 90 mm rockets and the anti-tank missile launcher.

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (3)

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (4)

The rotor head is highly inspired from the Eurocopter Star Flex design, as seen for example on the Ecureuil and Dauphin.

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (5)

The rocket launcher is equipped with a protection to deviate the blast from the rocket motors.

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (6)

The picture below displays the fenestron as inherited from the Dauphin of the former french company Aérospatiale, now Airbus Helicopters. This design doesn’t feature the stator seen on the EC135. Furthermore, the angle between the blades remains constant, unlike the method commonly in use to reduce the perceived noise level.

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (7)

Left-hand side of the fenestron inherited from the Dauphin

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (8)

Right-hand side of the fenestron inherited from the Dauphin. NATO 0.156 is the reference of a lubricant oil

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (9)

The twin air-to-air missile would be TY-90, and the machine gun pod a 23 mm calibre.

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (10)

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (11)

The missile are believed to be KD-9 laser guided anti tank missiles, in the same class as the Hellfire.

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (12)

The Z-19E is equipped with the same weapon fixture as ATE installed on the Mi-24 Mk 3 Super Hind (seen here with Denel Ingwe missiles), and already installed on the WZ-10.

ATE Super Hind Mk 3 weapon fixture

ATE Super Hind Mk 3 weapon fixture

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (13)

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (14)

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (15)

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (16)

 

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (17)

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (18)

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (19)

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (20)

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (21)

Infrared formation position light

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (22)

Strobe light

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (23)

The IFF antenna displayed below is similar to that of the Z-20 (look-alike of the american Black Hawk) as explained on chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.com.

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (24)

IFF antenna

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (25)

Electro Optical Sight

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (26)

AVIC_Harbin_Aircraft_Z-19E_export (27)

Source: mil.huanqiu.com via defence-blog.com and en.people.cn

Jun 192015
 

Airbus Helicopters, Bell Helicopters, Turkish Aerospace, Russian Helicopters… The 2015 edition of the Paris Air Show was far from being dedicated to the sole helicopters, but several manufacturers were there on the display.

Paris Air Show: mostly planes

Don’t get the wrong idea, Paris Air Show is mostly for planes

The French Army is proud of the NH90 TTH, used in operation in Africa and middle east.

NH90 TTH, French Army (ALAT)

NH90 TTH, French Army (ALAT)

NH90 TTH, French Army (ALAT)

NH90 TTH, French Army (ALAT)

Bell displayed their 429 WLG and 407 GX. Many thanks to Gabriel and his explanations about the piloting interface!

Bell 429 WLG

Bell 429 WLG

Bell 429 WLG

Bell 429 WLG

Bell 429 WLG (wheeled Landing Gear)

Bell 429 WLG (wheeled Landing Gear)

Bell 429 WLG

Bell 429 WLG

Bell 429 WLG, cockpit

Bell 429 WLG, cockpit

Bell 429 WLG, cockpit

Bell 429 WLG, cockpit

Bell 429 WLG (wheeled Landing Gear)

Bell 429 WLG (wheeled Landing Gear)

Bell 429 WLG, luggage compartment

Bell 429 WLG, luggage compartment

Bell 429 WLG, tail rotor

Bell 429 WLG, tail rotor

Bell 407 GX

Bell 407 GX

Bell 407 GX, VIP cabin

Bell 407 GX, VIP cabin

Bell 407 GX, cockpit and instruments panel

Bell 407 GX, cockpit and instruments panel

Bell 407 GX, upper panel

Bell 407 GX, upper panel

Bell 407 GX, cyclic

Bell 407 GX, cyclic

Bell 407 GX, collective

Bell 407 GX, collective

The US forces displayed a strong presence.

CH-47 F Chinook

CH-47 F Chinook

CH-47 F Chinook

CH-47 F Chinook

CH-47 F Chinook

CH-47 F Chinook

CH-47 F Chinook

CH-47 F Chinook

UH-72A Lakota

UH-72A Lakota

UH-72A Lakota

UH-72A Lakota

UH-72A Lakota

UH-72A Lakota

AH-64 D Apache, US Army

AH-64 D Apache, US Army

Airbus Group had a huge display, but no access. You could only watch from afar.

H145M mock-up

H145M mock-up

H135 from the French Gendarmerie

H135 from the French Gendarmerie

H160, mock-up

H160, mock-up

The X3 is for loan at the Air and Space Museum in Le Bourget.

Eurocopter X3

Eurocopter X3

Eurocopter X3

Eurocopter X3

Eurocopter X3

Eurocopter X3

Russian Helicopters could not bring any real helicopter.

Mil Mi-171 A2 mock-up

Mil Mi-171 A2 mock-up

Mi-28 NE mock-up

Mi-28 NE mock-up

Ka-32 A11BC mock-up

Ka-32 A11BC mock-up

Mi-26 T2 mock-up

Mi-26 T2 mock-up

Mi-26 T2 mock-up

Mi-26 T2 mock-up

Mi-26 T2 mock-up with a CAT bagger

Mi-26 T2 mock-up with a CAT bagger

Mi-26 T2 mock-up

Mi-26 T2 mock-up

Mi-35 M mock-up

Mi-35 M mock-up

 

Bo105... does it fly?

Bo105… does it fly?

Bo105... apparently not fit for flight

Bo105… apparently not fit for flight

The Turkish industry presents the Atak helicopter.

T-129 Atak, Turkish Aerospace

T-129 Atak, Turkish Aerospace

T-129 Atak, Turkish Aerospace

T-129 Atak, Turkish Aerospace

The French Navy with the Caiman, NH90 NFH.

NH90 NFH Caiman, French Marine

NH90 NFH Caiman, French Marine

NH90 NFH Caiman, French Marine

NH90 NFH Caiman, French Marine

NH90 NFH, French Navy

NH90 NFH, French Navy

MU90 torpedo for NH90 NFH, France

MU90 torpedo for NH90 NFH, France

HAD Tiger, French Army

HAD Tiger, French Army

HAD Tiger, French Army

HAD Tiger, French Army

Parrot displayed the eXom, used for close observation and inspection of buildings.

eXom drone with TV and IR cameras

eXom drone with TV and IR cameras

eXom drone with TV and IR cameras

eXom drone with TV and IR cameras

Ground control station for eXom drone with TV and IR cameras

Ground control station for eXom drone with TV and IR cameras

Parrot made their BeBop dance together 🙂

Parrot BeBop

Parrot BeBop

Parrot BeBop

Parrot BeBop

Dec 222014
 
EC145 T2 ADAC rescue helicopters in flight, in the cabin

November 2014 –

After delivery in September this year, the German rescue company ADAC proceeded with their first rescue winch operations training on the EC145 T2. The training took place in the Alps, southern Bavaria. Several teams enjoyed the large cabin suitable for 10 crew members with their full rescue gear. The aircraft is equipped with a folding rescue winch over the cabin side door.

All ADAC helicopters come with a yellow livery and the callsign “Christoph”. They are famous throughout all Germany, and air traffic controllers do their best to provide them with the fastest and safest flight routes.

EC145 T2 is a major evolution from the EC145. The EC145 belongs to the BK117 family. The other technical designation is BK117 D2.

Enhancements incorporated in the T2 version of the 4-metric-ton category EC145 include new dual-FADEC Arriel 2E engines and the company’s signature Fenestron® shrouded tail rotor, along with upgraded main and new tail rotor gear boxes, and an advanced cockpit that uses Airbus Helicopter’s innovative Helionix® digital avionics suite with 4-axis autopilot.

The first EC145 T2 was delivered to another German rescue company, DRF Luftrettung, in July 2014.

More photos are available on airbushelicopters.com

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew on the hill

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew on the hill

EC145 T2 rescue winch, seen from the hook

EC145 T2 rescue winch, seen from the hook

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew members (D-HYAC)

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew members (D-HYAC)

EC145 T2 ADAC rescue helicopters in flight, in the cabin

EC145 T2 ADAC rescue helicopters in flight, in the cabin

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew on the hill

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew on the hill

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew on the hill

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew on the hill

EC145 T2 delivery to ADAC (Germany)

EC145 T2 delivery to ADAC (Germany)

May 032014
 

Italy is definitely a welcoming environment for helicopters: beside AgustaWestland, many small companies emerged lately: Alpi Aviation, Italian Rotors Industries, Konner, Fama…
Today, we discover SKT Helicopters, located in Switzerland, close to the Italian border in Milano.

Small flights

SKT Skyrider 06 in workshop

SKT Skyrider 06 in workshop

welcome at SKT Helicopters, Switzerland

welcome!

SKT Skyrider 06 cockpit

SKT Skyrider 06 cockpit

SKT Skyrider 06 hovering

SKT Skyrider 06 hovering

SKT Skyrider 06

SKT Skyrider 06

Thanks to Mr Dinelli (SKT Helicopters) for the photos

For fun: on a truck

Little bit higher

First steps

Production facility

SKT Helicopters, Skyrider 06

SKT Helicopters, Skyrider 06

May 012014
 
MD530G

MD530G is based on the MD530F platform with few modifications in order to convert it into a gunship.

High capacity landing gear allowing an additional 400 lbs of the 3750 lbs maximun take off gross weight

Integration of the ER2W (Extended Range Weapons Wing) with 4 weapon stations for:

The cocpkit is equipped with the Garmin 500H and a multi function display

Behind the seats is installed the MOOG store management system for both inner and outer weapon stations, composed of 3 separate components, providing the weapons situation and the situational awareness to the crew:

    • store management computer
    • rocket interface unit
    • stores interface unit

The L3 Wescam MX10 provides EO (Electro Optics) and IR (Infra Red) sensors to the multi function display in the cockpit, and the laser guidance for the guided rockets.

 

MD530G

MD530G

Apr 252014
 
EC145 T2 cockpit

Airbus Helicopters certified its EC145 T2 recently. The new aircraft is based on the famous EC145 aka BK117 C2.

Both designations EC145 T2 and BK117 D2 refer to the same aircraft.

Enhancements incorporated in the T2 version of the 4-metric-ton category EC145 include new Arriel 2E engines and the company’s signature Fenestron® shrouded tail rotor, along with upgraded main and new tail rotor gear boxes, and an advanced cockpit that uses Airbus Helicopter’s innovative Helionix digital avionics suite with 4-axis autopilot.

EC145 T2 cockpit

EC145 T2 cockpit with Helionix avionics system

EC145 T2 D-HADW during demo tour in Asia

EC145 T2 D-HADW during demo tour in Asia

More photos available at airbushelicopters.com

 

Apr 142014
 

Every year and a few steps away from the lake of Constance, southern Germany, the airport of Friedrichshafen hosts the AERO trade fair, gathering many manufacturers from the light general aviation.

Ultra Lights and gliders, small and light aircraft, gyrocopters and helicopters, navigation systems and digital maps, everybody had something to keep himself busy.

Of course, I headed for the helicopters. The exhibition is mostly European. Robinson was not present, as well as bigger manufacturers like AgustaWestland or Airbus Helicopters.

e-volo

e-volo is a young German company aiming for an electric “multicopter”. The Volocopter is a dream to every young engineer: the elegant concept featuring 18 electric motors (55 to 90 kW) proved its feasibility with an indoor unmanned flight last year (November 2013), and outdoor “real” flights are expected with excitement.

The aircraft will be certified as Ultra Light with a gross weight of 450 kg and 2 persons side by side.

Cruise speed would be at least 100 km/h, longer than 1 hour and higher than 6500 ft.

e-volo VC200

e-volo VC200

e-volo VC200

e-volo VC200

GUIMBAL

The two-seater is worldwide famous, but not yet big enough to seriously compete against the almighty Robinson. The Cabri is now fitted with a cargo hoist up to 220 kg and models produced after S/N 008 can be easily retrofitted.

GUIMBAL Cabri with 220kg hoist

GUIMBAL Cabri with 220kg hoist

GUIMBAL Cabri cockpit

GUIMBAL Cabri cockpit

SAGITA Helicopters

SAGITA Helicopters is a Belgian company created in 2008, working on a new helicopter design based on a Ljungström turbine. The bulky hull covers a centrifugal turbine, that powers both of the rotor plates. The 2 pairs of blades are contra-rotating coaxial rotors. According to the brochure, the transmission system requires no lubrication or cooling!
The air intake is located at the rear of the fuselage and the exhaust is a thin gap between the hemispheres of the rotor head.

Despite succesful flight tests of a 1/5 scale model and wind tunnel experiments, the full scale prototype is expected to make its maiden flight only next year.

SAGITA helicopter mock up

SAGITA helicopter mock up 

SAGITA helicopter mock up from behind

SAGITA helicopter mock up from behind

Ljungström turbine from Wikipedia

Ljungström turbine from Wikipedia

DYNALI Helicopter Company

DYNALI is another Belgian helicopter manufacturer. The first model, the H2, was under powered and got replaced by the H2S, powered by a Subaru engine. The H3 was on display.

The H3 is available as a kit for 100 000 EUR or ready to fly for 110 000 EUR. The H2S is more performing and comes with a slightly higher price of 125 000 EUR ready for flight.

With a gross weight of 450 kg,  the H3 qualifies as a Class 6 ULM in France.

DYNALI H3 with an open canopy

DYNALI H3 with an open canopy

ITALIAN ROTORS Industries

Unfortunately, the staff was not available to talk about the aircraft. Nevertheless, the brochure is very detailed and plenty of information.

The two-seater is powered either with a Thunderbird 130 shp or with a Lycoming O-320 B2C (four cylinders and 160 shp) and qualifies as a French ULM with a gross weight of 450 kg.

IRI T-Line

IRI T-Line

IRI T-Line from behind

IRI T-Line from behind

IRI T-Line, cockpit interior

IRI T-Line, cockpit interior

IRI T-Line dashboard

IRI T-Line dashboard

ALPI AVIATION

Yet another Italian helicopter manufacturer! Unfortunately, they were already packing and there was nobody to discuss with.

Syton AH130

Syton AH130

Syton AH130 dashboard

Syton AH130 dashboard

Syton AH130, detail of the tail rotor

Syton AH130, detail of the tail rotor

KONNER Helicopters

Konner is an Italian helicopter manufacturer producing its own Diesel turbo engines. The TK250 produces 250 shp at 2300 rpm.

The warm welcome with big slices of prosciutto was noteworthy.

The aircraft seems to come in any colour you could imagine, inside as well as outside. It can be powered with aviation fuel (kerozene, JP-4…) as well as diesel. Example was taken from a customer in Micronesia using the helicopter as help for fishing. The aircraft is provided with the same fuel as the ship: diesel.

KONNER K1

KONNER K1

KONNER K1 cockpit

KONNER K1 cockpit

Konner K1, detail of the joystick

Konner K1, detail of the joystick

KONNER K1, detail of the tail rotor

KONNER K1, detail of the tail rotor

KONNER K1

KONNER K1

HELIPARK GmbH

This German company started the development of the HPC450, a small helicopter. The model has never flown yet, but the display looked promising and we could expect a maiden flight soon.

HELIPARK HPC450

HELIPARK HPC450

HELIPARK HPC450 engine

HELIPARK HPC450 engine

HELIPARK HPC450, detail of the tail rotor

HELIPARK HPC450, detail of the tail rotor

HELIPARK HPC450, detail of the flight controls

HELIPARK HPC450, detail of the flight controls

HELIPARK HPC450 from behind

HELIPARK HPC450 from behind

 

AIRBORNE Technologies

Beside the manufacturers, another company displayed its airborne sensors. The Bo105 fuselage might have been there for demonstration purpose only; I wouldn’t know where the pilot would seat otherwise 🙂

Airborne Technologies Bo105 Mockup

Airborne Technologies Bo105 Mockup

Airborne Technologies Bo105 Mockup, operator console

Airborne Technologies Bo105 Mockup, operator console

Jan 102014
 
helicopterlinks

Do you know helicopterlinks.com?

Helicopter Links’ homepage lists helicopter manufacturers worldwide, whose facilities are currently in-production, available for production, and includes several start-up and research companies.

Other information available on Helicopter Links include a section of helicopter trade shows, helicopter magazines, helicopter associations and organizations, helicopter museums, suppliers and services around the world. Continue reading »