Multi-mission accomplished

With Heli-Expo on the horizon, the 26 February issue of Flight International homes in on the civil rotorcraft market. Our cover story is a flight test of the Sikorsky S-92, with veteran test pilot Peter Gray returning to the aircraft he first flew as a prototype in 2000 and assessing how he all-rounder has stood the test of time 13 years on.

Stephen Trimble finds out why Bell has not rung up pre-orders for the 525 Relentless super-medium twin, preferring to get the helicopter through to first flight and certification without making too much of a song and dance about its capabilities. Will its low-key approach pay off for the 8t, fly-by-wire design.

Dan Thisdell has been to Queretaro to discover why Eurocopter is the latest aerospace manufacturer to discover the benefits of moving production to this Mexican region. Meanwhile, David Learmount gets frustrated at the failure of the civil rotorcraft industry to follow the example of its fixed-wing counterparts and learn the lessons from past mistakes on safe operations. “Global helicopter safety performance appears to be sutbbornly resisting an extensive campaign to improve it,” he complains.

Finally Andy Healy looks at the improvements in helicopter-based aerial photography since the “wobbly” era of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and where the technology is taking us now.

In news, Airbus’s top salesman John Leahy on why Boeing may have taken the wrong path on electrics and how India is defending its reputation after the Finmeccanica scandal. Plus: Craig Hoyle reports from Seville on plans for the A400M’s introduction into service.

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