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That AW139 tailboom failure – emergency AD from EASA

Remember the mystery – rather a frightening mystery actually – of the AgustaWestland AW139 tailboom that suddenly collapsed during taxi last week? Well it’s still a mystery and EASA has put out an emergency airworthiness directive based on an earlier AgustaWestland service bulletin. It requires “detailed” inspections of the “tail panels” within 25 flight hours […]

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The strange case of the AW139 tailboom that came off

That’s “came off” in the sense that nobody quite knows how. Allhappened a few days ago to a Gulf Helicopters machine at Doha, Qatar.Most importantly the tailboom departed during the taxi for take-off,which is obviously very odd but infinitely better than it happeninghalf an hour later. The AW139 tailboom has history which may or may […]

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Russia targets light helicopter market with Turbomeca-engined Mi-34

Getting Russia back into the global airliner market is obviously going to be hard going, but after visiting the country I think the Russians’ prospects in helicopters are much better – and here’s their next move. There was a hint of this while I was at Kazan when deputy director Igor Bugakov said there might […]

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Somewhere in England (and somewhere else in Greece)

OK it’s holiday blog post time. This summer’s edition comes to you from Dorset in England and the Peloponnesian coast of Greece.Little to report from the Peloponnese I’m afraid, beyond a constant stream of what I think were these guys below from the nearby base at Araxos. I’d forgotten the Hellenic Air Force still has […]

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Kazan Helicopters where they make the Mil Mi-17 and Mi-8

And I’m actually there. I was the kind of 14 year-old who devoured aviation books and knew every Russian helicopter in existence (or known to NATO anyway.) That was deep in Cold War days and if anyone had told me I’d one day be in the heart of Russia at the factory making Mi-8s I’d […]

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From Russia with considerable affection

Truly a day of planes, trains and automobiles. Up at 05:00 in London, and in a minicab to Heathrow T5 at 06:00. For T5 the cab drivers like to take the motorway route all the way round the M25 to the west side of Heathrow instead of going through the suburbs as they’ve done forever […]

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Super Puma investigation reveals major survivor location snags

Happily the February loss of a Bond Helicopters EC225 Super Puma in the North Sea was non-fatal, and now it turns out that luckily it was in benign conditions for the survivors. That’s because of three serious and unsuspected phenomena that led to the search operation being much more difficult than you’d imagine in the […]

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How France supports its helicopter industry, part 2

So, on to Hyeres and the navy. We’re promised two CN235 flights during the tour and one C-130H. I’m absolutely gutted that what is probably my last chance to fly in a C-160 Transall is not going to happen. There’s even one on the tarmac at Hyeres when we arrive to taunt me. But meanwhile […]

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How France supports its helicopter industry, with pictures

Tomorrow morning I’m off to the Paris Airshow where I may or may not have a good time. But I doubt I’ll have as good as a time as I just did in France when I was on the end of the full fiery breath of France Inc’s marketing machine in all its glory. Like […]

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Video: Sikorsky S-92 suffers spectacular lightning strike

What this apparently shows, apologies for the quality – security cam I guess – is a CHC Sikorsky S-92 being hit by lightning while sitting on the ramp in Malaysia. Presumably at its base in Miri, Sarawak. The story goes that the discharge into the concrete below the aircraft blew holes in it showering debris […]

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