Amid predictions of continued strong civil sales, helicopter manufacturers boosted their orderbooks substantially at the Heli-Expo show in Dallas, Texas. Bell Helicopter took 100 orders during the show, on top of 40 booked at the previous week’s Asian Aerospace. The combined orders included 55 of the new Model 417 light turbine single and 46 Model 429 light twins.
AgustaWestland announced an order from Sloane Helicopters, its distributor for the UK and Ireland, for a minimum of 44 aircraft over four years, with the first 10 to be delivered this year. This followed a deal with Japanese distributor Mirsui Bussan Aerospace for 12 more AW139 medium twins to be delivered beginning in 2007.
Eurocopter announced a number of orders, big and small. US air medical operators Air Methods and CJ Systems signed deals for 12 and 10 more EC135 light twins, respectively. The US Department of Homeland Security ordered the first 10 of a planned 55 EC120 light singles, to be assembled in the USA with deliveries beginning in June.
Las Vegas-based tour operator Maverick Helicopters purchased nine more EC130B4s. The Lithuanian Border Guard bought two EC135s and one EC145, and the London Metropolitan Police Authority ordered three EC145 light twins. Indian operator GlobalVectra Helicop signed a deal for three more EC155 medium twins for offshore missions. Era Helicopters becomes the first US offshore customer for the EC225 medium-heavy twin, purchasing the first of two planned aircraft. Era is already taking delivery of 20 AW139s for operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Sikorsky, meanwhile, signed to supply four new S-76C++ medium twins to airline US Helicopter.
GRAHAM WARWICK / WASHINGTON DC
Source: Flight International