Bristow signs up for S-92s

Offshore operator Bristow Group has signed a multi-year agreement with Sikorsky for 15 S-92 medium helicopters. The agreement covers two firm aircraft plus 13 options, with five helicopters to be delivered in 2007 and eight in 2008. The aircraft will be used for offshore transportation internationally. Formerly Offshore Logistics, Bristow placed firm orders for 35 Sikorsky S-76C++ helicopters, plus options on 24 more, for delivery from 2006 to 2012 under a multi-year agreement signed last year.

JSF partners agree final draft MoU

The eight international partners in the US-led Joint Strike Fighter programme have stated their intent to buy 710 Lockheed Martin F-35s in agreeing the final draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the production, sustainment and follow-on development phase. The partners will seek national political approval to sign the MoU in December. The final draft, agreed last week in the USA, includes statements of intent from the UK to buy 138 F-35s, from Italy for 131, Australia and Turkey for 100 each, the Netherlands for 85, Canada for 60, and Denmark and Norway for 48 each. The US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps plan to procure 2,443 F-35s.

Former US air force base becomes spaceport

The US Federal Aviation Administration’s office of commercial space transportation has issued a five-year suborbital operations licence to the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority to operate a commercial launch site. Its Oklahoma spaceport will operate from the Clinton-Sherman Industrial Airpark, a former air force station, near Burns Flats, Oklahoma. It is the second licensed inland spaceport and the sixth approved for non-federal commercial launches. The other five are two facilities in California and one in Florida, Virginia, and Kodiak Island, Alaska. Its operators will need a separate launch permit or licence from the FAA.

Falcon air drops heaviest ‘rocket’ yet

A 29,500kg (65,000lb) drop test article, designed to represent AirLaunch’s QuickReach rocket, was dropped out of a Boeing C-17A on 14 June above Edwards Air Force Base, California. The drop test was performed at 29,500ft, at an airspeed of 330kt (610km/h), for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and US Air Force’s Falcon Small Launch Vehicle programme, which aims to launch 454kg payloads to low Earth orbit for less than $5 million within 24 hours notice.

Xiamen first airline to cancel 787

Chinese carrier Xiamen Airlines has become the first operator to cancel a firm 787 order. The airline has converted three 787s on order to six 737-800s, say industry sources. The carrier was not immediately available for comment.

AUVSI at Farnborough

Flight International 13-19 June ‘What’s different: how Farnborough is changing’ implied that a variety of unmanned air vehicle types being displayed at the show would be featured as part of the Association for Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems International’s exhibit. The individual UAVs cited will in fact be displayed on the respective companies’ own stands.

Aviation Week’s Dornheim killed in car crash

Mike Dornheim, senior engineering editor of Aviation Week & Space Technology, was killed on 3 June when the car he was driving plunged into a ravine in California’s Santa Monica mountains. Dornheim, 51, was a senior aerodynamics engineer at Boeing before joining Aviation Week in 1984. Based in the magazine’s Los Angeles bureau, he was widely respected for the way he combined his engineer’s education and industry knowledge with a reporter’s inquisitiveness and perseverance.

Source: Flight International