ALMOST 400 MILITARY surplus helicopters, were supplied to US operators, by the US Department of Defense (DoD) in 1995, contributing to a decline in new turbine-helicopter sales, says the Helicopter Association International (HAI). Despite calls for a moratorium, further disposals are scheduled for 1996 under a DoD programme to hand over 3,000 helicopters by the year 2000, says HAI president Frank Jensen.

All is not bad news, he says. A team formed by the DoD and US Department of Transportation has ruled that "dual-use" military-surplus parts cannot be released to civil operators without documentation proving their traceability. Jensen believes that this will take most surplus parts off the commercial market.

Additionally, he says, the DoD has ruled that public-sector operators and museums supplied with surplus helicopters, cannot resell the aircraft if they are excess to requirements. Instead, they must be returned to the DoD. "It's a great rule," Jensen says.

In another positive move, he says, the DoD has begun a study to determine the economic impact of its helicopter-disposal plans on the commercial industry.

Source: Flight International