CHC Helicopter in C$3.7bn private equity buyout

Rotorcraft Private equity firm First Reserve is to buy CHC Helicopter, the world's largest helicopter operator supporting the oil and gas industry in more than 30 countries from regional headquarters in Aberdeen, Scotland Stavanger, Norway and Vancouver, for C$3.7 billion ($3.66 billion cash). CHC chief executive Sylvain Allard says: "First Reserve is an investment company with deep knowledge of the energy industry and views CHC as a great investment platform."

'no Survivors' in Venezuela ATR crash

accident No survivors are expected after the crash of a Santa Barbara Airlines ATR 42-300, the wreckage of which has been located after the aircraft vanished while operating between Merida and Caracas, Venezuela. Search-and-rescue personnel on board helicopters located the wreck at Los Conejos, 11km (6nm) north-west of Merida's Alberto Carnevalli Airport. "By the nature of the impact, it is presumed there are no survivors," says Venezuelan Instituto Nacional de Aeronautica Civil president Ramon Vinas. Caracas lies on a flightpath north-east of Merida, and the wreckage is located several kilometres from this path. There were 43 passengers and three crew members on board the aircraft, registered YV-1449. It departed for Caracas at about 17:00 on 21 February, operating as flight 518.

Moon landing competition draws ten entrants

Ten teams have registered for the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize to land a privately funded robotic rover on the Moon. They are: the Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association Astrobotic, including Carnegie Mellon University and Raytheon Chandah, founded by energy industry entrepreneur Adil Jafry Frednet, a multinational team headed by Fred Bourgeois LunaTrex, a US team led by Pete Bitar Micro-Space, a Colorado space company Odyssey Moon, a commercial enterprise headquartered in the Isle of Man, UK Quantum3, a US-based team led by aerospace executive Paul Carliner the Southern California Selene Group and Team Italia, a collaboration between several Italian universities.

Seventy European airports seen as strong ADS-B candidates

navigation Eurocontrol will examine up to 70 airports for possible implementation of automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B). Spain's Malaga and Gerona airports are the only two publicly identified by Eurocontrol, but there are proposed sites in Germany, France, Austria, the UK, Scandinavia, Italy, Greece, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and Turkey. Eurocontrol says most of the candidates are airports that lack surveillance-based air traffic control and where installation of radar would be either difficult or prohibitively expensive. ADS-B would allow controllers to handle air traffic more efficiently.

Refuelling tests support Lockheed Martin-AgustaWestland USAF CSAR-x option

rotorcraft Lockheed Martin and AgustaWestland have conducted aerial refuelling tests with a UK Royal Air Force Merlin helicopter and Italian air force KC-130J tanker in support of their HH-71 offering for the US Air Force's CSAR-X combat search-and-rescue requirement. The sorties were flown at 4,000ft (1,220m), with both aircraft travelling at 127kt (235km/h), up to the Merlin's maximum weight of 15,600kg (34,400lb), with both the BERP III rotor and the BERP IV planned for the HH-71.

UK to recognise Air Transport Auxiliary survivors

WArtime service The UK will create a badge of recognition for the surviving pilots and other men and women who served in the Air Transport Auxiliary during World War II, including the female pilots known as the "Spitfire Women", who delivered more than 300,000 aircraft between factories and front-line airfields. Pioneering female civil aviator Amy Johnson was among 173 pilots and eight flight engineers who lost their lives. By 1945 the group had 650 pilots from 22 countries around the world, including from as far afield as Chile, South Africa and the USA.

Source: Flight International