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HAI HeliExpo 2015 Orlando, Florida

Day One at HeliExpo had some revelations, including the fact that Airbus is renaming all its Helicopters to keep it in line with their increasing corporate image. Thus the EC130 becomes the H130 and the EC145 becomes the H145. However, the EC120 becomes the H125: French logic?

There was also the unveiling of the X4, now the H160… Yup, French logic!

AgustaWestland has brought the AW609 to Orlando and the big news there is that production will be starting in Philadelphia and that Bristow Helicopters will be involved in an exclusive platform development for the tiltrotor including its development for oil and gas rig use.

Bristow’s new SAR contract is also starting in the UK on 1st April 2015, on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

On the smaller side the Cabri has now sold 100 units, 14 in the UK and 14 in New Zealand, with many countries having a few and Germany being the new largest customer with eight.

There are also some new helicopters developed by Composite Helicopters International. This is a company based in New Zealand, which used to specialise in HeliPods, and then decided to create a kit helicopter. Flying on an experimental basis they have now flown 260 hours, and have decided to become a manufacturer instead of a kit helicopter maker. In this they have support from the New Zealand government and are looking to get both NZ CAA certification and FAA certification, hopefully later this year. They will then make a production helicopter with a choice of engines from the RR300 to the Honeywell 101, for the larger model.

For all this and more see Helicopter Life magazine Spring issue, out in April 2015.

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