At the helicopter industry's premier event, manufacturers and vendors parade their newest and best. Here's a sampling of what's on the convention center floor.
As the premier gathering of the helicopter industry, Heli-Expo is a showcase for companies offering their products and services to rotorcraft owners, operators, pilots and aficionados.
The event is so big that some companies can get lost in the crowd. To prevent that, Rotor & Wing's correspondent James Careless has compiled this sampling of who is on the floor this year in Dallas and what they have to offer.
New Full-Cockpit Simulator
ELITE Simulation Solutions (Booth 4106) plans to exhibit its S623 Evolution full-cockpit helicopter simulator. The S623 is modeled after the Eurocopter AS350 single-engine turbine helicopter and is designed for IFR and VFR training. It has dual controls for crew resource management training and features horizontal situation indicator/radio magnetic indicator, flight director and radar altimeter functions.
ELITE (short for ELectronic IFR Training Environment) has been making IFR simulation training devices for 15 years, but the S623 is its first helicopter model, according to John Dixon, the company's president and CEO. "Appropriately, HAI was chosen as a launching point for this new and extremely capable training device," he said. "We are proud to expand our corporate strategy of low-cost and high-tech training solutions to the rotary-wing training market." ELITE (www.flyelite.com) is a global provider of IFR training software, flight controls and flight training devices.
Showcasing FliteLine, Flexcomm
Wulfsberg Electronics plans to showcase its FliteLine and Flexcomm product lines in the Chelton Exhibit (Booth 2821). The new FliteLine products on display are to include VHF Com, NAV, and DME units designed to meet the latest standards for domestic and international installations for both rotary- and fixed-wing applications. Wulfsberg (www.wulfsberg.com) also plans to feature its small but powerful FliteLine color control heads. For tactical communications, the company plans to spotlight its new master/slave configuration of the C-5000 control. A new search-and-rescue model of the RT-5000 being developed for the U.S. Coast Guard is also to be on display. This unit includes a multi-channel SAR receiver Wulfsberg says is capable of simultaneously monitoring 121.5, 243.0, Channel 16 Marine, and Channel 70 Digital Selective Calling (DSC) distress messages. In addition to supplying Flexcomm multi-band, airborne FM/AM radio communications systems, Wulfsberg designs and manufactures an extensive line of nav/com products.
New S-92 VVIP Interior
Heritage Aviation, Ltd. (Booth 4009) will be displaying a new VVIP interior for the Sikorsky S-92.
This aircraft will be displayed in the Sikorsky Aircraft exhibit (Booths 2149 and 2537) and will feature a VIP seating configuration, forward lavatory, forward galley, electrically-controlled inner windows for privacy and an extensive cabin control system.
Also included will be numerous avionics upgrades and airframe convenience modifications.
A New Union
CavAir (Booth 1263) will be promoting its 2005 merger with Helicopter Aviation Services at this year's show. The new CavAir (www.cavair.com) is pledging to provide "the best in parts, service, maintenance, completion and sales of new and previously owned helicopters." On the show floor, delegates can check out the merged companies' stock of recently acquired aircraft.
The merged companies have three locations in the United States. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla. facility provides helicopter service, parts, maintenance, training and completions. The Mt. Pleasant, Pa. location offers helicopter service, maintenance, completions and a state-of-the-art paint shop. CavAir's Fort Worth, Texas office delivers sales and brokering services for both new and old rotorcraft.
Avalex Technologies (Booth 1534) aims to be "leading the way in the special-mission avionics market" with its ACS-FLIR pointing system, said President Tad Ihns. He said the system gives operators what is essentially a forward-looking infrared (flir) autopilot that lets them point at any spot on the ground and lock the sensor to that point using a "geohold" function. According to Avalex, the system also lets operators use any moving map system to point the sensor to any address or location using a "geopoint" function. This system is available for a range of sensor systems, including the FLIR Systems Star2, Star3, U7500 and U8500, the Tamam POP200 and Wescam's 12DS.
Avalex also plans to demonstrate its AVP-series portrait displays. These "give sensor operators the ability to see full-time map and full-time video on the same display, because of their portrait orientation," Ihns said. Other items on display will be new features in Avalex's regular display line, including HD video, picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture.
Bolstering Service Capabilities
Precision Heliparts (Booth 2607) plans to announce agreements with H-S Tools and Parts, Inc., Canadian Heli-Structures Ltd., Canam Aerospace and Heliproducts. Precision Heliparts (www.heliparts.com) provides parts support for turbine helicopters such as AgustaWestland, Bell, Eurocopter, the MD369 series and OH-6, and Sikorsky. The company said the new contracts will help it continue to meet the needs of customers and provide superior service.
Inventory Supported Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul is a key element of PHP's service. This program combines traditional parts-house functions with repair station functions. This means that PHP not only stocks parts from Mid-Continent, RC Allen, and United, but also provides extensive FAA/EASA repair station capabilities as well.
New Pro Helo Cockpit
FLYIT Simulators plans to introduce its new, extended three-year warranty at HeliExpo. The reason for the extension? "A recent audit of all FLYIT warranty and service records has confirmed that claims have been so few that FLYIT is able to extend its two-year warranty to three years, the longest in the simulation industry," said FLYIT Simulators President Terry J. Simpkins. On the product side of the equation, FLYIT Simulators (www.flyit.com) plans to also introduce the 2006 FLYIT Professional Helicopter Simulator cockpit with numerous technical advances, including the Garmin 430, which will be demonstrated at the show, Simpkins said. So where is FLYIT's booth? At press time, its location was up in the air. However, all of the possible locations under consideration were in the static display area across from Bell Helicopters, Simpkins said. So look for Bell's expansive display--it takes up Booths 1- 4 and 13-16--then look across the aisle, and you'll find FLYIT Simulations.
Center Capital Corp. (Booth 1682) will be highlighting the financing solutions it offers helicopter owners and operators. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Webster Financial Corp. (which has more than $17 billion in assets), Center Capital (www.centercapitalcorp.com) claims the deep pockets needed to fund the most ambitious business plans.
"Our company is one of but a few finance companies specializing in helicopters," said Jim Pulie, director of business development for Center Capital's Helicopter Finance-General Aviation Div. "As such, we see Heli-Expo as the industry's premier event to make contact with existing and new clients".
Cake and Power Lines
Simplex Manufacturing (Booth 2313) will be celebrating the past, present, and what the company says is a very bright future. This year marks the company's 60th anniversary. Everyone is invited to visit its exhibit for anniversary cake daily between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Besides the celebration, Simplex plans to unveil its new line of helicopter airborne power-line mission equipment at spot No. 17 in the Static Display. Simplex will manufacture and sell the products, which include the Hydra live-line maintenance platform, Javelin high-pressure insulator washing system, and Mackpull--a dual-direction, side-mounted, wire-pulling cargo hook mount for power-line construction. This new equipment was designed and built in cooperation with Mack Innovations of Australia, which is to attend the show as part of the Simplex group.
New Bell 206 Sim
Frasca International (Booth 3901) plans to show its Bell 206 helicopter flight simulator, which features computer-generated instrumentation (CGI) technology and the Frasca TruVision visual system utilizing the new Olympus VisionPlex 2 technology. "The Olympus VisionPlex 2 is an automated calibration process of projector blending and color uniformity that is unmatched by any other visual display," said Bob Summers, Frasca's project manager.
Founded by Navy pilot and flight instructor Rudy Frasca in 1958, Frasca (www.frasca.com) builds simulators that have earned a reputation for long life and easy maintenance. It estimates that more than 90 percent of the 1,800-plus simulators built since its inception are still in operation.
Global Eagle's On The Floor
DynCorp International (Booth 1131) plans to highlight its Global Eagle upgrades for UH-1 helicopters. These consist of replacing the Honeywell T-53-L-13 engine with the more powerful, 1,675-shp. Pratt and Whitney PT6C-67D and installing a Tail Rotor Enhancement Kit. The combination provides UH-1 operators with greater power and directional control, especially at higher altitudes and operating temperatures.
The advantages of the upgrade include lower fuel consumption, an appeal in a time of high fuel costs. At Heli-Expo, customers will be able to see the installation on this classic machine.
New Contracts and LIFT
Aviall (Booth 3621) plans to headline new contracts signed just before the show and highlight its services. A key part of its exhibit will be the LIFT program, a family of services tailored to each helicopter customer's operation and designed to add value and cut costs. According to Aviall (www.aviall.com), LIFT provides users with access to more than 220 product lines, local stocking, central inventory, inventory management, electronic ordering via the aviall.com website or EDI (electronic data interface) and the support of local Aviall sales personnel. To support LIFT, Aviall recently expanded its general helicopter inventory, now valued at more than $70 million.
Latest Work On The Floor
Wysong Enterprises (Booth 3345) plans to showcase its range of services and capabilities. A full-service helicopter completion and refurbishment center, Wysong (www.wysongusa.com) will have examples of recently completed work, including corporate, medical, law enforcement, and high-definition electronic news-gathering helicopters.
The company's services include interior, paint, avionics, and airframe modifications all performed in a facility specifically designed for maintaining, restoring, and finishing helicopters.
Quick-Change ENG Setup For Bell 206s, 407s
Geneva Aviation (Booth 1125) will debut its "Quick-Change" ENG Cabinet System for the Bell 206 and Bell 407 series helicopters. Geneva Aviation's technologies allow the installation or removal of all aft cabin ENG controls and radios for high-definition and analog platforms possible in less than 10 min. They are based on a "no-tools" approach designed to allow the aircraft to be put into an executive or utility configuration in quick order. Additionally, Geneva Aviation (www.genevaaviation.com) will be announcing its newest business alliance with Dart Helicopter Services, Ltd.
"We feel that this new development in technology will really open up the dual-use applications that corporate, media, and law enforcement helicopters can share," said Chuck Sorrentino, operations manager with Geneva Aviation.
"Heli-Expo is the ideal time and place to highlight Geneva's pioneering technology and new developments as well as to announce our newest business alliance with Dart Helicopter Services," he said.
Hi-Def Magnum Multi-Sensor Camera
Cineflex, LLC (Booth 1022) will be talking about its new Magnum Multi-Sensor Camera, which it says promises to take high-definition surveillance capabilities to a new level. The company (www.cineflex.com), which claims to have pioneered high-definition in surveillance and electronic news-gathering, is debuting the "first-of-its-kind" multi-sensor system, which incorporates HD, infrared and wide-field-of-view cameras. The system is also equipped with additional ports for other sensor additions and upgrades. Cineflex will have the multi-sensor camera on-site for demonstrations as well as its line of cutting-edge gimbals.
"Cineflex has been blazing the trail in aerial surveillance and ENG and we continue this trend" with the Magnum multi-sensor system, said the company's founder, John Coyle. "Heli-Expo provides us a perfect platform on which to demonstrate to a new audience why Cineflex products are already being used in the United States' top media markets, and by its most cutting-edge law enforcement agencies."
FIDELITY FLIGHT SIMULATION
The EC135 FTD
Fidelity Flight Simulation (Booth 3207) has received FAA flight training device approval for its Eurocopter EC135 simulation device, which the company said is the first full-motion FTD approval granted by the FAA and the first-ever FAA approval for a civil Eurocopter aircraft simulation device.
Fidelity (www.flightmotion.com) built the EC135 simulator for STAT MedEvac of West Mifflin, Pa., which is using it to train 70 pilots at more than 16 locations in the northeastern U.S. "Fidelity is closing the gap between expensive simulators and affordable flight training devices," said Mark Limbach, the company's vice president of marketing.
Fidelity will also be featuring details of its full-motion Bell 222 flight training device for Danish operator Air Alpha.
Map Service For Aircraft Tracking
Sky Connect (Booth 1796) will be demonstrating its new, dedicated Sky Connect Map service, which it said enables helicopter operators to securely see their aircraft via any web browser.
Combining automated tracking with two-way text messaging and integrated voice calling, Sky Connect TRACKER is designed to serve the needs of any airborne mission, including U.S. Forest Service contracts, medevac and oil drilling transport. According to Sky Connect (www.skyconnect.aero), it provides the world's first seamless global tracking, voice, and two-way text messaging service on the Iridium satellite network for world class coverage and effectiveness. The company has more than 1,500 systems flying across the globe.
The Latest SAR Products
Specmat Technologies, Inc. (Booth 2006) will be exhibiting its latest search-and-rescue products.
Designed to maximize the probability of detection, identification and location in an emergency, the comprehensive range of emergency transmitters, the company said, its beacons and airborne homing and tracking systems offer cost-effective turn-key SAR solutions for the most demanding operational scenarios.
Based in Maryville, Tenn., Specmat Technologies is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the UK-based H.R. Smith Group of Companies (www.hr-smith.com) and represents all of H.R. Smith's product lines in the United States and Canada.
H.R. Smith, Ltd. designs and manufactures airborne antennas for fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. It also sells electrostatic dischargers for complete noise quieting of all types of aircraft.
Techtest Ltd., another H.R. Smith company, manufactures a full range of internationally certified emergency locator transmitters (ELTs), personal locator beacons (PLBs) and automatically deployable emergency locator transmitters (ADELTs).
Finally, Specmat Ltd. Designs and manufactures advanced thermoplastic composite components and structures.
AIRCRAFT PARTS CORP.
Power on Display
Aircraft Parts Corp. (Booth 4620) will be showcasing its line of DC power generation products and services, including 150-400 amp-capacity starter generator models and a complete line of generator control Units.
The subsidiary of Unison Industries LLC (www.apcmfg.com) sees Heli-Expo as an opportunity to demonstrate its products and services "to buyers at companies who own, operate, manufacture or service a substantial share of the world's helicopters," a company official told Rotor & Wing.
Major worldwide customers of Aircraft Parts Corp. include AgustaWestland, Bell Helicopter, Eurocopter, MD Helicopters, Sikorsky Aircraft, Enstrom Helicopter, Schweizer Aircraft, the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. armed forces.
Lycoming Engines (Booth 1319) will be showing its HIO-540 helicopter engine.
This powerplant, which powers the Robinson R44, is the latest example of Lycoming innovation, according to the company. Lycoming (www.lycoming.textron.com) said the HIO-540 gives pilots unprecedented capabilities, including higher altitude performance, increased payload and more speed, as well as greater fuel-efficiency.
Headquartered in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming is a global operating division of Textron's Avco Corp. subsidiary, and an operating unit of Textron Systems specializing in the engineering, manufacturing, assembly, test and support of piston aircraft engines.