Commercial, Products

"Desperate Need" for Restricted-Category Aircraft

By James T. McKenna | June 12, 2008

Utility

Agricultural aircraft operators have a desperate need for restricted-category helicopters, according to one industry leader. Business is robust for the sector, particularly in the United States. There, high food prices worldwide and a weak dollar that makes U.S. agricultural products cheaper combine to increase demand for aerial application of seeds, fertilizer, fungicides and insecticides. Still, the lower operating costs of restricted-category aircraft (which are limited by FAA rules to special uses like spraying) are essential to turning a profit. The need for such aircraft among operators conflicts with aircraft manufacturers’ efforts to get aircraft like the Bell Helicopter 47 and Eurocopter Alouette 2 out of the market. Added to that is the FAA’s crackdown on the importation of helicopters for restricted-category operations. For related news

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