Helo-high flyers at Helitech
This year Helitech International made a return to the London docklands after being moved from the Duxford site back in 2013.
While some are still disgruntled at the move there was the opportunity to see a lot of aircraft as well as perform a bit of business with major players in the civil rotorcraft industry.
Bell Helicopter provided demonstrations of its Bell 429 aircraft with a new VIP interior, two of which have already proved too tempting for unnamed Russian and Swiss customers.
This year’s show saw two new aircraft on display, the Airbus Helicopter H160 and the Bell 505 Jetranger X. The former has completed its first test flight since being unveiled at Heli Expo earlier this year and the company is expecting deliveries of the aircraft will begin in 2018.
One of the dominant topics of conversation was of course the oil and gas market which has seen the price of oil fall below $50 a barrel in recent months. While there is some concern over the market situation many are expecting to see things turn around in the next month given the cyclical nature of the oil and gas industry.
Bell Helicopter is expecting the grass to be greener soon and is positive that its Bell 525 Relentless will be in a good position when certified in 2017 as this, and likely to coincide with the turnaround in the oil and gas market. Grant Turnbull spoke with Bell CEO about the prospects for the 525.
Playing a bigger role in the market as operators look towards different finance options are the helicopter leasing companies. Notably at this year having a large presence at Helitech, companies such as Waypoint Leasing took up as much stand space as some of the major OEMs.
Waypoint produced some of the bigger announcements of the show with orders placed for 20 H135s and 18 AgustaWestland family aircraft.
It’s not all about oil and gas, the UK’s National Police Air Service (NPAS) formally accepted delivery of its EC135 T2+ at Helitech. The aircraft has been fitted with custom-designed equipment suites including a new mission management system.