Rotorheads hit Louisville

Everyone who has attended Heli-Expo in previous years was somewhat sceptical of this year’s choice of location – Louisville Kentucky.

Nevertheless, like the troopers we are the Quill team made the most of the location and happily took a tour of a bourbon distillery the day before the show. When in Rome as they say. Freshly armed with bourbon facts, the team charged forward to seek out the most juicy bits of news from the show.

While visitor attendance was clearly down this year, the annual event had all of the big players in attendance with the likes of Airbus Helicopters, Bell Helicopter, Finmeccanica Helicopter Division and Sikorsky all having multiple aircraft on display.

AW009

The Finmeccanica Helicopter Division AgustaWestland AW009

Finmeccanica Helicopter Division (formerly AgustaWestland and confusingly still selling AgustaWestland products) displayed its new AW009, a revamped version of the SW-4. The company is still in the midst of re-branding under one entity so watch this space as the clunky name ‘Finmeccanica Helicopter Division’ may not be the final title for the helicopter products.

One of the most talked about features of Heli-Expo this year was the presence of three Black Hawk helicopters in civil configurations. At least five companies in attendance are attempting to sell ex-US Army UH-60A aircraft to the commercial market as the service offloads hundreds of the aircraft.

At all trade shows there is often something that doesn’t quite look like it belongs and this year it was the turn of the Bell’s V-280 military tiltrotor which the company displayed alongside the likes of the Bell 505 and 525.

Despite this when our top rotor-nerd questioned the company, the response was that a civil version was not yet on the horizon. 

Finally at its press conference MD Helicopter’s CEO, the infamous Lynn Tilton, revealed the company would be creating a new attack helicopter. The programme, dubbed the 6XX, has a rather aggressive timeline and is expected to be ready for the market by 2018.

For all the news from the week take a look at our coverage on the Shephard website. 

For now, take care helo-geeks and the team will see you all at Helitech International in Amsterdam later this year!

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