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Friday 17th February 2012 at 12:14
They say they do things bigger in Texas and, with over one million square feet of exhibition and meeting space, Dallas was the ideal choice for the Helicopter Association International annual Heli-Expo.
More than 650 exhibitors displayed their wares at the Heli-Expo 2012 show at the Dallas Convention Center, Texas with items ranging from gloves to multi million dollar state of the art Helicopters. There were 60 helicopters on view at the show including a very popular MIL 24 from the Cold War Museum at Lancaster and an EC155 owned by the University of Michigan survival flight keeping the record breaking19,000 attendees at this years show engaged.
Bell 525 Relentless
Bell introduced their new 525 “Relentless” model estimated by some industry experts to have cost $500 million to develop. Weighing in at over 18,000 pounds (9 tons) the 525 has an expected range of over 400nm with a speed approaching 150 knots. The 525 will be the largest civil helicopter in Bells portfolio with 16 passenger seats available. Certification is likely to be completed in 2015 with the cost thought to be priced between that of the Augusta 189 and the Eurocopter EC225.
Eurocopter also unveiled the new EC130 T2 (F-WGYP), an updated version of the EC130. With an impressive 105 orders there will be seven launch customers for the latest variant including Maverick, Paplillon and Blue Hawaiian helicopters, Scandinavian helicopter group, Europavia, Air Commander and Enloe FlightCare. With a higher maximum take off weight, an increase in speed and lower fuel consumption Eurocopter have started 2012 impressively.
Sikorsky announced their largest order for the S-92S during the show. Bond Helicopters have purchased 16 of the variant with deliveries commencing in the second quarter of 2013 the first of which is believed to be heading for their North Sea operations.
AugustaWestland prepared for orders of over 100 helicopters worth an estimated $923 million. Before the show officially opened they had already announced sales worth over $398 million for a mix of AW139,169 and 189 variants sold to Lease Corporation International of Dublin.
Next year the show rolls on to Las Vegas…..
Report by Adrian Jack