Posts Tagged sar

The Earth Wins – the film that helos made

The first IMAX film to be shot entirely from the air has hit the giant screen. Helinews Editor Christina Hogarth speaks to Jerry Grayson and Sara Hine from Helifilms about their environmentally charged, 45-minute movie, The Earth Wins.

Helifilms, a production company established in the UK in 1989 by Sara Hine and Jerry Grayson, specialises in aerial filming using the latest high-definition gyro-stabilised camera technologies. In 2002, the company opened an office in Melbourne, Australia, followed by offices in Los Angeles in the US and Cape Town, South Africa.

Their work ranges from feature films to live sporting broadcasts, documentaries, and footage for museums and science centres across the world. Black Hawk Down, the James Bond franchise, District 9, Domino, Déjà Vu, The Island, We Are Marshall, Waist Deep and Transformers are just some of the films that feature their work.

The team consists of experienced aerial crews of directors, film pilots, producers, production coordinators, directors of photography, camera operators, technicians and helicopter engineers. Hine explains, “Cross-hiring helicopters allows us to focus solely on our specialisation in film. The film cameras that we use are almost the same price as a helicopter, but require slightly less maintenance.”

Now both a helicopter pilot and director, Grayson started out flying in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm where he spent eight years and was awarded the prestigious Air Force Cross by Queen Elizabeth II for outstanding gallantry in Search and Rescue.

He left the Navy in 1980 to focus on aerial film work and rapidly earned the accolade of being one of the world’s leading helicopter film pilots.

Grayson’s first exposure to the giant screen was conducting aerial filming for the IMAX concert film Rolling Stones Live at the Max, a film that broke new ground by being the first 90-minute feature and the first concert film for IMAX theatres.

He describes filming for IMAX as a completely different process to filming for the TV or cinema; the main difference being that the giant screen canvas is so huge that you cannot afford to have very much camera movement. It would be too overwhelming. Instead of the fast editing pace used in feature films and music videos, IMAX films require long shots, so that the viewer can take in the image.

“Filming for IMAX requires very gentle camera movements and very gentle helicopter movements because, as with all giant screen films, the action should be taking place within the frame rather than having to move the frame in order to achieve some action,” says Grayson.

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First AgustaWestland AW189 takes to the air

Four months after going into production, the first AgustaWestland AW189 8-tonne-class twin-engine helicopter to roll off the line has taken its maiden flight at the company’s Vergiate plant in Italy.

Designed to meet market demand for a versatile, affordable, multirole medium helicopter, the AW189 is optimised for long-range offshore transport and search-and-rescue (SAR) missions. The aircraft used in the maiden flight is destined to be delivered to the UK’s Bristow Helicopters by the end of the year to carry out offshore transport missions in the North Sea. AgustaWestland says that it has already received orders for more than 80 aircraft.

The cabin has a standard 16-seat configuration, but can be changed to a high-density 18-seat or a long-range 12-seat layout. AgustaWestland says the aircraft “is unique in having a 50-minute ‘run-dry’ capable main gear box, exceeding current certification standards and offering unmatched safety and reliability for long range offshore operations”.

The AW189 has a number of features that give it wide operational capabilities, including:

Offshore: All Weather Day and Night, VFR/IFR certified; high cruising speed and very high payload due to a highly efficient rotor system; superior OEI capability; enhanced situational awareness via next-generation avionics.

SAR: Unobstructed cabin accommodates rescue crew, longitudinal and transversal stretchers and mission consoles.

Parapublic: Can be configured with a wide range of advanced sensors, role and communication equipment; flexible cabin space; quickly removable options such as a fast rope system and cargo hook for special forces and utility operations.

Corporate/VIP: Speed and low internal vibration and noise deliver heightened passenger comfort; Auxiliary Power Unit on the ground provides air conditioning without the need to engage rotors; VVIP interiors available.

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Bond gets three EC225s for Thai offshore job

Avincis Fleet & Engineering Director Martin Whittaker (left) and Eurocopter Executive Officer for France and Vice President of Global Business and Services Dominique Maudet. © Eurocopter, Amélie Laurin

Avincis has bought three new Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma helicopters to be used by local subsidiary Bond Helicopters Australia to service its multi-million dollar, five year contract with the PTTEP Australasia Group of Companies, part of Thailand’s national petroleum exploration and production company.

This is Bond’s first major contract in the region and marks the company’s entry into one of the fastest growing offshore markets in the world.

Specifically configured for offshore flight, the EC225 is a high-performance heavy twin-engine helicopter weighing 11 tons and featuring two Turbomeca Makila 2A1 engines delivering 1776 kW of power each, a five-blade rotor and a gearbox that meets the 30-minute dry-run requirements of the latest JAR 29 amendments.

The aircraft has a seating capacity of up to 19 passengers in three configurations: Passenger (two pilots plus 19 passengers); search-and-rescue (two pilots plus four crew with comfort seats plus up to 20 passengers or three stretchers; and Executive/VIP (two pilots plus eight to 12 passengers).

Of special interest to oil and gas operators is the aircraft’s ability to easily change its mission role from passenger transportation to light SAR, thanks to ADELT (Automatically Deployable Emergency Locator Transmitter for Helicopters), an optional pod for additional fuel tanks or luggage compartment, space provision and basic wiring for SAR mission equipment and a cabin floor with integrated rails.

In the case of an emergency, the large windows push out to allow easy egress and thus quick and easy access to integrated life-rafts.

“We are delighted to have secured these aircraft for our new Bond business in Australia,” Avincis CEO James Drummond said in a statement. “This strengthens our strategic relationship with Eurocopter, who are an important partner in Avincis’ future growth.”

On Eurocopter’s side, CEO Guillaume Faury said: “Our long-term relationship with the Avincis Group has been built on a basis of mutual confidence, and I look forward to furthering this partnership with the delivery of three more EC225s.”

These latest additions to Avincis’ global fleet of around 350 aircraft will be support PTTEP’s operations in the Timor Sea. The first two aircraft will be delivered in December 2013, with the third EC225 due to arrive in the second half of 2014.

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AgustaWestland AW139 enters Swedish SAR role

AgustaWestland has delivered the first of seven AW139 intermediate twin engine helicopters to the Swedish Maritime Administration, for use in search-and-rescue (SAR) operations. The second aircraft is expected to be delivered shortly, with all deliveries to be completed within 2014.

Over 730 AW139s have been ordered by more than 200 customers in about 60 countries – including Australia. The 580-odd helicopters currently in service have logged close to 750,000 flight hours in roles such as SAR, air ambulance, offshore transport, VIP/corporate transport, law enforcement and military transport missions.

AgustaWestland says the SMA’s AW139s are equipped with a range of dedicated mission systems including a Full Ice Protection System (FIPS), which “allows flights into known icing conditions and enabling all weather operations, when other types would be confined to the hangar”.

In Australia, Heliflite has been the exclusive Australian distributor and service centre for Agusta civil helicopters since 1977. The AW139 is a 15-passenger-capable medium helicopter featuring twin Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C turbines which, combined with a state-of-the-art five-bladed main rotor, deliver high cruising speeds in demanding conditions at all weights.

It has a maximum cruising speed of 306km/h (165 kts), a 10.9m/s rate of climb, service ceiling (MCP) of 6096m (20,000ft) and a maximum range of 1,250km (with 1654kg of fuel).

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AgustaWestland AW189 begins full production

Full-scale production has started on AgustaWestland’s AW189 multirole medium helicopter, a new 8-tonne class, twin-engine aircraft optimised for long-range offshore transport and search-and-rescue missions.

The aircraft, which has a 50-minute ‘run-dry’ capable main gear box, is configured with 16 seats as standard but this can be adapted to a high-density 18 seat option or a more comfortable 12-seat layout for longer ranges.

AgustaWestland CEO Daniele Romiti said the company was proud to have gone into production on schedule: “The start of full scale production brings us closer to the first AW189 delivery later this year … when customers who already operate the AW139 will start benefitting from the family advantage.”

Romiti was referring to the fact that the AW189 shares the same cockpit layout, high-performance flight characteristics, safety features, design philosophy and maintenance concept as the AW139 and AW169 models.

This commonality will allow more effective operations for customers operating helicopter fleets across the 4-tonne to 8.5-tonne categories, the company says.

Four AW189 prototypes and two pre-production airframes have clocked up over 1500 flight hours so far. A ‘PP6’ helicopter is being used for the development of search and rescue configurations and mission kits.

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