13-Jan-2016 Source: HeliHub.com
In 2015, we published a total of 3,298 news stories on HeliHub.com to keep the global helicopter industry fully up-to-date with the news from all corners of our planet – approximately 13 stories every working day of the year. We publish a wide range of stories, some from press releases, others from postings made by other media outlets, but inevitably the most popular stories are those written by our team. Through our own proprietary news search mechanisms, we get to hear many stories well ahead of other outlets, and we are also very much open to tip-offs which we can investigate further (this is how to contact us).
Here is a summary of the top 10 stories by visitor numbers.
#10 – Airbus Helicopter H160 (X4) Takes Centre Stage at Heli-Expo Opening
Reporting from Heli-Expo 2015 as Airbus Helicopters name the H160, reveal the aircraft amid a lighting show and stage smoke effects, and explain the new “H” numbering, and why some models are transferring to “H” numbers, while others are not.
#9 – Trump puts S76 on UK civil register
The US Presidential candidate has property and golfing interests in the UK and Ireland, and brings one of his two S76s to stay in the UK to show his commitment. Later in the year, certain remarks he made publicly led to a petition from the UK electorate to have him banned from the UK, and after well exceeding the minimum 100,000 votes in support – that issue will now be aired in the UK Parliament in London.
#8 – More AW189 questions as Bristow UK considers extra Coast Guard S92s
The (still) ongoing issues with the AW189 Full Ice Protection System certification lead Bristow to bring in more S92s to fulfil their obligations on the UK SAR contract. Eventually they will end up with 11 of each type on contract. See also #5
#7 – AgustaWestland deliver first production AW169
AgustaWestland (as they were then) bring a production AW169 to the UK and fly a customer around – although we later heard that the customer decided it was too small and will swap out for a larger helicopter from the same manufacturer – or use the AW169 in a different role than they intended
#6 – More details revealed of NEW Robinson R44 model
HeliHub breaks news of a new model of helicopter, well ahead of the date that the manufacturer intended announcing it – reportedly (from good sources!) forcing them into issuing a press release a lot earlier than they intended.
#5 – Bristow to import four more SAR S92s in place of AW189s
HeliHub get confirmation of how Bristow plans to cover the AW189 shortfall – see also #8 above
#4 – UK military helicopter fleet in 2019 will be half of 2009 fleet
Our top guest post of the year – from Simon Sparkes of Nova System, commenting on the British Government’s continuing defence review announcements
#3 – Statoil terminates Everett/Bristow AW139 contract in Tanzania
An excellent example of HeliHub finding stories from the global helicopter industry by tracking individual airframes. We found two AW139s on Tanzanian registrations being flown to the UK, and then Statoil – the customer in Tanzania – confirmed to us what was happening. The subject helicopters are now repainted from Everett colours to Bristow and flying on the southern North Sea out of Norwich UK.
#2 – International visitors lower priority for Heli-Expo 2016
It still surprises us that HAI have decided on a location for this year’s Heli-Expo that has no international air links at all, when 20-25% of visitors and exhibitors are from outside the US. Time will tell as to how wise a decision it was.
#1 – AgustaWestland AW609 test flight – fatal accident
Sadly, the fatal accident of a revolutionary rotary-wing concept took #1 spot in our news story popularity in 2015. Undaunted, but with due caution of course, the manufacturer continues the program and expects another prototype in the air in 2016.