2014-07-14 16:53:19
Performance Enhancer
story by Dan Megna | photos by Eric Jenzen

Churchill Navigation’s Augmented Reality Mapping System provides tactical flight officers with heightened situational awareness....



The modern airborne law enforcement mission can be one of the most challenging flying environments outside of military service. Its often unpredictable nature can thrust air crews into chaotic and often dangerous situations, requiring swift, accurate scene assessments, masterful coordination and intelligent problem solving.

A key element in ensuring a successful outcome in such testing circumstances is maintaining situational awareness (SA) — more specifically, awareness of the aircraft’s posi...

2014-07-10 10:48:16
'Flight Testing' the Bell 525 Relentless
story by Guy R. Maher | photos by Mike Reyno

For a helicopter that hasn’t had its first actual flight, the Bell 525 Relentless sure is undergoing a lot of flight testing....



For a helicopter that hasn’t had its first actual flight, the Bell 525 Relentless sure is undergoing a lot of flight testing. Announced at Heli-Expo 2012, the “clean-sheet” 525 will employ of some of the most advanced systems ever incorporated into the first commercial fly-by-wire helicopter.

As a brief reminder, the 525 Relentless will be in the 20,000-pound gross weight class, and will be composed of a roughly equal combination of metal and composites. General Elect...

2014-07-08 10:49:31
French Connection
story & photos by Frédéric Lert

The French Air Force is among the happy few to enjoy a helicopter air to air refueling capability with its EC725 Caracal....



Two thousand feet above the Atlantic, not far from the west coast of France and the famous Bordeaux vineyards, two Airbus Helicopters EC725 Caracals refuel on a Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules fitted with wing pods. The helicopters belong to the French Air Force (Armée de l’Air) Escadron d’hélicoptères 1/67 Pyrénées and the tanker, sporting Italian roundels, comes from the Pisa-based 46a Brigata Aerea. 

To an outside observer, the operation looks straigh...

2014-07-04 10:45:57
Better Eyes in the Sky
by Kenneth I. Swartz

Despite challenging market conditions, airborne law enforcement agencies now have more acquisition options than ever before — and a degree of technological sophistication that can take their aerial capability to a new level....



Since the turn of the millennium, the helicopter industry in general, and the airborne law enforcement community in particular, has certainly had an interesting ride. While airborne capabilities increased substantially in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the 2008 global financial crisis — and the widespread austerity that followed — hit helicopter-flying law enforcement agencies particularly hard. Many struggled to stay airborne, resorting to fleet sales, or restricted flying hours, to enable them to navigate a...

2014-07-03 09:12:16
False Horizon
by Elan Head

Attitude indicators are often ignored and neglected in visual flight rules helicopters, but they can be life-saving in an emergency. Yet disturbing new evidence suggests that some helicopter pilots are using attitude indicators incorrectly, precisely when they need them the most. Why?...



In February of this year, the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published the docket for its investigation into the March 30, 2013, crash of an Alaska State Troopers helicopter near Talkeetna, Alaska. Three people were killed when the Airbus Helicopters AS350 B3 AStar impacted terrain on that dark, wet night: pilot Mel Nading; Trooper Tage Toll; and Carl Ober, an injured snowmobiler whom Nading and Toll had rescued from the surface of a frozen pond a short time earlier.

2014-07-03 11:13:47
Unmanned Advantage
story by Lisa Gordon | photos by Mike Reyno

Aeryon Labs specializes in building rugged aerial data-gathering platforms that get the job done and can be operated by just about anyone....



Unmanned aerial systems technology was in its infancy back in 2007, when three University of Waterloo graduates founded Aeryon Labs, Inc. Like so many small business start-ups, the company was born in a home office—moving from a backyard to a basement, and then to a living room—before settling into office space in Waterloo, Ont., in the heart of Canada’s Technology Triangle. 

Aeryon founders Dave Kroetsch, Steffen Lindner, and Mike Peasgood met after graduation, when all three were working at PixStream, a cutting-edge firm in Waterloo specializing in producing hardware and sof...

2014-06-30 09:36:13
Talking Shop
by Kenneth I. Swartz

Vertical speaks to DOMs representing various operating sectors about the maintenance challenges they face — and how they overcome them....



Behind every operating helicopter is a skilled maintenance team.

Thousands of people are required to keep the North American fleet of about 10,000 civilian helicopters in the air, so they can serve customers and make money.


Many of these helicopters are so called legacy aircraft that are older than their flight and maintenance crews — especial...

2014-06-26 11:51:52
Finely Honed
story by Oliver Johnson | photos by Heath Moffatt

Finnair Helicopters shows that small owner-operators can be a powerful force for raising industry standards, bringing a new Airbus Helicopters EC135 P2e to the utility market in British Columbia....



After a decade of flying helicopters on the Pacific coastline of British Columbia, Wayne Finn, together with his wife Joanne, moved to the beautiful Okanagan Valley in the province’s southern interior. Known as one of the warmest regions in Canada, the picturesque land that hugs the 135-kilometer-long Okanagan Lake is a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts, and its climate combined with its fertile soil has led to it becoming a prime agricultural area with a flourishing wine industry.

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2014-06-20 10:32:12
Anybody Need A Lift?
story and photos by Skip Robinson

Heavy-lift specialist Siller Helicopters has spent the last 39 years carving out a solid niche for itself with two iconic helicopters: the S-61/H-3 Sea King and the S-64 Skycrane....



In heavy-lift operations, when you find a helicopter model that works, you tend to stick with it. That’s certainly the case for Siller Helicopters Inc. of Yuba City, Calif. Siller has been flying basically only two models — the Sikorsky S-61 and S-64 Skycrane — for several decades now, and that has made all the difference in the world. 

The Company and the People

Originally founded as Siller Bros. Inc. in the 1950s as a farming and logging business, the c...

2014-06-13 10:29:10
Muti-Function People Mover
story by Robert Erdos | photos by Anthony Pecchi

Vertical test pilot Rob Erdos flies the Airbus Helicopters EC130 T2 — and finds a versatile aircraft capable of more than solely air tourism....



If you go to Provence, in the south of France, you’ll surely want to go sightseeing. A tour by air is my recommendation. Coincidentally, that’s where Airbus Helicopters builds the EC130 T2, and where Vertical Magazine was invited to test fly the latest variant of the utilitarian light single-engine helicopter. The flight revealed that, while the EC130 T2 takes aim mainly at the aerial tourism market, it is a versatile multi-function flying machine. 


CUS...


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