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Heli-Expo 2017: Orders abound in Dallas

13th March 2017 - 11:48 GMT | by Georgina Smith in Dallas

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While the 2017 edition of Heli-Expo has drawn to a close, the number of contract announcements made during the show suggests some cautious optimism is returning to the civil helicopter market.

The headline announcement was a €200 million firm order from leasing company Milestone Aviation for various Airbus Helicopter aircraft, including H135, H145 and H175 helicopters, while Waypoint Leasing committed to an additional 16 Airbus helicopters, including the H135, H145 and adding the H175 to its order book for the first time.

Leonardo announced at the exhibition that its presence in Japan was expanding, with the introduction of the AW139 into the country's corporate market. A private customer signed a contract at the exhibition for the helicopter, which is expected to be handed over later this year. This brings the order total of the region to nearly 160 units.

Further to this, the AW139 has been delivered by Lease Corporation International to support Heli-Union's growing activities in Asia.

Six of the aircraft-type contribute to a €90 million order placed by Milestone Aviation, who expect to accept the AW139s over the next two years. The contract also includes three AW169s.

Moreover, the helicopter leasing company revealed an order for Airbus Helicopters platforms, including the H145, H135 and H175, to integrate into its current fleet of over 60 Airbus aircraft. Milestone will deploy the helicopters in EMS and parapublic roles.

One landmark sale was marked at Heli-Expo last week, with the contract signature for the 200th Cabri G2 helicopter by Hélicoptères Guimbal to UK distributor Heli-Group.

In addition to launching the FCX 001, Bell Helicopter also commemorated a milestone at the show, as the first delivery of the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X was received by private operator Scott Urschel, owner of Pylon Aviation.

The signing of a purchase agreement for two Bell 429s by Nakanihon Air Service was announced at Heli-Expo. The rotorcraft will be delivered by the end of 2017 for use in HEMS operations.

An additional order placed in Dallas will see the same platform received in 2017 by the Arizona Department of Safety Aviation Bureau for SAR, ALE and border protection applications.

Shephard can also confirm that a second Bell 407 HP will be delivered to Helicopter Express, the latest customer for Eagle Copters, within the next two weeks. So far, Honeywell – provider of the HTS900 engine – and Eagle have converted eight aircraft, with more in the pipeline.

In terms of technology, Trakka Systems announced two new customers for its TrakkaBeam A800 tactical searchlight: the Italian Navy and the German DRF Luftrettung air rescue service.

Elbit Systems showcased its Heli-ClearVision EFVS suite – technology which will be equipped on Leonardo's commercial helicopters, according to a long-term agreement that was signed by the two companies at the show.

Finally, a major platform announcement came from Marenco Swisshelicopter, which has received another order for the SKYe SH09 helicopter, revealing that Alpinlift Helikopter is joining Air Zermatt as a launch customer of the new platform.

For more details on the above agreements, and to read extensive coverage of the rest of the show, visit Shephard's dedicated HAI Heli-Expo 2017 show news site.

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