Posted by: Helicop Aviation | September 28, 2011

The Father of Indian Aviation

“No success in material terms is worthwhile, unless it serves the needs or interests of the country and its people.”

~Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy~

Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy (JRD) Tata’s life was a convergence of influences and interests. Born in 1904 in Paris, to a French mother and Indian father, he successfully straddled two cultures, eventually receiving both the French Legion of Honor and India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

His business life was equally diverse. He became Chairman of Tata & Sons, India’s biggest industrial group, in 1938.

Despite this, JRD’s overriding passion was aviation. His hero was the French piloting ace Louis Blériot, the first man to cross the English Channel by air. Blériot lived near the Tata’s French country home and once allowed a co-pilot to give the 15-year-old JRD a ride. From that moment on, JRD was determined to fly.

Having moved to India, in 1929 he achieved his goal. He became the first person in the country to be issued with a pilot’s license.

A year later, he competed for the Aga Khan Trophy, which was being offered to the first Indian to fly solo from India to England or vice versa. JRD was flying from Karachi to London and landed en route at Aboukir Bay in Egypt. There he discovered another competitor, flying in the opposite direction, stranded by the lack of a spark plug. JRD willingly gave him his spare one and was ultimately defeated by a couple of hours.

The experience only strengthened his love of flying, however. In 1932, JRD set up Tata Airlines, the first Indian commercial carrier to transport mail and passengers within India. JRD flew the first leg of the inaugural Karachi-Madras (Chennai) journey himself, taking mail from Karachi to Bombay via Ahmedabad using a single-engine De Havilland Puss Moth. In its first year, Tata Airlines flew 160,000 miles, carrying 155 passengers and more than 10 tonnes of mail.

Tata Airlines became Air India in 1946. Two years later, following Indian independence, the government took 49% of the company, also giving itself the option to acquire an additional 2%. Following JRD’s recommendation, the government established Indian Airlines to run domestic services while JRD took the helm of Air India International, which was granted a license to operate international flights.

His love of aviation never diminished and his contribution to the industry is reflected in numerous awards and achievements. In 1979, he won the Tony Jannus Award, and in 1986 he received the Edward Warner Award given by the International Civil Aviation Organization. He was also Chairman of IATA from 1957–1958, an indication of his standing and his vision for a fledgling industry.

Consensus was JRD’s modus operandi and he became famous for courting opinion before taking a decision.

It is in India though that his impact on aviation is greatest. He was named Honorary Group Captain of the Indian Air Force in 1948 and an Honorary Air Commodore of India in 1966. In 1982 he recreated his legendary first journey for Tata Airlines flying a De Havilland Leopard Moth in an effort to instil future generations with his entrepreneurial spirit and love of aviation. For JRD, the flying experience was “the greatest adventure” of his life.


Posted by: Helicop Aviation | September 23, 2011

Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation

If you looked back on the history of aircraft, one name would stand out above the rest: Sikorsky.

Sikorsky S-61Igor Sikorsky entered this world on May 25, 1889 in Russia.At the tender age of eleven, Igor was already conducting experiments with model aircraft, and one year later, he created a miniature helicopter powered by a rubber band. When he began taking courses at Saint Petersburg Imperial Russian Naval Academy, he decided to dedicate his life to the field of engineering. Later on, when he was aware of the Wright brothers and all they had accomplished in America, he changed his mind about engineering and persue a career in aviation.

Igor founded Sikorsky Aero Engineering Company in 1923 with the aid of some former officers in the Russian army. The first helicopter he designed was damaged during a test flight; however, Sikorsky managed to persuade his investors to continue investing in him. With those funds backing him, he created the S-29. It can be attributed to the performance of the S-29, a twin-engine airplane, that Igor’s company was on its way to aeronautic success.

Igor became an American citizen in 1928 and began designing not only planes but helicopters as well. On September 14, 1939, the Vought-Sikorsky VS-300 helicopter flew for the first time, although it was tethered. The accomplishment of the VS-300 catapulted into the R-4, the first mass-produced helicopter the world had ever seen. And Igor’s VS-300 rotor setup set the standard for helicopters to come. Today, the majority of helicopters use the same configurations.

Igor Sikorsky passed away on October 26, 1972 while laying in his home in Connecticut. However, his legacy still lives today. Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation based in Connecticut continues to be one of the world leaders in developing rotorcraft. Sikorsky has a deep history and has done much for the development of helicopters, and owns a long list of records:

1912: first Russian aircraft that has the ability to loop
1913: first airplane powered by four engines
1916: the largest plane ever manufactured
1924: first twin-engine airplane that could fly on one engine if needed
1931: the largest airliner ever created.
1936: the altitude record
1937: commercial aircraft with the greatest range
1939: first helicopter with a single main rotor to work successfully
1944: first helicopter rescue while in combat
1945: first helicopter to rescue a civilian
1949: first helicopter rescue in the Navy
1949: first helicopter with the ability to fly in a loop
1952: first helicopter to fly across the Atlantic Ocean
1953: first helicopter to have a primary rotor with five blades
1957: first helicopter designed for the President of the United States
1961: first helicopter to recover astronauts
1962: first helicopter that can fly greater than 200 mph

The accomplishments on Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation’s résumé speak for themselves. The excellence in which Igor performed is still being practiced today, yet, there was one achievement that gave Igor a tremendous amount of joy: the use of helicopters as rescue vehicles. Today, over 1,000,000 people have been given a second chance at life because of a helicopter and that number continues to grow steadily.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation’s fingerprints can clearly be seen on the early development of helicopters, and it continues to be a major contributor even today.


Around 16 companies have shown their interest to invest in the helicopter, sea plane and rope-way tourism ventures in Goa.

State tourism department had invited expression of interest (EIO) for these projects after Chief Minister Digambar Kamat in his budget speech had opened up the tourism sector for such facilities.

Tourism Director Swapnil Naik said that of the total companies, one company is from Canada, which has expressed its interest for Sea Plane and Amphibian plane concept that is likely to be executed in the state’s inland waters.

Naik said the scrutiny of the applications is on and only after it gets over, further process would be initiated.

The concept of Helicopter Tourism, through which the tourists would be taken around in the state in the helicopter, had maximum takers.

Naik said that eight proposals had come for the concept. Companies like United Helicopters, Mumbai, Deccan Charters, Banglore, EMGI Housing, Panaji, Pavan hansa helicopters Noida (UP), Wilson properties, Panaji, Sumit Aviation Delhi, Aviation services management India, Panaji and Prabhatam Aviation, Delhi have applied for the concept.

Five proposals from Maritime energy services, Mumbai, Borek Air Limited, Canada, Pushpaka Suetan, Mumbai, Aviation services management, Panaji and Pavan hansa helicopters ltd, UP were submitted for sea plane or amphibian plane project.

There was one proposal from Highstreet Cruise Entertainment for luxury cruise and floating hotel while there was one proposal from Usha Bekro Ltd for cable car or ropeway.


Posted by: Helicop Aviation | September 5, 2011

Q&A: Marie Agnes Veve, CEO (India), Eurocopter

Eurocopter, the world’s largest helicopter manufacturer, which has a significant share in the Indian market, wants to have a greater piece of the pie. Marie Agnes Veve, CEO, India, tells that they are trying to increase their engagement with the Indian companies.
Edited excerpts:

How are your engagements with Indian industry going?
Our relationship with India began with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). It is a historic one which we seek to strengthen. While they have manufactured some composite materials for us, we will soon set up a command joint-working group with them. We will also sign memorandum of understandings in a couple of months.

What about the development centre here?
We will expand our engagement in the country through sourcing and engineering and follow the Airbus experience. India has a lot of potential in terms of universities and engineering schools. We see a great opportunity for Eurocopter for civilians in terms of industrial co-operation and plan to develop engineering centres for Eurocopter here. We have tie ups with Mahindra and HAL. We also have links with the Tatas.

You recently tied up with Mahindra. Will there be any duplication of the activity with HAL?
Mahindra is a new partner. We want to engage in some manufacturing activities with them. They will help us develop corporate market and electronic manufacturing services (EMS) market and commercial market. So, there will be no duplication with the work we do with HAL. HAL is an integrator. Mahindra is starting this activity. So, there will be no overlap or conflict of interest. Mahindra has clear strategy to develop these activities such as manufacturing parts and parts for aeronautics.

Which segments will they address?
It’s only the civilian market that they will address. For instance, a piece of structure will be for helicopter that can be used in civilian and in defence sector. This is part of a wider plan to make India a sourcing hub. The parts go into the global supply chain for the worldwide market.

How significant is the Indian civilian market for helicopters?
Though small today, it is growing with the development of corporate, police & law, disaster management, ambulance among others. In India, there are about 250 civilian helicopters. We control 30 per cent of this market. Our target is to capture 50 per cent of this market by 2015.

Civil defence and law enforcement seems to be a fast-growing market. How do you foresee this helping you?
Today, we have about 75 per cent of the market share in this segment. All these models are equipped with necessary camera, search and communication. All equipment are certified on the helicopter models. So, they fit with the needs of India.

How are the composite manufacturing programmes going?
We export the composite parts manufactured here to France for assembling. We are starting several other activities related to this. We have signed MoUs though we have no joint ventures.


Posted by: Helicop Aviation | August 29, 2011

Pawan Hans and Eurocopter To Set Up MRO, Training

Eurocopter and Pawan Hans Helicopters, the largest civil helicopter operator in India, have entered into two joint ventures for maintenance, repair and overhaul and training. Under the terms of the first joint venture, Eurocopter and Pawan Hans will establish an MRO facility in a key Indian metro to better serve the Dauphin fleet being operated in India.

The second joint venture will set up a training center to support Indian needs. R.K. Tyagi, Pawan Hans chairman and managing director, said, “As the Indian helicopter market expands, we see tremendous opportunity for Pawan Hans in the oil and gas, tourism and corporate travel segments.

Pawan Hans began operating Dauphin helicopters in India in 1986 and is Eurocopter’s biggest customer in the country. It is an approved Dauphin maintenance center for that part of the Indian subcontinent.


Mauna Loa Helicopters who we have our exclusive alliance with have released their very own Pilot Training software for Robinson R22 and R44. Here is a preview of what is to be expected:

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Posted by: Helicop Aviation | August 19, 2011

MAKS 2011: Russian Helicopters shows off range of systems

Russian Helicopters used the MAKS air show outside Moscow to showcase a number of developments across its range, displaying several new variants for the first time. Despite pulling its share offering to investors in May, in a move that would have made it the first government-controlled Russian defence company to go public, the number of projects evident during the air show gave the impression of a concern that remains buoyant.

Some long-stalled projects appear to be finally beginning to gain some momentum. Among the new aircraft displayed were the light Mi-34C1, a Ka-226T with a medical module, the Mi-38 transport helicopter and the new heavy Mi-26T2.

While no major military contracts are expected to be signed during MAKS, Russian Helicopter chief executive Dmitry Petrov confirmed on 16 August that the company has now signed seven long-term contracts with the Russian defence ministry for more than 450 helicopters as part of a $29 billion effort to upgrade the military’s helicopter fleet by 2020.

During Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s visit to the show on 17 August, Gazprom Avia signed for 39 Mi-8AMT helicopters to service its gas pipeline network. The aircraft will be delivered between 2012 and 2016.

On the export front, a spokesman for the company told that the primary focus was on fellow BRIC members Brazil, India and China. The Mi-26T2 is aimed at an Indian tender for 15 heavy transport helicopters while the possibility of a joint venture for the production in China of an aircraft based on the Mi-26 was being discussed by the two governments. At the LAAD exhibition in Rio de Janeiro in April, the holding company signed a number of partnership contracts with Brazilian operators.

Meanwhile, to help guarantee timely future deliveries of its Mil and Kamov helicopter families, Russian Helicopters in June signed an agreement with United Engine Corporation (UEC) for engine deliveries through to 2020. The agreement centres on the deliveries of the Klimov-produced TV3-117 and VK-2500 engines and, according to Petrov, lets the company accurately forecast its helicopter production capacity, plan the production process, and ‘satisfy the ever-growing demand for Russian rotorcraft’.

There also appears to be progress on the development of the new Ka-62 with Russian Helicopters ordering a batch of 40 Turbomeca Ardiden 3G engines for the medium helicopter. According to company documents, certification of the aircraft, which will seat 12 to 15, is scheduled for 2014. The single rotor machine features a ducted tail rotor and the rotor blades and airframe are polymer composites by more than 50%.

The agreement with AgustaWestland for an assembly line in Russia of the AW139 also moved forward recently with the signing of the final agreements of the HeliVert joint venture in June. The assembly line on a 40,000sq m site in Tomilino near Moscow is currently being built and is expected to produce some 15 aircraft per year for the Russian and CIS markets.

The stalled Mi-38 programme, which has been in development since the 1980s, appears to be gaining momentum, Petrov telling reporters he expected to sign the first launch customer for the type in 2011.

The two Mi-38 flying prototypes were on display at the show – one powered by Pratt and Whitney PW1267/5 engines and the other with recently installed TV7-117 powerplants. The aircraft is aimed at the niche between the Mi-8/17 medium helicopter and Mi-26 heavy lifter. The Mi-38 will have a MTOW of 15,600kg and will be able to transport 7 tons of external loads. The third flying prototype is expected to be ready by the end of the year while a fourth will follow in 2012 or 2013 as a near-production-standard aircraft.

The spokesman said that the company expected to certify the aircraft by the end of 2014 with series production at Kazan then expected in 2015. At its exhibition space Russian Helicopters displayed a representative interior of a Mi-38 in VIP configuration.


Posted by: Helicop Aviation | August 16, 2011

CM Not Using Chopper For Holidaying: Govt

The State Government today clarified that the expenditure shown to have been incurred by Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) for flying Chief Minister to different locations was incorrect.
An official spokesman in response to the assertions made by some elements regarding use of choppers by the Chief Minister has issued following statement.
“Information was sought under RTI regarding use of choppers by Hon’ble Chief Minister, J&K for the last three years.  The Government is committed to transparency in all matters of governance and, therefore, has given out full details of the visits as sought.
However, the expenditure figures relate to the entire department’s flying activities for the last three years.  It is important to understand that Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) also undertakes the task of flying His Excellency the Governor, Hon’ble Union Ministers, Ministers of the State and senior Government officials of the State and Government of India; apart from key police officers in emergency situations.
CAD also carries out casualty evacuations, polling duties, cash couriers to far flung areas and flying people in Gurez and Tangdhar areas during winters when the road gets blocked.  It feries Ministers and officials during natural calamities like earthquake, floods, road blockages due to landslides and village fires and damages due to hailstorms and storms.  The expenditure numbers given out, therefore, are for all the flying activities and not merely for the flights undertaken by the Hon’ble Chief Minister as brought out.
The flights to tourist resorts were not meant for holidaying but to get first hand information on the facilities and progress of the developmental activities and presiding over various Development Authority meetings.  Hon’ble Chief Minister uses the aerial route to visit such places to avoid inconvenience to common public and tourists which get stranded due to his road movements.  Also adequate sorties are required to be cared out to the same location to a single visit of any VVIP to move officers, staff and key security personnel.  All the Chief Ministers right from the time the chopper was procured have been using the facility for security and effective governance.
Choppers are important tools of effective and efficient governance where the Chief Minister and other Ministers can attend to their office work and be with people at various far flung areas in shortest possible time. It must be appreciated that helicopter travel it is a matter of necessity in a state like J&K which comprises of rugged, inhospitable and hazardous terrain spread over a large area.  It enhances access of the Hon’ble Chief Minister and Minister who can reach places which are even inaccessible by road to see the progress of developmental works.
It will be a worthwhile exercise to find out the kind of expenditure incurred by our neighbouring states vis a vis quantum of usage and see how efficiently these machines have been employed by the state”.


Posted by: Helicop Aviation | August 12, 2011

Penalise those making pilots fly in adverse conditions: MPs

A parliamentary committee has asked the government to come up with penal provisions against those travellers, including VIPs, who force helicopter pilots to operate in hostile conditions.

“Some kind of penal provision may be considered against those putting pressure on the pilots to fly without proper clearances,” said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on transport, tourism and culture report, tabled in parliament Thursday.

The committee headed by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) member Sitaram Yechury also recommended that pilots and other technical personnel should be provided with legal and administrative rights to decline flight operations in the absence of technical clearance.

“The committee recommends that technical personnel, pilots be provided adequate legal, administrative protection to decline to fly in the absence of mandatory technical, weather and other clearances,” the report said.

The report observed that undue pressure is put, including for commercial reasons, on technical personnel, including pilots, to ignore key safety related clearance to operate flights.

“It happens mainly in the cases of chartered helicopters and those under the state governments, flying VIPs,” the report said.


Posted by: Helicop Aviation | August 11, 2011

BPL man digs out chopper details

A Below Poverty Line (BPL) man has finally been able to dig out vital information under the Right to Information Act regarding the state government’s expenditure on helicopter sorties.
During the past three years, a whopping Rs 12 crore have been spent on the helicopter sorties availed by the state’s VVIPs, including the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues.
The Civil Aviation Department has issued a statement to the BPL man Bashir Ahmad Malik of Drang village in Budgam district, showing the details of expenditure incurred on the usage of state chopper service from 2009 up to June 2011. Bhat had sought the details from the Chief Minister’s office in June this year.

In 2009-2010, the expenditure on the chopper service has been Rs 2, 49, 99,910. This includes maintenance/inspection/examination charges of Rs 2, 09, 14,566, renewal of license charge of Rs 44,265, landing and parking charge of Rs 6, 52, 365 and insurance of aircraft/helicopters charge of Rs 33, 88,714. During this year, the sorties have consumed fuel worth Rs 93, 75, 327 while the salary of pilots amounts to Rs 1, 19, 63, 190. The total expenditure for the year has been over Rs 4 crores.
Scores of trips have been made by the Chief Minister, security personnel and some ministers during 2009 from different places like Jammu to Katra, Gulmarg to Nehru Helipad, Jammu to Rajouri, Rajouri to Sharda Sharief, Nehru Helipad to Srinagar Airport, Nehru Helipad to Ganderbal, Nehru Helipad to SKICC, Pahalgam to Nehru Helipad, SKICC to Ganderbal and others.

During 2010-11, the expenditure on maintenance, license renewal, landing and parking charges and insurance of aircraft and choppers has been Rs 3, 46, 11,046. This is besides the fuel charges of Rs 96, 46, 869 and the salary of pilots amounting to Rs 1, 54, 89,589. The overall expenditure for the year has been Rs 5, 97, 47,504. During this year as well, trips have been made from Jammu to Islamic University, Baramulla to Srinagar, Srinagar to Udhampur, Jammu to Samba, Srinagar to Kupwara, Nehru Helipad to Dachigam, Nehru Helipad to Sunderbani, Nehru Helipad to Ganderbal along with Dr Farooq Abdullah, Leh to Alchi, Gulmarg to Nehru Helipad and others.

During 2011-12 (upto June), the expenditure on maintenance, license renewal, landing and parking charges and insurance of aircraft and choppers has been Rs 11, 60,993. This is besides the fuel consumed for Rs 19, 97,942 and the salary of pilots amounting to Rs 46, 49,692. The overall expenditure this year till June 2011 stands at Rs 78, 08,567. This year the trips have been made from Mattan to Ashmuqam, Nehru Helipad to Jammu, Kishtwar to Jammu, Jammu to Magam, Jammu to Kalakote, Nehru Helipad to Beerwah, Nehru Helipad to SKICC and others.

The Civil Aviation Department has divulged the details to Bashir Ahmad Malik after he filed a complaint before the State Information Commission (SIC) on denial of information by the Chief Minister’s Office, where he had filed the RTI application on 7 June 2011. “I had filed an RTI application before the Public Information Officer of the Chief Minister’s office on 7/6/2011. I have not yet received the reply. Kindly entertain the complaint under section 15 of the J&K RTI Act of 2009 and seek an explanation from the PIO,” Malik wrote in the complaint, duly entertained by the SIC vide receipt No. 648 dated 11.7.2011.
In the application, Malik had sought details of travel undertaken through the state chopper for the last two years (from 2009 till date) and the amount spent on such travel, along with the expenditure on salary of pilots and fuel. He has also sought to know the amount spent by the Hospitality and Protocol Department on various functions since 2009 to 2011 and also the details of persons who have stayed at Circuit House in Jammu and Kashmir. Malik has desired to inspect the guest register of the Department. While Malik has received the chopper details, he is yet to receive other details. The SIC is also yet to list the case for hearing, though it had reportedly shot off a show-cause notice to the Public Information Officer at the CM’s office.
Pertinently the Civil Aviation Department mentions that it has two helicopters and one fixed wing aeroplanes in the inventory. It says a twin engine helicopter (Augusta 109) is primarily used for the movement of Governor, Chief Minster, senior cabinet ministers of Government of India and important dignitaries like the Vice-President, His Holiness Dalai Lama and others. “The other single engine helicopter (Bell 407) is 9 years old and used for communication duties of other state ministers, government officials, officials of Government of India, police in addition to election duties and casualty evacuation from far off places and assistance to civil administration during natural calamities,” the CAD mentions. “The state plane is again used for the movement of Governor, Chief Minister, central ministers and other important dignitaries, state ministers, officials of state and government of India for their movement to Ladakh, Kargil, Delhi, Srinagar, Jammu. Rajouri etc.”


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