Civil Penalty Against Hillsboro Aviation

Internationally well-known flight school Hillsboro Aviation is charged with a $580,000 civil penalty by FAA for allegedly performing improper repairs, deliberately falsifying maintenance records and operating a helicopter in a reckless manner.

The FAA alleges that Hillsboro mechanics used incorrect parts and an unqualified individual to make repairs to a Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopter. The FAA also alleges the company made no record in the aircraft maintenance logs of work performed, and deliberately falsified maintenance documents claiming an airworthiness directive had been completed when the work had not been done.

In all, the company operated the helicopter on at least 103 flights when it was not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations between June 29 and Sept. 9, 2008. At least four of these operations were conducted under Part 135 (Commuter and On-Demand Operations) of the Federal Aviation Regulations.

Hillsboro AviationThe FAA also alleges that Hillsboro mechanics failed to perform the required inspections after specified flight intervals on another Jet Ranger helicopter when the aircraft returned to service after maintenance. Hillsboro operated the aircraft on at least 430 flights, including at least 349 revenue flights under Part 135 between Jan. 13 and Sept. 7, 2008.

The third violation involved the operation of another Jet Ranger on a passenger-carrying flight, July 8, 2008. The pilot flew under the Interstate 5 and 205 highway bridges over the Columbia River in Portland, Ore. The FAA alleged the flight endangered the lives and property of others, because it was conducted within 500 feet of a structure, and at a low altitude where a safe emergency landing might not have been possible.

Source: FAA

Boeing AH-6i Makes First Flight

Boeing today announced that the AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopter successfully completed its first flight on Sept. 16, seven months after the company started work on the prototype aircraft.

During the 36-minute flight at the Boeing Rotorcraft Systems facility in Mesa, Ariz., the helicopter demonstrated its flight characteristics and several handling maneuvers.

Boeing AH-6i

Speaking today at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition, Al Winn, Boeing vice president of Apache Programs, said that Boeing experimental test pilots have subsequently flown the helicopter over the Arizona desert on multiple occasions as they test the platform’s capabilities.

The AH-6i program, launched by Boeing at the 2008 AUSA meeting, is intended for international customers. The AH-6i features flexible mission configuration, an integrated digital cockpit, combat-proven design, the highest payload in its class, an integrated and qualified weapons system, and a communications package that enables connectivity with other aircraft and ground stations.
The AH-6 is based on the civilian MD 530F.

Boeing will produce the AH-6i at its facility in Mesa and is responding to inquiries from potential customers around the world.

Source: Boeing
Photo: Boeing

Helicopter and Plane Collision over Hudson River

A tourist tour helicopter, a Eurocopter AS 350 BA (N401LH), operated by Liberty Helicopter Sightseeing Tours and a Piper PA-32R Lance (N71MC) today collided and crashed into the Hudson River (New York). The Piper was heading from Teterboro Airport to Ocean City, NJ, with 3 people aboard. It’s believed that the helicopter had 6 people aboard. Nobody survived.

According to CNN the plane “had a wing sheared off and began “corkscrewing” into the water. The helicopter “dropped like a rock” after the collision”.

Photo of the Helicopter

More at CNN:

Hotelicopter – World’s First Flying Hotel

This summer the world’s first flying hotel will take off! The aircraft called “Hotelicopter” – a custom-built helicopter, actually the largest helicopter ever produced, will feature 18 luxuriously-appointed rooms for adrenaline junkies seeking a truly unique and memorable travel experience. On June 26th, 2009 the Hotelicopter will start to its 14 day Inaugural Summer Tour to/from New York – via Charleston, Freeport/Bahamas, Montego Bay/Jamaica, Santo Domingo/Dominican Republic, Nassau/Bahamas, Miami.
A California Tour and European Tour will follow in July.


Each soundproofed room is equipped with a queen-sized bed, fine linens, a mini-bar, coffee machine, wireless internet access, and all the luxurious appointments you’d expect from a flying five star hotel. Room service is available as well.


More on

Happy April Fools’ Day! 😀

Boeing – New AH-6 Program

(Boeing) Boeing today announced a new rotorcraft program, the AH-6 light attack/reconnaissance helicopter.
Designed on a combat-proven platform with a heritage of successful service with U.S. Army Special Operations, the AH-6 is designed to meet the current requirements of international military customers while maintaining flexibility for future growth.

“Boeing has been approached by several potential customers seeking light attack and reconnaissance capabilities in a flexible rotorcraft platform,” Dave Palm, director of Boeing Rotorcraft Business Development, said today at the Association of the United States Army’s annual convention in Washington, D.C. “We believe this system is a perfect fit for those customers seeking long endurance, proven performance and 2,000-pound payload within an affordable helicopter.”

The AH-6 features an Electro-Optical/Infrared forward-looking sight system as well as a mount for weapons that have been qualified on the aircraft, including Hellfire missiles, the M260 seven-shot rocket pod, a machine gun and a mini-gun integrated with a sensor system. A communications package allows the AH-6 to connect to other aircraft and to ground stations.

Boeing will produce the AH-6 at its Rotorcraft Systems facility in Mesa, Ariz., and will draw on that organization’s existing secure supply base to ensure on-time, on-cost delivery.

Source: Boeing

First Flight of AH-64D Apache Block III

The Boeing Company, U.S. Army leaders, supplier representatives and other guests celebrated the first flight of the AH-64D Apache Block III helicopter this week in Mesa, Ariz. Just prior to a ceremony attended by more than 300 people at the company’s Apache production facility, the aircraft was flown by two Apache-rated aviators – U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody and an Army experimental test pilot, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Rucie Moore.

AH-64D Apache Block III

Experimental test pilots – one U.S. Army soldier and one Boeing teammate – initially flew this Block III prototype aircraft over the Arizona desert on June 27 in preparation for this week’s ceremony.

Block III improvements include increasing digitization, the joint tactical radio system, enhanced engines and drive systems, capability to control UAVs, new composite rotor blade and landing gear upgrades. The new blades, which successfully completed flight testing in May 2004, increase the Apache’s cruise speed, climb rate and payload capability.

The Army awarded Boeing the first Apache Block III contract in June 2005. In accordance with contractual milestones, Boeing plans to begin Low Rate Initial Production in April 2010 and to deliver the first production AH-64D Apache Block III in June 2011.

Photo Credit: Boeing Image

Chinese Aircraft Look-A-Likes

I decided to create a list with aircrafts built in China, but looking confusingly similar to western types. I’m not generally claiming that they were copied. Some might have been built in license, some might use officially licensed parts.

This list will occasionally be updated. Please leave a comment if you know further types.

China Star CS2000
Looks like: Boeing 787

Comparison China Star CS2000 and Boeing 787

Looks like: Douglas DC-9 / McDonnell Douglas MD-80/90 / Boeing 717

Comparison AVIC ARJ21 and DC-9
Comparison AVIC ARJ21-700 and DC-9-10

Shanghai Y-10 (canceled in 1983)
Looks like: Boeing 707-320

Comparison Shanghai Y-10 and Boeing 707-320

Xian MA60
Looks like: Antonov An-26

Comparison Xian MA60 and Antonov An-26

Chengdu JF-17/FC-1
Looks like: Northrop F-20 Tigershark

Comparison JF-17/FC-1 and Northrop F-20 Tigershark

Chengdu J-10
Looks like: Israel IAI Lavi B

Comparison Chengdu J-10 and Israel IAI Lavi B

Changhe Z11
Looks like: Eurocopter AS-350 Ecureuil

Comparison Changhe Z11 and Eurocopter AS-350 Ecureuil

Changhe Z8
Looks like: Aérospatiale Super Frelon

Comparison Changhe Z8 and Aérospatiale Super Frelon

Photo Credits:
China Star CS2000 by:; Boeing 787 by: Boeing; ARJ21 by: AVIC; DC-9 by: Paul Robbins; Shanghai Y-10 by: Taecoxu; Boeing 707 by: Gerard Helmer; Xian MA60 by: AVICI; Antonov An-26 by: Kristof Jonckheere; JF-17 & F-20 By: Wikipedia; J-10 & Lavi by: Unknown; Changhe Z-11 by: Yuxiaobin; Eurocopter AS-350 Ecureuil by: Marco Toso; Changhe Z8 by: unknown; Aérospatiale Super Frelon by: Wikipedia