Tag Archives: Ecureuil

To the rescue in Nepal

UPDATED 28 APRIL 2015 | The strong earthquake that hit Nepal on 25 April 2015, with 7.8 on the Richter scale the country’s strongest in 80 years, has had nations scramble their resources to come to the rescue of the Himalayan state. Several countries have put part of their air forces on alert to dispatch aid and rescue / recovery teams to the areas hit.

As expected other Asian nations have responded fairly fast. According to sources in New Delhi the Indian Air Force have directed a pair of its ten Boeing C-17A Globemaster IIIs strategic airlifters to the rescue / recovery / repatriation effort, as well as a Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules, an Ilyushin IL-76 and a pair of Mil Mi-17 helicopters. The Republic of Singapore Air Force is sending three of its ten Hercules aircraft; the Pakistan Air Force sent four of its 18 C-130s and the Royal Thai Air Force committed Hercs as well. Qatar dispatched two civilian Qatar Airways Cargo Airbus A330 to Kathmandu. China sent its rescue team on an Air China Airbus A330.

Archive photo of a Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 taking off from Male at the Maldives in May 2007 (Image (CC) DD, Male, Maldives)
Archive photo of a Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 taking off from Male at the Maldives in May 2007 (Image (CC) DD, Male, Maldives)

Sweden initially committed a team of 72 men and women plus 12 dogs to help Nepalese authorities in the search for survivors and recovery efforts, but later decided to send 30 people and no dogs on board a civilian freighter. The team has enough supplies and essentials to be self-sufficient for two weeks and left Örebro Airport in the centre of the country at around 21:20 local time on Monday 27 April. Earlier it was thought that the bigger team would go on one of the EU/NATO’s three C-17A Globmasters based at Papa Airbase in Hungary. Sweden is one of the main users of this small pool of European airlift.

A Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10 (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10. More is here. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

The Netherlands sent a Urban Search and Rescue team of 62 men/women and 8 dogs to the area, using a Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) KDC-10. The team will depart the Netherlands on Sunday evening. Five tonnes of aid accompanies the team on board the RNLAF aircraft. The UK is sending a C-17 Globemaster and C-130 Hercules, while the US  has ordered a C-17 with 70 disaster assistance personnel and 45 square tonnes of cargo to the region.

Nepal Army Air Wing
The resources of Nepal itself are spread thin. The Nepal Army Air Wing only has a few air assets available. The fixed wing fleet consists of two Antonov AN-28 light transport aircraft, a Britten Norman BN-2 Islander utility aircraft and a Hawker Siddeley HS 748 transport aircraft.

It was daring move by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), designing and building its own utility helicopter; the Dhruv ('Polaris'). This Indian army Dhruv is seen doing a display for potential buyers. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Made in and delivered by India: the Nepal Army Air Wing operates four Dhruvs similar to this Indian Army example (Image © Elmer van Hest)

A quartet of Indian-made HAL Dhruv, four Alouette IIIs and five Mil Mi-17 “Hip” make up the mainstay of the rotary wing. It is complemented by a Eurocopter (Airbus Helicotpers) AS350 Écureuil and two Aérospatiale SA315 Alouette IIs/Lamas. A bigger Eurocopter (Airbus Helicopters) AS332 Puma is configured for VIP flights. The Nepal Army has only one main base of operations, part of Kathmandu Airport, but there are at least 36 airfields spread across the country that can be used for air operations.

It is not known if and how many aircraft in Nepal have been damaged by the earthquake. Private rotary wing is available as well, but we have no numbers at this time.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): The third Boeing C-17 Globemaster III for the Indian Air Force leaving the factory plant at Long Beach for India at August 20th, 2013 (Image © Boeing)

The Chinese rescue response team to the 25 April 2015 Earthquake in Nepal arrived on board an Air China Airbus A330, similar to this one (Image (CC) Kentaro Ieomoto)
The Chinese rescue response team to the 25 April 2015 Earthquake in Nepal arrived on board an Air China Airbus A330, similar to this one (Image (CC) Kentaro Ieomoto)

Moneymaking Merkel: Airbus sells big time

The Airbus Helicopters AS350B3 (Image © Anthony Pecchi / Airbus Helicopters)
The Airbus Helicopters AS350B3 (Image © Anthony Pecchi / Airbus Helicopters)

The guys and girls at Airbus Helicopters must have given a few high fives today, as the European chopper manufacturer clearly profits from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s state visit to Beijing. A whopping 123 rotorcraft will be delivered by Airbus over the next five years to three general aviation operators in China.

The rotorcraft will be used for various tasks, including utility work, aerial tours, passenger transport, business aviation, emergency medical services and search and rescue.

The three contracts were signed with Fujian Xinmei General Aviation Co., Guangdong Baiyun and Yunnan Fengxiang. The total fleet of 123 helicopters comprises mainly light single-engine helicopters from Airbus Helicopters’ Ecureuil family, as well as the light twin-engine EC135.

Fujian Xinmei GAC will be acquiring five AS350 B3e choppers, to be delivered this year. It also committed itself to an additional 50 light single- and twin-engine helicopters over the next six years.

Guangdong Baiyun GAC has placed an order for 50 Ecureuil and EC135 helicopters. An EC130 T2 from the Ecureuil family will be delivered this year; while the first three EC135 T2e will arrive by April 2015. The remaining aircraft are expected in the country in the next five years, as Baiyun aims to grow its business in general aviation, particularly in the relatively new segments of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS), search and rescue and corporate transportation.

Yunnan Fengxiang GAC, a new company, buys 18 AS350 B3e choppers to add to the pair already in service with Yunnan. The first four helicopters are scheduled to be delivered this year. The remaining 14 aircraft are expected in the next two years, and Fengxiang intends to engage in multiple missions including aerial tours, business aviation and even HEMS.

Source: Airbus Helicopters