Noise News for Week of January 26, 1997

Product Preview for Noise-Canceling Pilot Headset

PUBLICATION: Business and Commercial Aviation
DATE: February 1997
SECTION: Product Previews; Vol. 80, No. 2; Pg. 86
BYLINE: Linda Martin

Business & Commercial Aviation reports that the latest active noise-canceling headset for fixed-wing and helicopter pilots is available from the David Clark Company.

The article reports that the 20-ounce headset features electronic noise-canceling technology, state-of-the-art composite materials, a patented custom-comfort system, and stereo compatibility. Several models are available, according to the article: the H20-10XL ($715) with a portable battery power pack and standard aviation dual plugs, and the H20-10XP ($770) with a panel-mount module. For helicopter pilots, Model H20-10HXL ($730) is the battery-pack version and H20-HXP ($785) is for panel-mount, the article says.

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Are Corporate Helicopters Coming of Age?

PUBLICATION: Business and Commercial Aviation
DATE: February 1997
SECTION: Management; Vol. 80, No. 2; Pg. 58
BYLINE: Robert Parke

Business & Commercial Aviation reports that the corporate helicopter market experienced a fair-sized expansion in 1996, and industry leaders are positive about the future of the market. The article mentions that noise problems continue to be the largest problem for heliport expansions.

The article details at length the corporate helicopter sales in 1996 and the prospects for the future through interviews with spokespersons from Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Sikorsky, American Eurocopter, Agusta Aerospace Corporation, and McDonnell Douglas Helicopters.

In addition, the article's writer interviewd Frank Jensen, president of the Helicopter Association International (HAI). HAI has aggressively promoted a "Fly Neighborly" noise-abatement program, but, the article reports, helicopter noise has continued to be a major problem for the expansion of heliports that could make corporate helicopters a more attractive option for companies. The Fly Neighborly program urges flying at altitudes that will reduce perceived noise on the ground, and following routes that minimize helicopter sound in noise-sensitive areas. According to Jensen, some of the worst offenders of the program are the military, the police, and government agencies. "I'm sorry to say these operators largely ignore our recommendations and blast around the sky like there was a war on," said Jensen. "They hurt all of us. If only these agencies would issue orders to their members to follow our Fly Neighborly guidance, we would all be better off." Jensen also said that in the long run, technology will greatly help reduce helicopter noise. "The new McDonnell Douglas NOTAR system and the tail-rotor designs of the Eurocopter EC135 already show how quiet helicopters can be," said Jensen. In addition, Jensen noted that other manufacturers are also pursuing noise-reducing designs. Other major hurdles that are controlling the growth of helicopter use, Jensen said, are high direct operating costs and a shortage of suitable heliports.

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