Heli-Bearn, the first French operator of Daher's Kodiak 100 multi-mission aircraft, has been contracted by the country's defence procurement agency to perform paratroop drops that will test and validate parachute systems for the French armed forces.
This contract was awarded by the aeronautical techniques expert centre of France's General Directorate of Armament (DGA-AT), and it covers the rental of a Heli-Bearn Kodiak 100 for a period of five years at the rate of 200 flight hours annually.
“The contract acknowledges our Kodiak 100's multi-mission efficiency and performance, as well as the quality of Heli-Bearn's flight operations,” says Daher aircraft division senior vice president Nicolas Chabbert. “It also represents another DGA recognition of Daher's products and services. We have performed operational support maintenance for the DGA's TBM 700 very fast aircraft for nearly 30 years, along with avionics modernisation on its helicopters. More recently, the DGA ordered a fleet of four new TBM 940s for its support and training missions, with all of these aircraft now delivered.”
Heli-Bearn operates two Kodiak 100s, both of which entered service with the company earlier this year in southwestern France. One of them is equipped for the deployment of paratroopers, and it already has logged nearly 200 flight hours while performing some 600 rotations for civilian skydiving centres in France. It has a sliding door and benches to take up to 15 parachutists, and is capable of climbing to 3,000 m in nine and a half minutes.
The Heli-Bearn Kodiak 100 also has welcomed students from the French military's School of Airborne Troops, which trains paratroopers for the country's armed forces and its Gendarmerie national police force.
Based at Pau-Pyrenees airport, Heli-Bearn performs transportation and aerial work with both fixed-wing airplanes and helicopters, while also providing aviation maintenance, training and consulting services.