British International has ambitions to introduce scheduled services in the UK within the next 10 years using the proposed Bell/Agusta BA619 tiltrotor airliner. The company’s managing director, David Hayler, told AIN “The future regional airliner is the tiltrotor,” and his 10-year vision sees use of a 19-seat stretched development of the BA609, soon to begin flight trials.
Aviation International News » January 2002
For the helicopter owner, operator or flight program looking to cut costs while simultaneously maintaining or expanding existing levels of service, Agusta’s A119 Koala may be the answer. Certified in 1999, the single-engine Koala has many of the same capabilities of, and in fact is faster than, most light twins.
There are some jobs only helicopters can do. One of them: transport a pair of environmentally friendly lavatories to the top of a Japanese mountain. The ladies’ and men’s rooms are part of a shelter atop 3,280-ft Mount Daisen, a popular hiking destination some 320 mi west of Tokyo.
Agusta has delivered the first A109E Power to be driven by Turbomeca’s newly FAA-certified Arrius 2K1 engines to Erie, Pa.-based aeromedical transport provider Life Star, which operates the aircraft under a lease with CJ Systems Aviation Group of Pittsburgh. A second Arrius 2K1-powered A109E is about to be delivered to Duke University’s aeromed network operating out of Durham, N.C.
AgustaWestland scored a big win last month with the sale of 12 new search-and-rescue (SAR)-configured EH 101 helicopters to the Portuguese government. In a deal valued at $313 million, Portugal voted to buy a fleet of the Anglo-Italian helicopters to replace its SAR fleet of Eurocopter Pumas. In winning the deal, AgustaWestland beat out an offer from Sikorsky for an equal number of its developing S-92 rotorcraft.
It’s on the sectional. It’s been the subject of notams dating back decades. And yet it always seems that when NASA is about to launch yet another space shuttle, somebody blunders into the no-fly area extending for miles around the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in east central Florida. On December 4, it was a Bell 214 that strayed into the no-no zone a few hours before the 5:45 p.m. (EST) liftoff time of the space shuttle Endeavor.
It’s a sad fact of economic life that there is often opportunity in tragedy, and while some helicopter industry leaders aren’t necessarily looking to cash in on the worldwide terrorism scare, they have approached the U.S. government with a proposal that would make thousands of commercial helicopters available in times of national crisis.
Despite the fact that the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67A engines are installed on the first BA609 prototype tiltrotor, Bell is letting the development schedule of that aircraft slip, with its previously planned first flight moving from last month to sometime this summer. Assembly of a further pair of prototypes has also slowed dramatically.
Coping with a slowdown in both commercial and military sales, Bell Helicopter has laid off 45 more nonunion employees, bringing to 800 the number of jobs it has eliminated in its Dallas/Fort Worth and Mirabel, Quebec plants since September. While the layoffs have been taken from nearly every division of the company, by far the largest percentage has come from manufacturing operations.
A Robinson R44 operated by Milwaukee TV station WISN crashed late in the afternoon of December 12, killing its pilot, 47-year-old John Michael Wilson, and causing a nine-vehicle chain-reaction collision on Interstate 43 west of Milwaukee. A total of 12 motorists were injured, none critically. The accident happened in rainy weather, conditions sufficiently severe to preclude a local aeromedical rescue helo from flying to the crash site.