Dart Helicopter’s Apical Industries has received EASA approval for its Tri-Bag Emergency Float System on the AgustaWestland A119/AW119 Mk II. The system includes two forward and two aft bags and a baggage compartment reservoir option. It is available with or without external life rafts and is compatible with ground-handling wheels. With bags deployed, the helicopter can be water towed at speeds up to 10 knots.
Aviation International News » September 2008
New York and Las Vegas are two of the most rarefied helicopter markets in the country. While the winds of fortune can be lucrative for operators and service providers in both places, the environments also feature cut-throat competition, congested airspace, an aggressive amount of multi-level government oversight and regulation and robust anti-noise litigation from an affluent citizenry and their environmentalist allies.
AgustaWestland last year invested 11 percent of its revenues in research and development. It is a co-leader (with Eurocopter) of the CleanSky Joint Technology Initiative, a major European research program, and is studying active blade control to reduce noise. Planned is ground testing of an active blade segment, then wind tunnel testing of a complete model and eventually flight-testing of such a new rotor.
AgustaWestland has announced a weight upgrade and Russian assembly plans for the AW139 medium twin, while new helicopter models are in development and a series of efforts is launched in customer support.
Boeing plans to expand the flight envelope of its unmanned vertical aerial vehicle A160T Hummingbird from the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville. The A160T set a world endurance record earlier this year, flying for 18.7 hours before landing with two hours of fuel remaining. Test plans call for the Hummingbird eventually to reach an altitude of 30,000 feet.
American Eurocopter is adding 150 employees at its Golden Triangle plant in Mississippi over the next 18 to 24 months to support an increased production rate of the UH-72A Lakota, its EC 145 variant for the U.S. Army. Currently 176 employees work at the plant, which also assembles AS 350 AStars and provides support for U.S. Coast Guard AS 365 Dolphins.
AgustaWestland has announced that orders in the first half of this year have risen by 10 percent over the same period last year, to U1.62 billion ($2.5 billion). Meanwhile, the Anglo-Italian helicopter maker is creating a subsidiary company in Portugal, called AgustaWestland Portugal, to provide complete helicopter support services. Its first contract is to maintain the Portuguese Air Force’s 12 AW-101 transport helicopters.
South African-based maintenance specialist Thunder City is offering for Eurocopter Pumas a modernization program that the company claims extends the life of the medium twin. The program consists mainly of a P4 structural check and the installation of a five-display glass cockpit made by Chelton Flight Systems. The company claims the program ensures the mechanical soundness of the helicopter and provides improved pilot situational awareness.
Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling in July predicted that the company would sell between 650 and 700 helicopters this year, up from previous expectations of 600. The civil and parapublic market is expected to account for more than 50 percent of sales. Bertling said only the U.S. corporate segment is suffering.
While many politicians enjoy “fact-finding” trips to far-flung places during their vacations, Georgia Gov. Ervin “Sonny” Perdue has been staying closer to home and using his free time to obtain a helicopter pilot rating. Perdue already held single, multi-engine and commercial fixed-wing pilot ratings.