Italian police arrested the current and former CEOs of AgustaWestland on bribery charges this morning and raided the company’s Milan headquarters. Giuseppe Orsi, who served as the helicopter manufacturer’s CEO until December 2011 and is currently head of its parent company, Finmeccanica, was taken into custody, while current AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini was placed under house arrest.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
Argus’s Professional Resources In System Management (Prism) division is now offering safety management system (SMS) packages at special pricing for helicopter operators. According to Prism, its new “affordable” pricing for small operators of one or two aircraft “makes a functional SMS even more accessible to the entire helicopter industry.” The Prism essential and professional subscription packages provide a “comprehensive” set of tools to assist aviation companies as they implement and manage an effective SMS program, Argus said.
In just over a month, more than 20,000 rotorcraft enthusiasts will fill the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center for four days of networking, learning and, every business hopes, buying of services, parts, accessories and helicopters. While the exhibit halls open on a Tuesday this year (10:30 a.m. on March 5), early activities begin with professional education courses starting on February 28.
Several helicopter EMS accidents occurred over the last couple of months in the U.S.
On Tuesday, the NTSB faulted maintenance performance and procedures at Las Vegas, Nev.-based air-tour operator Sundance Helicopters as the probable cause of the Dec. 7, 2011 crash of an AS350B2 that killed the pilot and four passengers near the Hoover Dam in Nevada. The 1988 helicopter was originally manufactured as an AS350B and had accumulated 25,216 hours since new.
Last year proved another year of growth for Eurocopter, despite continued erosion of deliveries. Revenues were up by 15 percent, at €6.3 billion ($8.4 billion), but deliveries dropped to 475 aircraft, the lowest number since 2005 and short of the predicted “500 plus.”
Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with Brazilian aircraft company Embraer to establish a joint venture to manufacture AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil for both the domestic and regional military and civilian markets.
Less than two months after two possible weather-related fatal crashes of EMS helicopters in Illinois and Iowa, the FAA has issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin covering recommendations for rotorcraft flying into snowy or icy conditions. The SAIB describes procedures to reduce the probability of an uncommanded in-flight engine shutdown due to snow and/or ice ingestion and reminds operators that most helicopters are neither equipped nor approved for flight into icing conditions.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered a review of the regulation of helicopter flights over central London in the wake of an accident yesterday in which an AgustaWestland AW109 Power crashed into a newly erected crane on a high-rise building in the UK capital’s Vauxhall district. The accident claimed the life of pilot Pete Barnes, the sole occupant of the helicopter, which was being operated by UK-based charter firm RotorMotion.
Enstrom Helicopter announced late last week that it has been acquired by Chongqing Helicopter Investment Co. (CQHIC) for an undisclosed price. Chongqing is the fourth-largest metropolitan area in China. Menominee, Mich.-based Enstrom manufactures single-engine helicopters, including the 480B turbine and F28 piston series.