AgustaWestland last month unveiled a special variant of the A109S Grand light twin, dubbed Da Vinci, with improved avionics. Launch customer Rega, Switzerland’s air rescue organization, has placed firm orders for 11 copies of the light-twin helicopter and has options for four more. The Da Vincis will succeed the agency’s A109K2s.
Helicopter operator Inaer introduced Einforex, a system that updates 3-D maps with firefighting information such as fire front location, past water drops and populated areas. The government of Spain tested the system last summer. Einforex will cost U60,000 ($80,000) for a three-month campaign.
The “Grand Adventure” concluded yesterday morning at New York La Guardia Airport. Helicopter pilots Scott Kasprowicz and Steve Sheik flew a stock twin-engine 2007 AgustaWestland A109S Grand 20,078 miles in a little more than 11 days, shattering the old record by almost six days. The pair beat the record without auxiliary fuel tanks, chase airplanes or an elaborate mission control.
Philadelphia-based Agusta Aerospace recently completed a 15-month project by delivering the last two of eight A109E Power commercial helicopters ordered by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Modified with specialized military equipment to support the service’s interdiction mission, the Agusta helicopters bear the Coast Guard designation MH-68 Mako.
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.
No stranger to the skies, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s piloting skills are part of his well known resume. Along the road to building his billion-dollar business media empire and successfully running for the leadership of the world’s most exciting city, Bloomberg became a licensed aviator for both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft (his current favorites for personal flight are said to be an Agusta A109 and Mooney piston single).
Operators of the Agusta A109E Power twin-turbine helicopter and the Agusta A119K Koala single-turbine helicopter were required by emergency ADs issued last month to reduce Vne speeds by 20 kt. The FAA said there are continuing problems with tail-rotor cracks, and that reducing the Vne decreases tail-rotor loading. Additional tail-rotor hub and blade mods necessary for the A119K are not required for the A109E.
AGUSTA A109E, DALLAS, TEXAS, SEPT. 3, 2003–The Agusta twin-engine helicopter (N143CF) was substantially damaged at approximately 7:50 p.m. CDT during an aborted takeoff from the Methodist Dallas Medical Center helipad. The commercial pilot received minor injuries and the flight paramedic and flight nurse were uninjured.
Owners and operators of all U.S.-registered Agusta A109E Power helicopters are being required to reduce their tail-rotor blade life limit, as well as reinserting and possibly modifying the tail-rotor hub and grip assembly. Also, Vne for the A109E must be reduced by 28 kt to 140 kt.
Boise, Idaho-based Aviation Specialties Unlimited has installed night-vision goggles in Reach Air Medical Services’ Agusta A109, Bell 407 and BO 105 fleet. Chief pilot Vicky Spediacci said that Reach, based at Santa Rosa, Calif., put its crews through an FAA-approved structured and specific training program provided by the equipment supplier.