In Vergiate, Italy, last month, AgustaWestland delivered an AW139 to VIH Cougar Helicopters. The U.S. operator will use the 12-passenger aircraft for offshore transport missions in the Gulf of Mexico. A few days earlier, Eurocopter handed over two EC145s to Helicopteros Marinos, an Argentinean offshore operator that serves the oil and gas industry in the southernmost area of the country.
A preview of what future AgustaWestland helicopters’ cockpits will look like was seen in the AW149 mockup exhibited at the Paris airshow last June.
The new approach promises to reduce costs, both in the development phase and in the life cycles of aircraft. The higher degree of cockpit commonality among AgustaWestland models promises to save money on pilot training and enhance fleet flexibility.
Limited funding for the Lockheed Martin/AgustaWestland VH-71 presidential helicopter, which is based on the triple-engine AgustaWestland AW101, made it into the final FY2010 U.S. defense appropriations bill, reviving the model’s chances of one day flying U.S. presidents. At direction of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the Pentagon had terminated the program on May 15 last year.
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) plans to order 22 new Chinooks, in its latest response to widespread criticism over the shortage of heavy helicopter lift to support British troops in Afghanistan. Last September, the RAF announced for its existing fleet of 38 Chinooks a $650 million upgrade program named Project Julius that consists of a cockpit upgrade and more powerful engines.
The VH-71 presidential helicopter program, which was terminated in May by the Secretary of Defense, received life support on December 19 when the President signed the FY2010 Defense Appropriations Bill. Earlier last year, Obama had threatened to veto the bill if it contained funding for the program.
Donaldson’s Aerospace Filtration Systems (AFS) unit has received supplemental type certificate approval from the FAA for an inlet barrier filter (IBF) system for the AgustaWestland AW139. The new AW139 IBF system features low-profile conformal fore and aft fairings with dual filter assemblies mounted on the existing engine doors, creating a sealed intake plenum and an alternate inlet air bypass system activated by a cockpit switch.
Limited funding for the Lockheed Martin/AgustaWestland VH-71 presidential helicopter, which is based on the three-engine AgustaWestland AW101, has made it into the final FY2010 U.S. defense appropriations bill (H.R. 3326), reviving the machine’s chances of one day flying the President. At the direction of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the Pentagon terminated the program on May 15 last year.
Capitol Hill observers expect the House and Senate conference committee on defense appropriations to issue its final report this week. In it could be included some $129 million designated for the VH-71 presidential helicopter program.
Poland-based PZL-Swidnik late in October delivered its 1,000th helicopter fuselage–an
AgustaWestland last week achieved two significant milestones, with the first flights of two new military helicopter designs on consecutive days. First to fly was the AW159 Lynx Wildcat, which lifted off on Thursday at Yeovil in the UK. The aircraft performed “as expected” in general handling checks, according to chief test pilot Donald Maclaine.