In an earnings conference call this morning, Textron released its first-quarter results and reported revenues of $2.2 billion, down 12.5 percent from the first quarter of last year, blamed largely on the lower deliveries of aircraft and the downsizing of the company’s non-captive finance business.
Spirits were high and attendance reached a healthy 15,243 at Heli-Expo’10, held February 21 to 23 in Houston. The number of exhibitors, 596, was higher than last year, and this year’s attendance was the third highest in Heli-Expo history, underscoring the helicopter industry’s assertion that the diversity of the markets it serves has moderated the effects of the recession.
Iran appears determined to not only maintain its enormous fleet of hundreds of Bell helicopters in the wake of the ongoing U.S. arms embargo against it, but also to make indigenous and unauthorized copies of them. In 2006, Bell filed suit against Iran for making unauthorized knock-offs of several models including 206s and 205s.
Bell Helicopter has announced senior staff changes and the integration of its XworX research and development center into its engineering department, at a time when questions persist about the company’s future role in the BA609 civil tiltrotor program and the launch customer for the 429 light twin helicopter seeks to back out of its purchase agreement.
Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison told a press conference here yesterday that he did not expect an uptick in the company’s civil helicopter sales until 2012 and called the company’s 2009 “quite a year in a very challenging environment.”
Alberta, Canada-based Eagle Copters has an impressive engine modification to show Bell 407 pilots, operators and owners at Heli-Expo 2010. Dubbed the “Eagle 407 HP,” the popular, single-turbine helicopter sports a 1,021-shp Honeywell HTS900 engine. Though still to be flight tested and certified, the engine upgrade has the promise of providing the popular model with the power it needs for improved operations at higher altitudes.
Cobham Audio Control Featured on Bell 429
In its fourth-quarter and year-end report for 2008, Textron– parent company of Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter–forecast the economy would “continue to… result in lower volumes at Cessna.” On January 21 this year, the company announced its fourth-quarter 2009 and end-of-year numbers and it appears the earlier report took an optimistic view of the future.
Bell Helicopter’s new CEO, John Garrison, is expecting 2010 to be a flat year in terms of civil deliveries, but he said he sees significant growth on the military side, thanks to a production ramp-up for the V-22 tiltrotor and the H-1. Military revenues should jump by 15 percent, he added. Bell is here on Stand Q01 and on the static display with the new Bell 429 light twin, which is touring Asia.
Textron, the parent company of Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter, announced fourth-quarter 2009 and end-of-year numbers this morning and the news was somber. Cessna’s revenues for the fourth quarter 2009 dropped $642 million compared with the same period in 2008. Profits decreased $170 million and the order backlog fell 29 percent from the previous quarter, to $4.9 billion, primarily the result of cancellations.