Textron, the parent company of both Bell Helicopter and Cessna Aircraft, reported overall revenues of $2.6 billion for the second quarter, down from $2.8 billion in the same period last year. The company noted that higher revenues at Bell, as well as at its Fastening Systems and Industrial and Finance segments, were offset by lower revenues at Cessna. Cessna revenues and profits decreased $282 million and $55 million respectively.
In a surprise move at last month’s Paris Air Show, the much anticipated Bell/Agusta Aerospace AB139 received its type certification from the Italian aeronautical authority, ENAC, which also approved IFR operations.
Russia’s Oboronprom Corporation and AgustaWestland announced the signing of a heads of agreement for the joint final assembly of the AW139 medium twin helicopter in a still-to-be-built factory near Moscow. According to Oboronprom director general Andrey Reus, outlined plans call for a production rate of 24 helicopters per year.
Bell Helicopter (Chalet L3-7) here in a press conference yesterday strongly hinted the company is about to transfer more work to partner AgustaWestland in the protracted BA609 Tiltrotor program. “We are looking for the most efficient way to get the aircraft certified and we’ll possibly find some efficiencies in Italy,” Mike Blake, executive v-p for customer solutions, said. While one test aircraft resides
Bell Helicopter here on Monday announced an order for 14 helicopters–12 Bell 407s and two Bell 206B3s–from Australia-based sales representative Hawker Pacific. “Strong growth in the Oceania market ranges from aviation logistics support in Papua New Guinea, aerial support of mining in New Caledonia and corporate/private operators in Australia/New Zealand,” Hawker Pacific CEO Alan Smith explained.
Bell Helicopter will likely confirm another one-year delay for the civil BA609 Tiltrotor program during a press conference here today, judging by a new development schedule released by program partner AgustaWestland. This year, the company expects a postponement of certification from “2010/2011,” as announced in June 2007, to “2011/early 2012.”
A Bell Helicopter spokesman denied speculation that the company plans to pull the plug on the Bell/Agusta BA609 civil tiltrotor or sell its entire stake in the program to Italian development partner AgustaWestland. Speculation about Bell’s future in the program escalated earlier this week after Bell CEO Richard Millman told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “We designed the 609 for a new U.S.
Eurocopter has filed a lawsuit in Canada against Bell Helicopter alleging that the Texas company improperly used a patented landing-gear design on the Bell 429. According to Bell’s publicity, the 429 features an energy-attenuating sled-type landing gear. “Our lawyers are looking at the lawsuit,” a Bell spokesman told AIN.
The fortunes of the Bell/Agusta BA609 are closely linked to those of the U.S. Marines’ MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor transport, still grounded following a pair of well-publicized fatal accidents and even more sensational charges of records falsification and related wrongdoing by senior Marine program managers.
Coping with a slowdown in both commercial and military sales, Bell Helicopter has laid off 45 more nonunion employees, bringing to 800 the number of jobs it has eliminated in its Dallas/Fort Worth and Mirabel, Quebec plants since September. While the layoffs have been taken from nearly every division of the company, by far the largest percentage has come from manufacturing operations.