Bell/Agusta Aerospace engineers working on the BA609 Tiltrotor have stepped up their certification efforts and now plan more than 100 hours of flight testing this year–a major acceleration over the 300 hours logged since 2003. However, the first flight of the third prototype faces yet another delay. Bell/Agusta now expects certification of the hybrid helicopter/airplane design in three years.
REB Technologies (Rebtech), Booth No. 4035, is modifying eight Bell helicopters with night-vision-goggle- compatible lighting systems for Med Trans of Lewisville, Texas. The Bedford, Texas-based specialist in night-vision lighting for civil and military aircraft is upgrading the interior lighting of a Bell 206-L1 and seven 407s in a program scheduled for completion next month.
Despite delays that have slowed progress on the Bell/Agusta BA609, AgustaWestland CEO Guiseppe Orsi insisted the program remains on track for certification and first customer deliveries in 2011.
Bell Helicopter is “optimizing” its product line to accelerate deliveries of its high-demand aircraft, namely the Bell 407, 412 and 429. While the Fort Worth, Texas manufacturer is increasing its manufacturing capacity in these models, it is ending production of the Bell 206B3 JetRanger, 210, 427 and 430 by 2010.
In 1965, Indonesian president Sukarno characterized the tumultuous (he was overthrown) political period to come as “The Year of Living Dangerously,” the title of his annual state-of-the-nation address.
To reduce to its essence a recent interview with HAI president Roy Resavage, one might characterize the 12 months since the last HAI Heli-Expo as “The Year in Which Survival Was Its Own Form of Victory.”
In the face of what market forecasters predict will be nearly another full decade of flat civil helicopter sales, manufacturers have been loath to risk precious capital to develop models whose market reception would likely be less than enthusiastic. The result has been a handful of new designs, some riskier than others. Herein, the details…
As the vertical lift industry convenes in Dallas next month (February 9 to 11) for the 55th HAI Heli-Expo trade show and meeting, it is a dazed and uncertain business beset by flat markets, rising (often ruinous) insurance rates, a growing shortage of rotorcraft pilots and mechanics and a soft overall economy.
Following up on the strategy it announced at last year’s HAI to expand in the helicopter parts and service market, Bell Helicopter Textron has announced that it acquired the helicopter skid shoe business of Calimesa, Calif.-based Carbide Technology. The $1-million-a-year-revenue business line will become part of Edwards & Associates, a unit of Textron that provides parts, service and modifications for the helicopter market.
Taking its place on Bell Helicopter’s Arlington, Texas, tiltrotor test stands for the first time last month, the long-awaited first of a planned four Bell/ Agusta 609 convertiplane prototypes began its engine runups in December. First flight is loosely scheduled for the first quarter of this year. The six- to 10-passenger aircraft will undergo a planned 40 to 50 hr of static testing before flight.
Earlier this year, Bell Helicopter celebrated the 40th anniversary of its popular single-turbine light helicopter, the JetRanger. The Bell JetRanger is the most ubiquitous turbine single-engine civilian helicopter in the world.