John Garrison, CEO of Bell Helicopter (Booth No. 9846), said on Sunday he believed that 2011 was the market bottom for the civil helicopter sector and that Bell’s newly-announced 525 super-medium twin program would proceed regardless of whether the Pentagon ordered more V-22 Bell/Boeing tiltrotors after 2014.
Twenty-five consecutive years is a long time to be in the aviation parts and servicing business, if your principal customers operate helicopters. The first practical helicopters have been around for less than 60 years. But it takes more than just endurance to become a Gold Seal Bell Helicopter customer service facility.
Just what is behind the curtain? Nearly a decade of speculation surrounding trademark and patent filings, leaked inter-company memos, and rumors concerning a major new model may be coming to an end for Bell Helicopter. The company is set to make a big announcement at its booth (No. 9846) at 11:30 this morning here at Heli-Expo.
Airwolf Aerospace of Middlefield, Ohio (Booth No.10243) announced it has received FAA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval for its recently PMA-approved Torsion-Tension-(TT) Straps for Bell 206 JetRanger, 206L LongRanger and OH 58 helicopters, as well as STCs from the European Aviation Safety Association (EASA), Brazil’s Agencia Nacional de Aviacao Civil (ANAC) and Transport Canada.
These STCs will allow installation of the straps in regions of the world that do not otherwise permit use of PMA parts for flight critical components.
Just down the road from the Dallas Convention Center is the Arlington home of the long-awaited AW609 tiltrotor program. Following AgustaWestland’s move late last year to complete the full takeover of the program from former partner Bell Helicopters, the tiltrotor is a full-blown Italian now. While work on the program will continue in the Lone Star state, all roads lead not so much to Rome, as to Agusta’s headquarters at Cascina Costa, just north of Milan.
Aw, c’mon, Textron. Seriously?
You don’t want Electronic Arts (EA) to use depictions of some of your rotorcraft in the video game Battlefield 3? You’re claiming that EA’s use of images of the AH-1Z, UH-1Y and V-22 infringe on your trademark and dress right?
Several filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Bell Helicopter Textron in late December provide strong hints of new product announcements likely to come next month at Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo convention in Dallas. According to the filings, Bell is requesting trademarks for “525SMT,” “Magellan” and “407GT.”
Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter parent company Textron is reportedly conducting a “strategic review” that could result in the divestiture of some of its businesses, according to Reuters. Similar speculation surfaced about two years ago, with no spin-offs resulting. However, analysts believe that the outcome might be different this time, as Textron’s defense businesses encounter declining military spending. Bell Helicopter was specifically named in the story as being a candidate for divestiture.
Bell will build its new medium-twin Magellan helicopter in Texas, company CEO John Garrison revealed in a memo sent to employees yesterday.
Bell Helicopter has put a price on playing catch-up: $1 billion. That’s how much the Textron company plans to spend on accelerated research and development, new and renovated facilities, taxable inventory and operations during the next four to five years. It’s all in an effort to recapture some of the market share Bell has lost to Eurocopter and AgustaWestland over the last three decades.