The first A119 Koala built in the U.S. (destined for ERA Helicopters of Anchorage, Alaska) has flown for the first time. Seven months after opening its production facility in Philadelphia, Agusta rolled out the A119 for what proved to be a routine first flight.
Bell/Agusta Aerospace Company
The first Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor made full conversion to airplane mode near Fort Worth, Texas, in late July. On the eve of returning to Italy to take the reins of aircraft two, Agusta test pilot Pietro Venanzi briefed AIN on what the companies learned from this fundamental expansion of the flight envelope.
Having assumed total responsibility for the AB139, how do you plan to deal with the growing backlog of orders?
At the AgustaWestland breakfast yesterday, company president Giuseppe Orsi emphasized the continued integration of the two companies– Agusta and Westland–and the importance of a single corporate face in the marketplace. Both owned by Finmeccanica, the two were officially merged into a single unit in 2000, but full integration of resources has been slow to develop.
In the wake of buying out Bell’s 25-percent stake in the AB139 medium-twin helicopter, AgustaWestland has rebranded the fast-selling model as the AW139. AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi told HAI Convention News that “the helicopter’s success was part of the reasoning behind our decision to realign Bell/Agusta Aerospace. We also wanted to consolidate the company’s industrial presence in the U.S.
As part of a modernization program for its helicopter fleet, AgustaWestland will supply four A109 Powers to Japan’s National Police Agency. Earlier this year, three A109 Powers and an AW139 were delivered to the same organization. This order will bring the total number of A109s in service with the Japanese Police to 11, and the OEM says that the figure is set to “grow significantly” over the coming years.
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