While AgustaWestland (Booth No. 1320) continues the integration of its two ancestral helicopter companies–Italy’s Agusta and the UK’s Westland, joined together under Italian industrial giant Finmeccanica in 2000–it is also concentrating on presenting a single corporate face in the marketplace.
Bell/Agusta Aerospace Company
The second prototype of the Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor (S/N 60002) logged its first flight on November 9 at AgustaWestland’s facility in Cameri, Italy. During the flight, which lasted 52 minutes, the nacelle/rotors were tilted 15 degrees forward of vertical thrust. BA609 S/N 60003 is already at Cameri and S/N 60004 is on the assembly line in Fort Worth, Texas.
AgustaWestland is acquiring Bell Helicopter’s 25-percent interest in the AB139 twin-turbine helicopter and increasing its stake in the Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor. Consolidating the ownership of the AB139 will provide “increased sales and improved customer support,” according to AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppi Orsi. Bell Helicopter and AgustaWestland remain partners on the Model 412 and the U.S. Presidential fleet of US-101s.
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.
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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