AgustaWestland has begun delivering a tailored version of the AW109S Grand to Swiss air rescue organization Rega. The Da Vinci, the result of a set of specifications issued by Rega to replace its A109 K2s, is thus not offered to other customers.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has two helicopter engine programs nearing the final stages of development and both remain on schedule.
The annual Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo–at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston February 21 to 23–opens at a time of continued uncertainty about the direction of the global economy. Last year, the buzz at the show revolved around how fortunate the helicopter industry was because its members serve such diverse users, including commercial, corporate, government and military customers.
Both product support and research and development have taken hits in the helicopter industry as cash flow and current sales shrink, while future orders are clouded by important changes and growing uncertainty in key customer sectors.
The prototype of the Eurocopter EC 175 made its “official maiden flight” on December 17, almost two weeks after its actual first flight on December 4 in Marignane, France. The flight-test phase is now well under way. The event, attended by customers, employees, suppliers and journalists, was also the opportunity for Eurocopter to highlight the cooperation with China’s Avicopter.
The Eurocopter EC 175 medium twin helicopter made its first flight on Friday at the company’s headquarters in Marignane, France, according to a source close to Eurocopter. Another source–a Eurocopter official–told AIN that the first flight was the culmination of almost one month of ground tests. The manufacturer will stage an official “maiden flight” on Thursday next week.
Russian air transport giant UTair Aviation (Booth No. 1225) took center stage at Heli-Expo to sign an agreement with Eurocopter (Booth No. 2754) for the creation of an approved maintenance center for the OEM’s products and to work jointly on a new corporate interior design for the EC 175.
Despite announcing last week that it is laying off 10 percent of its 10,000-strong global workforce because of global recession, aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada remains committed to developing new products, according to company president John Saabas. It is working hard to meet, but not exceed, demand, while continuing to support 44,000 in-service engines.
Harbin Aviation Industry (HAIG) delivered the first EC 175 airframe to Eurocopter on Saturday in Harbin, China. Harbin is the European manufacturer’s partner in the medium-twin helicopter program. The prototype will undergo final assembly at Eurocopter’s headquarters in Marignane, France, and is scheduled to fly in the fourth quarter of next year.