Robinson Helicopter enjoyed a robust first six months, producing 234 aircraft–76 R66 turbine singles and 156 R44s. Sales of the R66 have been particularly strong, even as the base price of that aircraft was raised to $822,000, effective July 1. In response to demand for the R66, Robinson plans to raise production of that aircraft from four to six per week by year-end, increasing Robinson’s total aircraft production to 13 per week from the rate of 10 per week at the beginning of the year and the current rate of 11 per week.
Mecaer Aviation is to design and manufacture the landing gear system for Bell Helicopters’s new 525 Relentless twin. The Italian company, which already provides landing gear for the existing 429 model, will be responsible for engineering, system integration, and the production of a complete ‘bolt-on’ system, comprising nose and main gears, electro-mechanical actuation, the braking system, wheels, tires and control panel. Mecaer also provides landing gear for AgustaWestland.
AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters here have signed a “preliminary agreement” to jointly develop a new 2.5-metric-ton class (5,500 pounds) single-engine helicopter. Bruno Spagnolini, CEO of AgustaWestland, and Russian Helicopters CEO Dmitry Petrov inked the document. The program will be shared on a 50/50 basis.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has approved the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter for sea state 6 conditions, completing the S-92A emergency flotation system sea-state expansion for additional mission capability. The European Aviation Safety Agency has also certified the system and approval by Transport Canada is expected soon.
AgustaWestland (Pavilion OE1) is offering an increased-gross-weight version of its AW609 tiltrotor, which trades off some vertical takeoff capability for a higher payload limit. This will make it more attractive for some missions where vertical capabilities are not needed on departure.
AgustaWestland logged a cluster of new helicopter sales on the eve of the Farnborough International Airshow. In Japan, two AW139 medium twins have been ordered for fire-fighting roles, one by the Fire Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) and the other by the city of Yokohama. The FDMA should receive its aircraft in 2013, equipped with a belly tank and bambi bucket, while
Thailand has signed a letter of offer and acceptance covering two Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk tactical transport helicopters. They are being acquired through U.S. Foreign Military Sales channels and, after delivery to the Royal Thai Army, will be the first examples of this new generation of Black Hawk operating in Southeast Asia.
Eurocopter’s new EC175 medium-twin helicopter is appearing in the daily flying display here at the Farnborough International Airshow for the first time. Mainly aimed at the offshore oil market, the helicopter is scheduled to receive certification by the end of this year. Two prototypes have flown since the beginning of the test program in 2009.
Bell Helicopter has announced key program suppliers for its new 525 Relentless twin. They include GKN Aerospace and Triumph Group for airframe structure machining and composites; Kuka for major structural tooling; Goodrich for ice protection; Israel Aerospace Industries for passenger seating; and Mecaer for wheeled landing gear.
Bell Helicopters is pressing ahead with the secondary design phase for the development of the new 525 Relentless helicopter that it launched in February. Here at the Farnborough International Airshow, the U.S. airframer is displaying a mockup of the super-medium twin, which is on track to make a first flight around the turn of 2013/14 and then enter service in 2015.