Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling revealed this morning that the company is working on bringing diesel power to a light helicopter, most likely the EC 120. He said the helicopter would fly within 30 months. He added that ongoing projects at Eurocopter include upgrades for existing models and “preliminary design” of a new turbine-powered helicopter.
Citing a backlog of more than ?10 billion ($12.8 billion) and increases in both revenue and orders during the first nine months of 2008 compared to the same period the year before, AgustaWestland executives on Saturday night said they remain “reasonably and realistically optimistic” about the future of their company as well as that of the industry at large.
Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling rebuffed concerns about how his company would fare in the face of the ongoing global economic crisis by stressing the company’s market dominance and its commitment to conserving euros. “Cash is king,” he said, adding that Eurocopter has improved its cash position and dramatically reduced production lead times–by 35 percent–over the last year and that the company has “exceeded our efficiency goals.”
Sikorsky Aircraft (Booth No. 1740) announced at Heli-Expo’09 the creation of Sikorsky Global Helicopters, a new business unit made up of the manufacturer’s commercial products, including the S-76, S-92 and H-92 platforms, as well as the Schweizer helicopter line.
The Honeywell/Pratt & Whitney joint-venture Advanced Turbine Engine Co. (ATEC) successfully completed the preliminary design review by the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate and other government customers for the advanced affordable turbine engine (AATE) technology demonstrator program.
Air Comm (Booth No. 3748) is supplying vapor-cycle air-conditioning systems to Eurocopter for the U.S. Army’s Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) program, which is led by EADS North America. Designated UH-72 by the Army, the LUH is a variant of the Eurocopter EC 145. According to Keith Steiner, Air Comm’s evaporator configuration is important to the Army.
BLR Aerospace (Booth No. 2970) has selected Simplex Manufacturing (Booth No. 3421) to market and sell BLR’s performance-enhancing helicopter products in parts of the Middle East and Southeast Asia. BLR, based in Everett, Wash., offers a range of aerodynamic improvements, including the FastFin tail rotor enhancement and stability system for multiple Bell helicopter models.
Forecast International is predicting an $88.1 billion market for medium/heavy (15,000 pounds and up) military rotorcraft between now and 2018. Forecast says competition in the market is between all-new designs from non-U.S. firms versus derivative models based on older designs from U.S. manufacturers.
A Heli-Lynx-modified Eurocopter AS 355FX2R recently passed 5,000 hours time in service with the Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago. The Heli-Lynx STC conversion replaces the standard helicopter’s engines, electrical system, instrument panel and trim cables. It also increases horsepower, fuel capacity, endurance and useful load.
AgustaWestland has named FAASA Aviación of Spain as an authorized service center for AW119 helicopters. FAASA has taken delivery of 12 AW119s to date and has eight more on order. The approval gives the operator the authority to service its own helicopters and offer support to other AW119 operators in Spain.