Proving perhaps that nothing sweeps cleaner than a new broom, Bell Helicopter CEO Mike Redenbaugh, in the job since late May, has announced plans to move Bell’s military helicopter manufacturing out of its historic Fort Worth, Texas facility and into a new site in Amarillo, Texas. The Amarillo site will also handle final assembly for the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, according to a recent message from Redenbaugh.
At a time when the progress of big-ticket military helicopter programs is measured in decades, it is worth noting that the first Boeing Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche production line opened September 17 at Sikorsky’s Bridgeport, Conn. plant.
Sikorsky president Steve Finger said that Schweizer’s “ability for rapid prototyping makes the company an excellent choice for advanced concept evaluation and its focus on product safety aligns well with our own.” In fact, Schweizer is such a good match for Sikorsky that Finger bought the company. The sale of the Horseheads, N.Y.
AgustaWestland appointed former Bell CEO John Murphey to run Agusta-WestlandBell (AWB), the joint-venture company formed to manage the US-101 helicopter program. The US-101 and Sikorsky S-92 are the two finalists in the competition to replace the current fleet of Marine One helicopters that carry the President.
The FAA has granted type certification to two new variants of GE’s CT7-8 turboshaft. The newly certified A and E models, more powerful and more durable than earlier versions, are intended for the Sikorsky S-92, Agusta Westland EH-101/US-101 and NH Industries NH-90 helicopters. Improved versions of the UH-60 Black Hawk, for U.S. Army Special Operations forces, are also candidates for the new unit.
The fifth and final prototype Sikorsky S-92 medium-twin transport helo, this one incorporating customer-inspired design changes and a new Rockwell Collins glass cockpit, made its first flight October 5 at Sikorsky Aircraft’s flight-test field in Stratford, Conn.
Eurocopter AS 350B2, Juneau, Alaska, Aug. 16, 2007–The door of the Northstar Trekking AS 350 opened on takeoff from Juneau International and the helicopter made a hard landing. Damage to the helicopter was reported as substantial. The pilot and five passengers were not injured.
American Eurocopter has received an FAA aircraft production certificate to manufacture its U.S. Army UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter and EC 145 commercial variant at the company’s plant in Columbus, Miss.
The first helicopter produced under the certificate was delivered to the Army on August 27.
Eurocopter and the house of Hermès revealed their “l’Hélicoptère par Hermès,” an EC 135 with a decidedly up-market interior, yesterday morning here at the convention.
Eurocopter and Hermès officials met at EBACE in Geneva in May last year, held discussions for six months and decided to cooperate on a joint project that culminated in the special edition of the EC 135 on display here at Eurocopter’s booth (No. 4351).
Eurocopter and the house of Hermès revealed their “l’Hélicoptere par Hermès,” an EC 135 with a decidedly up-market interior, today at the NBAA Convention. The new helicopter came about after officials from both companies met at EBACE in Geneva in May last year, held discussions for six months and decided to cooperate on a joint project that culminated in the special edition of the EC 135 on display at the NBAA show this week.