Twenty-five consecutive years is a long time to be in the aviation parts and servicing business, if your principal customers operate helicopters. The first practical helicopters have been around for less than 60 years. But it takes more than just endurance to become a Gold Seal Bell Helicopter customer service facility.
Just what is behind the curtain? Nearly a decade of speculation surrounding trademark and patent filings, leaked inter-company memos, and rumors concerning a major new model may be coming to an end for Bell Helicopter. The company is set to make a big announcement at its booth (No. 9846) at 11:30 this morning here at Heli-Expo.
Just down the road from the Dallas Convention Center is the Arlington home of the long-awaited AW609 tiltrotor program. Following AgustaWestland’s move late last year to complete the full takeover of the program from former partner Bell Helicopters, the tiltrotor is a full-blown Italian now. While work on the program will continue in the Lone Star state, all roads lead not so much to Rome, as to Agusta’s headquarters at Cascina Costa, just north of Milan.
AgustaWestland has introduced some impressive new aircraft in recent Heli-Expo shows. But its presence at this year’s event here in Dallas is all about the collective strength of its growing family of products. The company is showcasing its New Generation Helicopter Family, consisting of the existing A109 Grand New and AW139 flagships and the in-development AW169 and AW189 models.
Air Technology Engines (ATE) of Naples, Fla., signed a T53 service center agreement with Honeywell, authorizing ATE to repair and overhaul Honeywell’s T53 series engine, which powers the Bell UH-1H Huey and other helicopters.
Cessna Aircraft announced on Thursday that the range of its new midsize Citation Latitude is being extended to 2,300 nm. “The additional range is the result of refinement from wind-tunnel testing and other analysis,” a company spokeswoman told AIN. The payload will remain unchanged, she said. Cessna has not yet made the aircraft weights public.
The NTSB has issued its final report on the first of several incidents in which Cessna Citation 560XL Excels encountered rudder binding while in flight. The Board ruled that the manufacturer’s inadequate initial design and subsequent modifications of the aircraft’s tailcone allowed moisture to collect and freeze around rudder cables during flight above the freezing level, resulting in a loss of rudder authority. The Board cited the FAA’s lack of oversight of the manufacturer’s design and production as a contributing factor.
Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter parent company Textron yesterday reported a loss of $19 million in the fourth quarter, versus a $60 million profit in the same period in 2010, despite increased revenues and profits at the two aerospace units. Though Cessna delivered 12 fewer Citations in the quarter compared with the previous year–67 versus 79–revenue climbed by $51 million, to $1.011 billion, thanks to a higher sales volume of pre-owned jets, piston singles and Caravan turboprop singles.
Aw, c’mon, Textron. Seriously?
You don’t want Electronic Arts (EA) to use depictions of some of your rotorcraft in the video game Battlefield 3? You’re claiming that EA’s use of images of the AH-1Z, UH-1Y and V-22 infringe on your trademark and dress right?
Cessna’s swift midsize Citation Ten made its maiden flight from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport on Tuesday afternoon. Commanded by Cessna engineering test pilot Michael Voigt, the more than two-hour sortie evaluated stability and control, handling qualities, the autopilot and autothrottle system, engine operability and the Garmin G5000 avionics.