While its bigger cousin in the Marines stays grounded, work on the civil tiltrotor is proceeding in the same Bell Helicopter hangars from which the first prototype V-22 Ospreys rolled out some 13 years ago in Arlington, Texas.
Hawker Pacific, a leading general aviation sales and support company throughout Asia, is to be sold by Sweden’s Saab group to Lynton International Holdings of the UK. The deal has been agreed in principle for an undisclosed amount and should be completed over the next few months.
Russian aerospace conglomerate Oboronprom has begun cooperating with European rotorcraft manufacturer Agusta- Westland (Booth No. 7550) in helicopter maintenance, production and distribution–with a 10-aircraft order as a starter.
Rockwell Collins (Booth No. 1208) announced that Cessna has selected its HGS-6000 head-up guidance system for the Citation Columbus, set to debut as the Wichita, Kansas manufacturer’s first-ever HUD-equipped airplane when it enters service in 2014.
After an extensive period of market consultation over its Large Cabin Concept, Cessna launched its new Citation Columbus program just over three months ago on February 6. In recent years, the manufacturer has made a big impression on the market with its Citation Mustang very light jet.
Cessna settled a 13-year-old lawsuit stemming from the 1989 accident of a Cessna 185. The plaintiffs–the pilot, his wife and a passenger–said the pilot’s seat slipped back during the takeoff, resulting in a crash that injured all three occupants. Last August, a Florida jury ordered Cessna to pay $480 million in damages, a general aviation record, according to AOPA, for what the jurors believed was a faulty seat-latching mechanism.
The crash of one of the flying prototypes of the Bell/Agusta AB139 twin-turbine helicopter in Italy late last month killed a flight-test engineer, when he and the pilot attempted to exit the stricken rotorcraft via parachute, according to unofficial accounts. At press time it wasn’t known if the crash of the 13,288-lb mtow rotorcraft would delay the expected year-end certification of the AB139.
While Bell Helicopter and program partner Agusta Aerospace are pondering their next moves in the ongoing saga of tiltrotor development (see page 1), both parties were recently informed by the U.S military that they must find space to store 19 military
Stating that “the V-22 must lead tiltrotor technology into the marketplace,” Bell Helicopter has opted to shelve its BA609 civil tiltrotor following first flight of a prototype later this year, indefinitely delaying introduction of the world’s first production-oriented civil tiltrotor until problems with the U.S. Marines’ V-22 Osprey tiltrotor transport can be ironed out.
Bell Helicopter Textron last month announced plans to lay off 270 workers at its Fort Worth-area plants. The job cuts will affect both union-represented hourly workers and salaried employees. A spokesman for the rotorcraft builder said further cutbacks were possible as the company reevaluated its position in the slumping world helicopter market and as the effects of investigations and slowdowns in the U.S.