The third and final pre-production Bell/Agusta AB139 has begun its flight-test program at Agusta’s Vergiate plant in Italy. Under way since prototype one made its maiden flight in February, the AB139 flight-test program, which now numbers three prototypes and a so-called tiedown helicopter (TDH) ground-test item, has logged more than 100 flight hours.
More than 18 months after it was revealed that Cessna was seeking corporate approval to build its largest ever Citation service center in Wichita, Cessna announced last month the project is a go. Construction is set to start before year-end on a 443,000-sq-ft facility at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport on a 150-acre site leased to Cessna by the Wichita Airport Authority.
Sales of pre-owned turboprop aircraft are a little like the old line, “I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?”
Last year at this time, dealers predicted that the market was facing a rocky ride, with economic storm clouds already on the horizon and the presidential election still not decided. No one had any inkling of just how rocky it was going to become.
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.