Beset with stagnant civil sales, a stymied multi-billion-dollar, investment-intensive defense project and a dearth of new programs in the pipeline, Bell Helicopter Textron has decided, like the beer world, to take a chance on a “lite” product, in this case a new lightweight, lower-cost turbine single helicopter.
“We are dedicated to expanding our worldwide Citation product network and doubling the capacity of our Cessna-owned service facilities during the next five years,” according to Cessna v-p of service facilities Jim Morgan.
Cessna Aircraft chairman and CEO Russ Meyer (right) and Avfuel Corp. president and CEO Craig Sincock on August 29 signed an agreement that will reduce fuel costs for operators of any Cessna turbine-powered aircraft.
Bell Helicopter chairman and chief executive John Murphey is in the sort of corporate hotseat many top executives yearn for: command of a major corporation at the precise moment that corporation is in, if not the fight of its life, certainly some very tough times indeed.
Bowing to demands from an even more security-conscious aviation community, Bell Helicopter is offering the first FAA-approved night-vision-goggle (NVG) training program aimed specifically at commercial helicopter operators.
When the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., opened last month to tell the tale of news gathering, publication and broadcast and to champion the concept of a free press, it did not ignore the role of aviation in the news-gathering and -broadcasting process.
In a situation reminiscent of the dilemma JetStar owners face, a substantial number of Cessna 441 Conquest II twin turboprops could be grounded come September unless modifications are made to the contents and administration of a Cessna program designed to deal with aging-aircraft issues.
Cessna will construct a new plant in Wichita to manufacture the Citation Columbus. The Kansas Senate voted to provide $33 million for the project early last month. In other news, Cessna delivered a Mustang in March to the University of Dakota, the first Cessna VLJ to be used by a flight school.
Textron, the parent company of Bell Helicopter and Cessna, isn’t feeling the effects of the economic downturn just yet. The company reported an 18.7-percent jump in revenue in the first quarter, largely due to an increase in revenue of $278 million by the Wichita-based OEM.
Despite the fatal loss of one of its prototypes, Agusta and program partner Bell Helicopter are confident of the success of the AB139 and recently celebrated the flight of the first production-configured unit. A second production model is in the final stages of assembly and work has begun on a third.