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.
Charles Johnson, 60, who was named president of Cessna in March, remains on an “indefinite leave” of absence since late August due to undisclosed ongoing medical problems, according to a spokesman for the Wichita aircraft maker. Without elaborating on his illness, the spokesman said that doctors have ruled out cancer and heart-related problems. Cessna senior v-p of engineering Jack Pelton has assumed Johnson’s duties until he returns.
Cessna’s computerized maintenance-service program, Cescom, is now online, allowing Citation customers to manage their maintenance records in real time. Cescom subscribers can convert to the online system at no additional charge at www.support.cessna.com.
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.
Bowing to some inevitable delays after September 11, Bell/Agusta Aerospace reports assembly of the first two BA609 tiltrotors is nearing completion, with engine runups slated to begin this month. First flight is still scheduled to take place at Bell’s Arlington, Texas flight research center before the end of the year, although industry observers have expressed skepticism that this deadline can be met.
Citing a need to realign its executive lineup in the face of an economy that was already softening before it was rocked by the events of September 11, Textron has dismissed Bell Helicopter chairman and CEO Terry Stinson, filling his former position with John Murphey, Bell president and COO.
Bell Helicopter last month officially opened its worldwide sales, support and training headquarters at Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, Texas. The facility, originally built in 1999 for Galaxy Aerospace, will also serve as the delivery center and training school for the Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor.
In another sign of an economic recovery of some measure within business aviation, Cessna confirmed it plans to add 400 workers to its current Wichita employment level of 8,100. An increase in scheduled bizjet deliveries this year and next, along with the introduction of new Citation models, prompted the hiring, a Cessna official said.
Cessna Aircraft chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton said his company is internally moving on the Large Cabin Concept airplane as if it’s a “go program,” meaning Cessna is spending real money on the design and has begun vendor selection for the company’s largest business jet to date. “Had the show been later in the year, we definitely would have launched the Large Cabin Concept [LCC] airplane here at the NBAA Convention,” he told AIN.
Eric Mandemaker has assumed the role of CEO of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), replacing Brian Humphries, who has been named EBAA president.