Helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland is here showing a mockup of an AW101 cabin in a luxury layout, probably the ultimate for a VVIP helicopter, as it is the heaviest civil helicopter available in the Western world. “This is just one of the possible layouts in such a roomy cabin,” an AgustaWestland spokesman told EBACE Convention News.
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.
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.
AgustaWestland and Italian-based helicopter operator Alitalica have signed an agreement to establish “the first helicopter hub in Italy” at Rome Urbe downtown airport. AgustaWestland will be in charge of the maintenance center and will therefore build new hangars. Meanwhile, Alitalica will set up a FBO, offer passenger transport and market corporate helicopter management services.
The first AW119Ke single-turbine helicopter with a Versace interior has been ordered by a private customer in Russia, AgustaWestland (Booth No. 7550) announced here at EBACE. It has a six-seat cabin and will be flown in VIP/corporate operations. The manufacturer claims to have sold 14 commercial helicopters of various types in Russia.
As spring flooded north along America’s Atlantic seaboard, news from the tiltrotor front began to improve somewhat. The mandated modification work on the U.S. Marines’ Osprey fleet was proceeding, closing in on a resumption of flight tests expected to happen this month. Critics of the embattled Bell Boeing program seem to have adopted a wait-and-see attitude.
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
No stranger to the skies, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s piloting skills are part of his well known resume. Along the road to building his billion-dollar business media empire and successfully running for the leadership of the world’s most exciting city, Bloomberg became a licensed aviator for both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft (his current favorites for personal flight are said to be an Agusta A109 and Mooney piston single).
Scandinavian countries are famous for going their own way and it seems only fitting that one of what was originally four nations participating in the Nordic Helicopter Program (NHP) did just that in selecting its new rotorcraft.