Half a continent away from its builder’s growing U.S. base in Philadelphia, an AW109 Grand looks sleek and businesslike even with its feet out feeling for terra firma here in Houston.
Bell/Agusta Aerospace engineers working on the BA609 Tiltrotor have stepped up their certification efforts and now plan more than 100 hours of flight testing this year–a major acceleration over the 300 hours logged since 2003. However, the first flight of the third prototype faces yet another delay. Bell/Agusta now expects certification of the hybrid helicopter/airplane design in three years.
Asia accounted for about 20 percent of AgustaWestland’s orders last year and the European helicopter maker therefore sees the region as a growing market. The booming Chinese economy is a big factor in this assessment, as is the European helicopter maker’s presence in the People’s Republic through an expanding relationship with the Chinese aerospace industry.
Malaysia’s YTL Corporation Berhad signed an order at the show for an AgustaWestland AW139 twin-turbine helicopter for VIP and corporate transport operations. The purchase marks the first sale of the AW139 to the Malaysian VIP market. Capt. Revi Chandran, left, is YTL group aviation manager. With him is Renzo Lunardi, AgustaWestland senior vice president of commercial business.
AgustaWestland kicked off a meeting in Brussels on February 5 of the so-called Clean Sky Program. A founding member of the Clean Sky initiative and co-leader of the Green Rotorcraft Integrated Technology Demonstration project, the European helicopter builder wants to develop and produce cleaner and quieter helicopters, which it says could boost their roles in future air transport systems. AgustaWestland (Booth Nos.
Swiss aircraft interior specialist Aerolite received a contract from Norway’s Lufttransport AS to outfit three AgustaWestland AW139s with emergency medical transport interiors. The helicopters will receive dedicated turnkey medical interiors including single- and dual-patient litters, integrated patient loading systems, cabinetry and system and equipment integrations.
Boosting the capability of Europe’s long-awaited NH90 multi-role military helicopter, AgustaWestland has delivered the first all-weather TTH (tactical transport helicopter) version to the Italian Army.
AgustaWestland (Booth No. 3039) doesn’t plan on introducing a new helicopter this week, but the company has plenty to say, beginning with the announcement that BERP IV rotor blades for the three-engine AW101 are now available as an option on new civil and military variants or as a retrofit on models already in service.
Visitors to the first AgustaWestland Italian Corporate Pilot Conference at the company’s Cascina Costa factory in January hailed the event as a huge success. Attended by more than 50 corporate pilots, the meeting provided a forum for discussing operational, product and safety topics. During the opening of the workshop-based conference, AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi provided a company update and overview of customer support initiatives.
Officials from Aerolite Max Bucher AG, with more than 50 employees in Switzerland and the U.S., are at Booth No. 3401 to promote the company’s role as an independent supplier of helicopter and fixed-wing interiors. Since 1995 Aerolite has delivered more than 100 EC 135 EMS interiors worldwide as well as numerous EMS interiors for the EC 145, Agusta Grand, AW139 and MD Explorer.