Aero Toy Store of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. is making helicopter cabin finish work a growing part of its completion and refurbishment business. At Heli-Expo 2008 in Houston, the company displayed a new Agusta-Westland AW139 equipped with Aerospace Concepts International’s Cocoon noise-reduction package.
Servizi Elicotteristici Italini (SEI) has been a primary source of helicopter cabin completion and refurbishment for European manufacturer AgustaWestland, so when AgustaWestland decided to expand its helicopter assembly line in Philadelphia, SEI executives decided to move west. SEI of America, as the new company is called, opened a 12,000-sq-ft hangar at Philadelphia Northeast Airport late last year.
Bell/Agusta Aerospace engineers working on the BA609 Tiltrotor have stepped up their certification efforts, now working with the FAA and the EASA (via Italian authorities) and planning on more than 100 hours of flight testing this year. That goal represents a major acceleration; the company has logged only 300 hours since 2003. However, the first flight of the third prototype has been delayed again.
The European Commission (EC) has ordered Italy to ensure immediate reimbursement of E170 million ($250 million) worth of “illegal” loans that had been allotted to various aerospace programs, including AgustaWestland for the A109 and A119 and Alenia-made Falcon 2000 business jet subassemblies. In addition, Italy must ask Avio to repay a loan for its contribution to the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308 business jet engine.
Mike Redenbaugh took over the CEO’s office at Bell Helicopter’s Fort Worth, Texas headquarters in May and now faces some formidable challenges–including getting the military V-22 tiltrotor program on track and completing certification of the BA609 civil tiltrotor in cooperation with partner Agusta Aerospace of Italy.
Bell Helicopter Textron announced the recent deliveries of three helicopters–a Bell 412, 206B-3 and 430–to customers in vastly different industries and took orders for two 407s in September. The Fort Worth, Texas-based manufacturer also inked a deal at the NBAA Convention in Orlando, Fla., last month on the sale of an AB139, jointly developed with AgustaWestland.
In separate ceremonies at last month’s NBAA Convention, Bell/Agusta announced the sale of a corporate AB139 to American International Group and Eurocopter revealed that the EC 120 on display was bought. The buyer of the EC 120 wasn’t disclosed, but the seller, insurance broker Lance Toland, immediately ordered a new EC 120, this one with air conditioning.
Servizi Elicotteristici Italiani (SEI), the longtime preferred interiors provider for AgustaWestland helicopters in Italy, has opened its new U.S. facility at Northeast Philadelphia Airport. According to Massimo Isidori, operations at the 12,000-sq-ft hangar are currently focused on helicopter maintenance but interior completions on executive, EMS and law enforcement helicopters are expected to begin “full force” this summer.
Italy-based manufacturer AgustaWestland held its first Italian Corporate Pilot Conference in January. Almost all of the 50 pilot attendees fly AgustaWestland helicopters, the company said. Operational, regulatory, product and safety matters were among the topics under discussion. An immediate follow-on to the event was the formation of the AgustaWestland Italian Corporate Pilot Club.
Scott Kasprowicz (center), the AgustaWestland A109S Grand owner-pilot who broke the U.S. transcontinental record a week and a half ago, announced his next record attempt yesterday here at Heli-Expo–an around-the-world flight in his AgustaWestland helicopter, N1US.