Pratt & Whitney Canada signed a fleet-management program contract with Era Helicopters of Lake Charles, La., to provide engine support for its fleet of AgustaWestland AW119 Koalas. The agreement covers Era’s 26 installed and three spare PT6B-37A engines for a period of 11 years.
The second of three AgustaWestland AW139s that CHC Helicopter will use for search-and-rescue operations off the south coast of England on behalf of the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was delivered to the agency’s Lee-on-
Solent base last month.
AgustaWestland has delivered the first two of its helicopters fitted with interiors styled by Italian fashion design house Versace. One aircraft, ordered by Romania-based loan company Tiriac Air, is a Grand light twin featuring a black-and-white interior and paint scheme. The second one, an AW109 Power, has a gray interior and was ordered by Italy’s Elimarca. AgustaWestland and Versace are working on an interior for the AW139.
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.
The U.S. Coast Guard is reportedly about to reopen for competition the acquisition of shipboard-based helicopters for maritime contraband interception operations, a task it has been conducting with Agusta A109s.
Air Concepts International of Teterboro, N.J., had two examples of its Cocoon wall panel noise-reduction system on display in two AgustaWestland AW139s at Heli-Expo 2008 in Houston. According to company president Pat Cesaro, the package reduces cabin noise to 69 dB. It has been certified for installation in the AW139 in either the one- or two-door sliding door configuration.
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.