AgustaWestland has designated Kaigai Aviotech of Japan to sell the AW119 Ke, AW109 Power and Grand in the Japanese commercial market. The two companies also agreed to establish a maintenance and support center for AgustaWestland helicopters in Japan.
The Teal Group released its annual 10-year forecast of the helicopter market on July 19. Despite its overall optimism, however, there was no good news for the civil segment. The Fairfax, Va.-based market analysis firm predicted the manufacture of 8,979 rotorcraft with a value of $80.1 billion from 2004 to 2013. The forecast represents strong growth over the previous decade, when production totaled 7,793 helicopters valued at $51.1 billion.
At the Farnborough Air Show last month, helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland unveiled its new Agusta A109S Grand, a medium twin-engine rotorcraft designed to fill the gap between the Agusta A109 Power and the Bell/Agusta AB139, now entering service. The helicopter is expected to receive certification early next year, with deliveries to begin in the second half of the year.
In May, the second prototype of the Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor flew for the first time in public. The aircraft participated in the flying display at the Giornata Azzurra 2007 airshow in Pratica di Mare, near Rome, on May 27. The first prototype had in the past been displayed in a flight to the media in Fort Worth, Texas. The BA609 also performed at the Paris Air Show last month.
The AgustaWestland AW119 Ke received EASA certification at the Paris Air Show last month. The helicopter, a derivative of the A119, was announced in late February at this year’s Heli-Expo in Orlando. The Ke (it stands for Koala enhanced) is powered by a single 1,000-shp P&WC PT6B-27A and has a higher mtow than the standard A119. U.S. certification is expected this fall, the company said.
“Why don’t my Bell colleagues take this question?” AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi suggested when asked why Bell would not accept his company’s additional money into the protracted BA609 Tiltrotor program, during a press conference on Wednesday here at the Paris Air Show.
The BA 609 Tiltrotor is making its flying debut here at Le Bourget. Bell/Agusta Aerospace has brought the second prototype to Paris after it made its first public appearance late last month at an Italian air show. Potential European customers have recently expressed concern about the aircraft’s cost of ownership. Its U.S.-Italian manufacturer might thus hope to convince them about its unique capabilities by showcasing it here.
AgustaWestland has won a contract from the UK government’s cabinet office to supply resilience training. These services will be provided as part of the Project Gold Standard, which aims at effective management of emergencies and disasters. AgustaWestland will teach strategic Gold commanders using courses, simulation and exercises. The first Gold Standard Exercise is pegged for June 25.
Getting in some early practice is this Eurocopter EC 665 Tigre, one of 24 rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft that will be flying in the daily display here. Among other rotary-wing aircraft are the Bell/Agusta BA 609 tiltrotor and NH Industries NH90T.
Early in the second quarter, Bell/Agusta Aerospace reported that the BA609 civil tiltrotor program had logged 137 flights and 159 flight hours on ship 001, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas, and 14 flights and 14 flight hours on ship 002 in Cameri, Italy. The flight envelope reached 310 ktas, 25,000 feet and 35 knots in rearward and sideward flight. The longest single flight was 1.7 hours.