The second prototype of the Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor is now flying in airplane mode, after starting its flight test regimen in helicopter mode on November 9 last year. It operates from Cameri, an Italian Air Force airfield near Milan.
AgustaWestland announced that it has delivered an A119 Koala to the Royal Bafokeng nation in South Africa. The small, nearly 800-sq-mi country has a population of around 300,000 people. According to the company, the single-engine helicopter will be used as the personal transport of King Leruo Mototlegi and will also carry other VIPs. More than 100 A119s have been ordered by customers in more than 20 countries.
Bell Helicopter announced last month it is relocating its commercial business unit’s worldwide sales and marketing offices and the Bell Training Academy to the facility formerly occupied by Galaxy Aerospace/Gulfstream at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, Texas.
The “Safety Bucks” program from insurer USAIG (United States Aircraft Insurance Group) has contributed more than $4.3 million over the last nine years to defray the training costs or participants in its Preferred Policyholder Program, according to figures released here at Heli-Expo.
Rotor Blades (RBI) of Broussard, La. (Booth No. 400), a subsidiary of Edwards and Associates of Bristol, Tenn., has arrived at Heli-Expo with an announcement of its expansion into Europe.
AgustaWestland has seen sales of its helicopters rise in India since its first delivery of an A109 to the government of Rajasthan two years ago. According to the manufacturer, seven helicopters were delivered to the growing Indian market last year, to be followed by at least another four this year. Company forecasts call for AgustaWestland to deliver at least another dozen helicopters of various types to India during 2008 and 2009.
AgustaWestland and Eurocopter have confirmed “their joint commitment to the NH90 program,” the two companies announced here at Heli-Expo’07. They will ensure that commitment is reaffirmed during meetings planned during the next few weeks between the NATO Helicopter Management Agency and government representatives. The NH90 backlog stands at 445 firm and 100 options ordered by 18 armed forces in 14 countries.
A CMC Electronics SureSight M-Series infrared enhanced-vision system (EVS) sensor has been installed on an AgustaWestland AW139 for a corporate customer by Edwards & Associates, a subsidiary of Bell Helicopter. The avionics installation specialist expects to receive the FAA STC for the installation soon.
AgustaWestland flexed its market muscle yesterday, announcing orders for 46 helicopters and emphasizing that the commercial helicopters division of parent company Finnmecanica is now a separate business unit reporting directly to AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi.
Despite the Navy’s decision to scale back initial funding for the program, Lockheed Martin continues to ready a new facility opened last year in Owego, N.Y., that will integrate systems and outfit cabins on the VH-71, the much-anticipated replacement for the U.S. Presidential helicopter fleet. The popular name Kestrel has been suggested for the VH-71, but remains to be officially adopted by the Navy.