AgustaWestland often is overshadowed by that “other” major European helicopter manufacturer, cross-continent rival Eurocopter. But while Eurocopter outsells AgustaWestland (Booth No. 529) by a wide margin, it has yet to come up with an answer to the AW139 (although it hopes its new EC 175 will be a strong competitor) and has nothing like the BA609 tiltrotor on its drawing board–as far as we know.
Interviews with people of interest in aerospace, including those in industry, government and AIN’s “Bizav Warriors.” Topics include announcements of personnel changes, awards and final departures.
At Heli-Expo last year, MD Helicopters CEO Lynn Tilton revealed the details of an ambitious agenda for revitalizing the troubled company. It included plans for building helicopter fuselages in Mexico, bringing more component production in-house and making product-support improvements.
The company is now on the road to recovery, but it hasn’t been easy, Tilton admits, and the work is far from done.
Former HAI president Roy Resavage died last month after a long illness. He was 62. Resavage spent seven years at the helm of HAI, where he led the association through difficult financial times. He is credited with improving operational efficiency and the financial health of the association, as well as increasing attendance at Heli-Expo.
Former Free Flight Phase 1 director Charles Keegan has been appointed vice president for operations planning in the FAA’s Air Traffic Management Organization (ATO), succeeding Norman Fujisaki, who is retiring. Keegan will continue as director of the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO), the interagency organization developing the long-term plan for the next-generation air transport system.
William Gilbert, former board member and chairman of NBAA, died. Gilbert served on the NBAA board from 1970 to 1980 and as chairman from 1975 to 1977. He was a former chief pilot for Weyerhaeuser’s flight department, which he helped build from a small Twin Beech operation into one that operated various aircraft with several bases around the country.
Tom Appleton retired as president and CEO of Piaggio America, effective January 28. He was replaced by Eric Hinson, a former U.S. Navy pilot and test director who has served in various senior executive roles. Appleton will remain non-executive chairman of Piaggio America and will continue to support parent company Piaggio Aero.
The September 29 midair collision between an Embraer Legacy and a Gol Airlines 737 over the Amazon was a baptism by fire for Bill Voss, who took over as president of the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) a couple of days later.
Eclipse Aviation and Aspen Avionics last month settled a patent dispute over the AT300 hazard awareness display. Under the settlement agreement, Eclipse dropped a competing patent claim in exchange for 1 percent of Aspen common stock. The VLJ maker had contended that Aspen cofounders Peter Lyons and Jeff Bethel developed the AT300 product while they worked at Eclipse and, therefore, the patent for the product should belong to Eclipse.
Typically, changes at the top occur suddenly when business is down and it’s believed that new blood is needed to bring it back up. However, that is not the case at Gulfstream, where on April 9 Joseph Lombardo is scheduled to replace Bryan Moss as president of the company and executive v-p of parent General Dynamics’ (GD) aerospace business group.
Whoever is named to succeed Russ Chew as COO of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) faces particular challenges as Congress debates controversial FAA funding proposals that would take place over the next decade and are scheduled to start in October. Chew, a former airline pilot who led the ATO since its inception in 2003, resigned last month.