SheltAir’s goal to add Atlanta to its growing FBO network took a major step forward last month when company officials met with the city airport authority. The agenda included negotiating lease terms in SheltAir’s bid to take over the Mercury FBO at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. SheltAir COO Ed Zwirn called the city’s positive review of notification a strong indicator that the deal would eventually come to fruition.
Aviation International News » December 2004
Raytheon Aircraft’s Hawker Vision 2003, a program to completely revamp the production line for the Hawker 800XP, won the Kansas Team Quality award and will be one of two teams representing Kansas at the national competition in Seattle in May. The team reduced the Hawker production line from 12 to seven stations, cut cycle time from 60 days to 40 days and achieved a $19 million inventory reduction.
An international technical consortium has completed trials on a new head-up display (HUD) that allows helicopter pilots to view the display through night-vision goggles (NVGs) and allows “virtually unlimited” head movement.
European-funded research project Helisafe, led by Marignane, France-based Eurocopter, is studying airbags and harnesses as a possible means of enhancing the safety of helicopter occupants. A Helisafe engineer emphasized that the project is still in the research stage, so practical applications of the airbags and harnesses are probably several years away.
On October 29, AgustaWestland introduced the A119 Koala at its new home in Philadelphia, which includes 43,000 sq ft of hangars, avionics bays, manufacturing and completion space. The new facility, which hugs the suburban Northeast Philadelphia Airport, was built in a record seven months for $6.8 million, while employees trained in Vergiate, Italy. Total investment, including relocation, will exceed $12 million.
Bell/Agusta AB139s seem to be headed far and wide at the moment. Deliveries of the new medium twin to the Namibian government and, most recently, to philanthropist the Aga Khan (see sidebar) are recent milestones, as the companies announce orders from Canada, New Zealand and the U.S. (The U.S. Coast Guard’s Deepwater order for up to 35 aircraft was a particular coup.) At press time, Bell/Agusta reported orders for more than 80 aircraft.
Swiss air-rescue provider Rega is ready to help any similar organization that would like to set up a membership-based financing plan. In a presentation at the Geneva Heli Trade show this fall, Rega spokesman Walter Stünzi explained how the private foundation has relied successfully on donors for three decades. An unusual case now, Rega’s system could yet become a model as it has many advantages over other financing systems, he said.
Heritage Aviation of Grand Prairie, Texas, is to install VIP interiors for
two Sikorsky S-92s ordered by the government of Turkmenistan to transport
its president, Saparmurat Niyazov. The first helicopter is scheduled for delivery in October next year and the second in March 2006.
The Life Flight Trust, operator of a Wellington, New Zealand-based Westpac Rescue BK 117B2, was named 2004 “Trust of the Year” at a recent awards dinner.
Hindustan Aeronautics claimed new helicopter high-altitude flying records last month, although it remains to be seen whether those records will be certified.