Agusta officials have revealed they are currently negotiating with Bell to increase the share the Italian manufacturer holds in the BA609 tiltrotor program. Currently at 25 percent for Agusta and 75 percent for Bell, the workshare may eventually become “close to 50/50,” Agusta CEO Amedeo Caporaletti said.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
Just when it looks like the V-22 Osprey program might have a good day, the fates conspire to create more clouds on the horizon.
Making its surprise debut at last month’s MAKS airshow just outside Moscow, Kazan Helicopters’ Aktai is a roomy three-seat trainer with an aft cargo cabin similar to Western pickup trucks’ so-called “crew cabs.” Powered by a single 270-shp VAZ 4256 turboshaft, the Aktai has a mtow of 2,530 pounds, 97-knot max speed and a 13,000-foot ceiling.
According to a high-ranking official with the Hafei Aviation Industry Co., of Harbin, China, that nation expects to manufacture Eurocopter EC 120 helicopters in the near future. “It has been approved in principle to let us build a new assembly line to manufacture the EC 120 helicopter outside France,” said Qu Jingwen, general manager of Hafei Aviation Industry.
Displaying the sort of brand loyalty most manufacturers only wish for, the New York City Police Department aviation unit has taken delivery of yet another Bell helicopter, a brand-new 412EP. This addition brings the NYPD’s fleet total to six helicopters, all of them Bell products.
The police helicopter in Edmonton, Alberta, spends 75 percent of its time on the ground, according to a criminologist, and the city council should decide what role it wants it to play. “If it’s on the tarmac, it’s of absolutely no use,” said Bill Pitt, a professor at the University of Alberta.
Eurocopter is making further strides toward its aim of certifying a helicopter to make IFR approaches to a hover, over a given point on the ground and at a defined height. By the end of this month, a second phase of flight tests involving a specially modified EC 155, currently under way near the OEM’s Marseille headquarters in southern France, will be complete.
AgustaWestland appointed former Bell CEO John Murphey to run Agusta-WestlandBell (AWB), the joint-venture company formed to manage the US-101 helicopter program. The US-101 and Sikorsky S-92 are the two finalists in the competition to replace the current fleet of Marine One helicopters that carry the President.
In a major marketing change spurred by the fallout from September 11, Salt Lake City, Utah-based Groen Brothers Aviation (GBA) recently announced it would slow the already lagging FAA certification program on its four-place Hawk 4 gyrocopter, and concentrate on selling the aircraft to government agencies as a noncertified public-use aircraft.
The FAA issued a request for comment on proposed airworthiness standards for certification of the Bell/Agusta BA609–“a multi-turbine-engine powered-lift category, tiltrotor class aircraft”–under FAR 21.17(b), which specifies applicable regulations for special classes of aircraft for which airworthiness standards do not yet exist.