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.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Aircraft
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft.
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.
The fifth and final prototype Sikorsky S-92 medium-twin transport helo, this one incorporating customer-inspired design changes and a new Rockwell Collins glass cockpit, made its first flight October 5 at Sikorsky Aircraft’s flight-test field in Stratford, Conn.
Sikorsky’s S-92 has successfully completed the artificial icing requirement of the FAA’s icing-certification program, thus preparing the aircraft for its final all-weather-operations certification phase. It has already completed more than 80 percent of the requirements for icing certification and begun natural icing trials, with several successful natural icing events flown to date.
Sikorsky Aircraft last month recognized Keystone Helicopter
for its achievement in completing and delivering the 50th S-76C+ helicopter. The aircraft is earmarked for delivery to Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. Keystone, in Coatsville, Pa., has been the principal completion center for the S-76C+ since 2000.
Air-tour operator Blue Hawaiian Helicopters has ordered four more Eurocopter EC 130B4s to augment its existing fleet of eight AS 350B2 AStars and nine EcoStars. Blue Hawaiian began operations on Maui in 1985 with one helicopter and today is the state’s largest helicopter tour company. The company was the launch customer for the EcoStar in 2001.
American Eurocopter has received an FAA aircraft production certificate to manufacture its U.S. Army UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter and EC 145 commercial variant at the company’s plant in Columbus, Miss.
The first helicopter produced under the certificate was delivered to the Army on August 27.
Eurocopter and the house of Hermès revealed their “l’Hélicoptère par Hermès,” an EC 135 with a decidedly up-market interior, yesterday morning here at the convention.
Eurocopter and Hermès officials met at EBACE in Geneva in May last year, held discussions for six months and decided to cooperate on a joint project that culminated in the special edition of the EC 135 on display here at Eurocopter’s booth (No. 4351).
The BA609 tiltrotor that flew at the Paris Air Show put on an impressive display, but potential buyers said they had misgivings about the hybrid design. Several of the operators interviewed deemed the aircraft’s performance “fabulous,” if only in theory.