Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland (Booth 6629) is showcasing an innovative VIP interior concept for its in-development AW169 at EBACE 2014, replete with artist renderings, color samples and a scaled-down mockup. The four-passenger interior concept features earth tones and swiveling seats with translucent shells. It was created by design firm Lanzavecchia + Wai for the “Flydeas for the City” contest sponsored by AgustaWestland and the contemporary design magazine Interni.
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft and their powerplants, including helicopters, tiltrotors and unmanned air vehicles.
Charter operator VistaJet, which has a fixed-wing fleet comprised of large-cabin Bombardier jets, has been testing short-distance point-to-point service with an AgustaWestland AW109 GrandNew over the past year. The helicopter is based in St. Moritz and has been used to fly customers on short hops to such places as Milan, Geneva, Munich and Monte Carlo, as well as for heli-skiing excursions in the Swiss Alps.
Airbus Helicopters is increasing the mtow of the EC175 medium twin by 660 pounds, to 17,180 pounds, thus offering an equivalent growth in payload or an extra 40 nm in radius of action. Certification at the higher weight is expected in 2016, following a flight-test campaign scheduled for next year.
Now on a demonstration tour, the current version of the EC175 is visiting three locations serving the North Sea this week–Norwich, England; Aberdeen, Scotland; and Stavanger, Norway–all major bases for offshore oil-and-gas operations.
AgustaWestland arrived at EBACE 2014 with a GrandNew light-twin-engine helicopter and also brought a scale mockup of the exclusive VIP interior in the new AW169 light-intermediate twin. The GrandNew has secured more than 330 orders by 200-plus customers in nearly 40 countries.
Sikorsky Aircraft vice president of research and engineering Mark Miller confirmed that the Stratford, Conn.-based helicopter manufacturer plans to develop a civilian version of the S-97 Raider, which is a contender for the U.S. Army’s armed aerial scout program. The S-97, he said, is a production-ready, “scaled-up version of the X2 demonstrator,” with both helicopters having contrarotating rotor blades and a pusher propeller that enables high-speed forward flight. A civil variant of the S-97 would be “ideal” for offshore oil, search and rescue and VIP transport, according to Miller.
Marenco Swisshelicopter anticipates flying its SH09 SKYe single-engine helicopter in the coming weeks and in any case by July, it said. This month, the company will also apply to Switzerland’s civil aviation authority for a permit to fly, chief commercial officer Mathias Sénès told AIN.
The Turbomeca Arrius 2R turboshaft made its first ground run on April 29 at the company’s test facility in Bordes, France. The derivative engine, which is in the 500-shp class, will power the in-development Bell 505 Jet Ranger X light single. The Arrius 2R features Fadec and a 3,000-hour time between overhaul. Certification is expected late next year.
The parent company of Bell Helicopter has formed TRU Simulation + Training to provide pilot and flight crew training to the military and commercial markets. TRU was formed by combining two recent Textron acquisitions–Mechtronix, located in Montreal, Quebec, and Opinicus, located in Lutz, Fla.—with a portion of Textron Systems unit AAI Logistics of Goose Creek, S.C. Annual revenue for the new business is expected to exceed $100 million. TRU CEO James Takats said the unit will help Textron become “a major force” in the rapidly growing training and simulation business.
Russian Helicopters has disclosed numbers on its financial and commercial performance last year. Revenue grew by 10 percent, to RUB138.3 billion ($3.9 billion), while earnings (Ebitda) rose 27 percent to RUB26.3 billion ($737 million), representing a margin of 19 percent. Deliveries, however, declined slightly, at 275 aircraft. CEO Alexander Mikheev attributed the negative change to rescheduling of deliveries. The backlog, as of December 31, totaled 808 helicopters, a 5.5-percent decrease.
The Avincis group is to purchase Scandinavian Air Ambulance (SAA) for SEK707 million ($108 million). SAA employs 160 and operates a fleet of 22 aircraft (including 14 helicopters) across Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Under the agreement, SAA founder and CEO Henry Hansen will continue to lead SAA and all Avincis’ emergency services in Scandinavia. Regulatory approvals are expected by the end of next month.