The first of five “block one” new production presidential helicopters arrived at Lockheed Martin’s Owego, N.Y. facility last month for systems integration, paint and interior. The VH-71s are based on the AgustaWestland EH-101 and will be operated by the Marine Corps. A follow-on “block two” of 23 additional helicopters with more advanced capabilities will join the fleet beginning in 2013. Block one helicopters also include four test aircraft.
Shortly after its entry into service in December with Mumbai, India-based Heligo Charters, an AgustaWestland AW139 performed a medical evacuation 217 nm off the coast. The destination was a seismic survey ship. Offshore operator Heligo Charters recently received CAR145 Maintenance Organization Approval, making it the first helicopter company in India to comply with these requirements.
Attendees who make their way to Anaheim, Calif., for the Helicopter Association International’s (HAI) Heli-Expo later this month will encounter the usual crowded and noisy convention-center floor occupied by companies unveiling their latest wares. But the event may lack some of the energy and exuberance of recent shows given the dreary economic picture.
AgustaWestland last month announced the delivery of the 200th AW139. It was one of two aircraft accepted by Hong Kong-based Sky Shuttle Helicopters, which in November changed its name from Heli Express. These were the first two of six aircraft Sky Shuttle ordered in June 2007. The company claims to operate more than 60 helicopter flights a day.
Malaysia announced it would buy 12 Eurocopter EC725 Cougar medium-lift helicopters, then changed its mind two weeks later. Opposition politicians demanded that the controversial deal be referred to the country’s anti-corruption agency. Although new helicopters are urgently needed to replace the country’s 40--year-old fleet of Sikorsky S-61 Nuris, the government said the purchase was abandoned because of the deteriorating economic situation.
AgustaWestland has logged a number of sales successes for the AW139 medium twin. In addition to UTair’s recent order for as many as 35, AW landed orders from a number of other operators. In October, Chevron ordered two AW139s for offshore operations. Ontario-based charity Ornge then ordered 10 AW139s for emergency medical services, also booking two options. The contract was valued at $120 million.
European helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland and Russian conglomerate Oboronprom last month signed an agreement for a civil AW139 final assembly line near Moscow, less than six months after announcing the project’s outlines.
Avionics Innovations (Booth No. 1648) will provide its DMP-100NVG command communication product to AgustaWestland for use in its AW101 and Super Lynx 300 helicopters in high-noise environments. The night-vision-compatible version of Avionics Innovations’ DMP-100 cabin briefing system plays back pre-recorded versions of all necessary pilot commands, solving the problem of flight-deck noise overpowering pilots’ microphones.
Honeywell engineers are developing for the AgustaWestland AW139 medium twin a software upgrade that optimizes the helicopter’s Primus Epic avionics system for the rigors of search-and-rescue operations.
Honeywell engineers are now developing a software upgrade for the AgustaWestland AW139 medium twin that optimizes the helicopter’s Primus Epic avionics system for the rigors of search-and-rescue operations.