The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 on Thursday to move forward with a notice of proposed rulemaking to consider allowing airline passengers to make cellular telephone calls in flight, a practice that is currently banned in the U.S., although allowed by other countries.
LightSquared filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, explaining that it needs “breathing room” to resolve regulatory issues that have prevented it from building its planned 4G broadband wireless network.
John Garrison, CEO of Bell Helicopter (Booth No. 9846), said on Sunday he believed that 2011 was the market bottom for the civil helicopter sector and that Bell’s newly-announced 525 super-medium twin program would proceed regardless of whether the Pentagon ordered more V-22 Bell/Boeing tiltrotors after 2014.
Bell Helicopter has put a price on playing catch-up: $1 billion. That’s how much the Textron company plans to spend on accelerated research and development, new and renovated facilities, taxable inventory and operations during the next four to five years. It’s all in an effort to recapture some of the market share Bell has lost to Eurocopter and AgustaWestland over the last three decades.
Bell Helicopter was at last month’s Heli-Expo in Las Vegas in force as usual, with a 412 and a 407 on display at its booth. At the static area, the Texas-based helicopter manufacturer had several new-design 427 mockups, an Eagle Eye UAV and a Bell 430. Another 430, along with a 427 and 407, was also available for customer flights from the convention center.
The Bell 429, a new light twin helicopter derived from the Bell 427i, will be dramatically unveiled at an 11:30 a.m. press event today at Bell Helicopter’s booth, No. 1087 in Hall D. Bell announced the 427i, an IFR-capable version of the 427, less than one year ago at Heli-Expo 2004.
AirCell is moving forward with plans for a nationwide network of about 200 special ground stations to support in-flight broadband services. The Louisville, Colo. company is paying $31.319 million for a frequency-spectrum license after beating out Verizon Airfone and others in an FCC auction that concluded on June 5.
Agusta 109A II, Shoreline, Wash., Sept. 30, 2005–The three crewmembers on board were killed when Agusta N655GS crashed while returning to base. The aircraft, headed for Arlington, Wash., was registered to Ameritech Credit and SBC Capital Services of Hoffman Estates, Ill., was also listed in the FAA Registry. The wreckage was located half a mile offshore.
Cingular, the largest wireless service provider in the U.S., has asked the FAA to maintain its ban on cellphone use aboard aircraft in flight. In a June 8 letter to the agency, the Atlanta-based company said it is concerned about the potential disturbance to passengers from “inconsiderate” phone users.
Europe’s top court has upheld the European Commission’s July 2001 block on a $45 billion merger between Honeywell and General Electric. Both Honeywell and GE have stated that they have no intention of trying to restart the merger, which was first proposed more than four years ago. GE said that its only motivation for appealing the EC decision was to challenge certain legal aspects of the case.