The helicopter industry isn’t immune to the terrible trouble affecting the global economy, but if Heli-Expo’09 is any indication, the greater diversity among operators of the world’s helicopter fleets helped deliver record high attendance and exhibitor activity.
Textron has plans to boost its liquidity by at least $1 billion in the first half of this year and, if successful, the company “won’t have to think about selling any of our core assets,” according to chairman and CEO Lewis Campbell. The Providence, R.I.-based company has already divested itself of a lesser, unidentified asset and is in the process of exiting its finance business.
Bell Helicopter (Booth No. 3975) has launched a Web site for its Helicopter Professional Pilots Safety Program (Heliprops). In addition to information about the program, which provides training and industry news, the Web site (www.heliprops.com) also offers access to the manufacturer’s online newsletter, Human AD. The Web site is a free resource for pilots, mechanics, owners, operators and enthusiasts.
Former Bell Helicopter CEO Terry Stinson has joined the board of directors of Fidelity Flight Simulation. Stinson served as the CEO and chairman of the board of directors of Bell Helicopter from 1997 to 2002, during which time he acquired a number of Boeing helicopter lines, launched a joint venture with Agusta and opened the V-22 Osprey facility in Texas. He currently serves as group vice president of structures and systems, for AAR.
The projected certification date for Bell’s new 429 light twin has slipped again.
At a press conference here yesterday, Bob Fitzpatrick, Bell Helicopter senior vice president of business development and commercial programs, said the company now expects Transport Canada and concurrent FAA certification for the helicopter in May.
At its annual scholarship banquet here on Friday evening, Whirly-Girls International presented scholarships worth a total value of more than $25,000 to six women. The American Eurocopter Flight Training Scholarship went to Tiffany Cobb Till of Houston. Laura Leigh Wendt received the Bell Helicopter Textron Flight Training Scholarship. The Robinson Safety Course Scholarship went to Karen Mall of West Hollywood, Calif.
Work continues on the Bell/Agusta Aerospace BA609 civil tiltrotor program, with more than 100 people dedicated by both Bell Helicopter and AgustaWestland to ongoing flight test and certification tasks. FAA certification is now planned for 2012, according to a Bell spokesman, and the two flight test BA609s–one based at Bell facilities in Texas and one at AgustaWestland in Italy–have logged more than 400 hours.
Textron has plans to boost liquidity by at least $1 billion in the first half of this year and if successful, said chairman and CEO Lewis Campbell on Tuesday, “We probably won’t have to think about selling any of our core assets.” The Providence, R.I.-based company has already divested itself of a lesser, unidentified asset and is in the process of exiting its finance business.
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.
Despite a recent executive shake-up at Bell Helicopter, company executives insist that the new $4.865 million (2007) Model 429 light twin will receive certification approval early next year and that first customer deliveries will begin shortly thereafter.