American Eurocopter opened its new production facility near Columbus, Miss., in October. Once the commotion had died down, HAI Convention News paid a visit to interview president and CEO Marc Paganini, right, to discuss the progress Eurocopter has made in getting the operation up and running. Eurocopter’s activity in the last year was a main thrust of the interview.
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration certification of the Bell 210, a single-turbine medium helicopter derived from military UH-1H Huey, is imminent and could happen this month, Bell CEO Mike Redenbaugh said yesterday at the Paris Air Show. “Our flight testing is completed, the FAA pilots have flown and now we’re just waiting for approval of the paperwork,” he said.
The first of 11 AgustaWestland A109 LOH (light observation helicopters) was handed over to the Malaysian army at the end of last year, during the country’s biennial Langkawi airshow. The start of training for (initially) five pilots began at the same time, coincidentally as an earlier contract to train Royal Malaysian Navy crews on their six new AW Super Lynx 300s came to a successful conclusion.
PZL-Swidnik last month handed over the 500th airframe–an AW139–it has produced for AgustaWestland. The Polish company builds all the fuselages and tail booms for the AgustaWestland A109E Power, A109S Grand, A109 LUH and A119 Koala helicopters and is a risk-sharing partner with AgustaWestland on the AW139. Last year the company delivered more than 100 airframes to AgustaWestland.
After months of uncertainty, MD Helicopters (MDHI) has a new owner. Patriarch Partners, a New York-based financial firm with assets of approximately $4.5 billion, has acquired a controlling interest in the troubled Mesa, Ariz. manufacturer.
It will come as no surprise to industry watchers that Eurocopter had another good year last year. Its $4 billion order book was its best in the last five years. The total included $1.7 billion worth of new helicopters–equivalent to 401 airframes–and 70 percent of that sum was for export.
What is the current position regarding the U.S. Coast Guard re-engining contract for the Dolphin?
Eurocopter’s EC 145, the workhorse twin turbine that evolved from the BK 117 several years ago, is going to experience an increase in production, from 19 a year last year to 25 a year this year, according to the manufacturer.
MD Helicopters will announce today that operators of MD900 series aircraft are to be offered a lengthened tailboom free of charge. The boom modification, developed to improve MDHI’s bid for the US Army’s light utility helicopter competition, will both improve controllability and increase the aircraft’s payload.
If deals closed are the standard by which a trade show’s success is measured, Heli-Expo 2006 was an unqualified triumph. During the event, held in Dallas on the last three days of February, the major manufacturers announced sales approaching $700 million.