At the Farnborough Air Show last month, helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland unveiled its new Agusta A109S Grand, a medium twin-engine rotorcraft designed to fill the gap between the Agusta A109 Power and the Bell/Agusta AB139, now entering service. The helicopter is expected to receive certification early next year, with deliveries to begin in the second half of the year.
Duncan Aviation’s major service centers in Lincoln, Neb., and Battle Creek, Mich., have been named authorized service centers for the Citation Mustang. The authorization allows Duncan to perform all scheduled and unscheduled maintenance events covered under Cessna’s ProAdvantage Program.
In May, the second prototype of the Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor flew for the first time in public. The aircraft participated in the flying display at the Giornata Azzurra 2007 airshow in Pratica di Mare, near Rome, on May 27. The first prototype had in the past been displayed in a flight to the media in Fort Worth, Texas. The BA609 also performed at the Paris Air Show last month.
“Why don’t my Bell colleagues take this question?” AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi suggested when asked why Bell would not accept his company’s additional money into the protracted BA609 Tiltrotor program, during a press conference on Wednesday here at the Paris Air Show.
Despite a successful outing at the EBACE business aviation trade show a mere three weeks ago in Geneva, Cessna and other business jet makers view the Paris Air Show as an important venue. After all, what Le Bourget lacks in coziness, it more than makes up for in sheer volume with tens of thousands of visitors streaming through its gates each day.
The BA 609 Tiltrotor is making its flying debut here at Le Bourget. Bell/Agusta Aerospace has brought the second prototype to Paris after it made its first public appearance late last month at an Italian air show. Potential European customers have recently expressed concern about the aircraft’s cost of ownership. Its U.S.-Italian manufacturer might thus hope to convince them about its unique capabilities by showcasing it here.
Early in the second quarter, Bell/Agusta Aerospace reported that the BA609 civil tiltrotor program had logged 137 flights and 159 flight hours on ship 001, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas, and 14 flights and 14 flight hours on ship 002 in Cameri, Italy. The flight envelope reached 310 ktas, 25,000 feet and 35 knots in rearward and sideward flight. The longest single flight was 1.7 hours.
Late last month Cessna delivered its third Mustang, its first to a retail customer. The previous two deliveries were leased back to the manufacturer as demonstrators, as is customary for new aircraft. The airplane went to snow ski manufacturer Dave Goode, who was also the first customer typed in the aircraft. Perhaps a sign of things to come, Goode is also a private pilot with an instrument rating.
Don’t expect to see deliveries before 2012 of a new design for a large-cabin Citation based on the mockup shown at the NBAA Convention last year. Cessna is “still studying the business case to determine if it makes sense to go forward,” according to parent company Textron. “Probably be the first quarter of next year before we finally make that decision,” said Campbell.
Thanks to the continuing sales performance of the Citation line, operational results for Cessna in the first quarter of this year were described as “nothing short of superb” by Lewis Campbell, chairman, president and CEO of parent company Textron. Campbell said Cessna in the first quarter received orders for 122 Citations, bringing total orders on hand to more than 400.