An air-medical AB139 that will be used by Italian operator Airgreen during next year’s Winter Olympic Games in Turin is on display here in Paris on the ramp beside the Bell/Agusta Aerospace chalet (A382). The twin-turbine helicopter’s unobstructed, 282-cu.-ft.
Aircraft windows specialist PPG Aerospace Transparencies is to supply Bell/Agusta and Airbus. Bird-impact tests have been completed on three windshield configurations, claimed to be among the largest in aviation, designed for the Bell/Agusta AB139 helicopter.
Bell Helicopter has a contract to supply 45 Eagle Eye unmanned tiltrotors to the U.S. Coast Guard beginning in 2007 but with its own funds is already building what it calls a “risk-reduction prototype” and plans to have it flying by this fall. A full-scale mockup of the Eagle Eye is on static display on the ramp side of Bell’s Paris Air Show chalet (A378).
A booming regional economy, shifting travel patterns and aggressive sales representation have combined to propel remarkable growth in the fleet of Cessna Citation business jets in the region. By the beginning of 2006, Cessna will have 30 Citations based in the Middle East, with additional aircraft on order, according to Roger Whyte, senior vice president sales and marketing.
The first Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor performed its first full conversion to airplane mode in Texas this past August. The maneuver has become routine, and the ground-breaking aircraft has gone on to pass the 250-knot airspeed milestone.
Several Iranian manufacturers have joined a pursuit of a growing local market for affordable light airplanes for initial training and leisure flying. A proliferation of flight schools that cater to an expanding base of rich and middle-class Iranians has driven the recent surge in demand. The export market presents another opportunity, and a few Iranian-built aircraft have reportedly gone to customers in Australia.
On November 9, the second Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor prototype made its maiden flight in Italy. The flight took place at an Italian Air Force airfield in Cameri, near Milan. The 52-minute first flight was quickly followed by more test flights. As of November 15, the aircraft had flown in helicopter mode only.
Cessna Aircraft (Booth No. 602) has announced the sale to two undisclosed customers of eight Caravan turboprops. Four of the aircraft will be outfitted with the Oasis corporate interior for an unidentified Russian buyer, which will use them to augment its Moscow-based fleet of corporate helicopters. The other four are bound for the Middle East.
While AgustaWestland (Booth No. 1320) continues the integration of its two ancestral helicopter companies–Italy’s Agusta and the UK’s Westland, joined together under Italian industrial giant Finmeccanica in 2000–it is also concentrating on presenting a single corporate face in the marketplace.
It has been six years since Cessna last had a presence at a Farnborough air show. The company skipped the last two, reasoning that the aerospace and defense giants in residence were starting to crowd out business jet makers.