Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with Brazilian aircraft company Embraer to establish a joint venture to manufacture AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil for both the domestic and regional military and civilian markets.
Korea has chosen the AgustaWestland AW159 over the Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk as its new maritime operational helicopter. The contract for eight aircraft is the first export order for the new-generation aircraft, which is entering service with the British Army and Royal Navy. The Korean Navy already operates about 20 Super Lynx helicopters, the predecessor to the naval version of the AW159.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered a review of the regulation of helicopter flights over central London in the wake of an accident yesterday in which an AgustaWestland AW109 Power crashed into a newly erected crane on a high-rise building in the UK capital’s Vauxhall district. The accident claimed the life of pilot Pete Barnes, the sole occupant of the helicopter, which was being operated by UK-based charter firm RotorMotion.
The first AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter assembled in Russia flew last month, Helivert, a joint venture between AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters, announced Tuesday. The 37-minute maiden sortie took place on December 19 at Russian Helicopters’ “National Helicopter Building Center” in Tomilino, near Moscow.
AgustaWestland’s new eight-ton medium-heavy twin recently completed high/hot testing in Arizona, Colorado and Texas and now heads north. The company expects certification in this year’s second half. AgustaWestland has logged orders for approximately 60 of the new helicopters, primarily from the oil and gas market.
AgustaWestland is giving serious consideration to building production models of the AW609 civil tiltrotor in the U.S., possibly in Texas, a senior executive told AIN last month. Robert LaBelle, managing director of the AgustaWestland TiltRotor Co., said that initially the aircraft will be built partially in Italy and the U.S. but that the ultimate decision on where to conduct final assembly will be “driven by the customer base.” Some 35 percent of that customer base, he noted, is predicted to be in the U.S.
A senior AgustaWestland executive told AIN late last week that the company was giving serious consideration to building production models of the AW609 civil tiltrotor in the U.S., possibly in Texas. Robert LaBelle, managing director of the AgustaWestland Tilt-Rotor Co., said the aircraft initially would be built partially in Italy and the U.S., but that the ultimate decision on where to conduct final assembly would be “driven by the customer base” and that “35 percent of that is predicted to be in the United States.”
MHS Aviation, a charter and aircraft management provider based in Munich, Germany, recently signed up with Multi Service Aero. The company operates three Dornier 328s, two air ambulance-equipped Learjets (31 and 55 models), two Learjet 45XRs, one Learjet 60 and four helicopters (two AgustaWestland A109s, a Eurocopter AS350BE and a Bell LongRanger).
Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland has received $74 million from the UK Government Regional Growth Fund to help develop the AW609 civil tiltrotor and future tiltrotor designs. AW said it will work with the National Composites Centre, the University of Liverpool and key UK suppliers on the program. The tiltrotor is slated for certification in 2016. AgustaWestland said it would contribute more than $87 million to the program.
AgustaWestland is going glass in the AW119 single. On October 22 the company unveiled the AW119Kx, which features the Garmin G1000H integrated flight deck system with synthetic vision, moving map and highway in the sky and obstacle/terrain avoidance systems. Certification is scheduled for early next year. Life Flight Network is the launch customer, ordering 15 of the helicopters configured for helicopter EMS operations from its bases in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The helicopters will be outfitted to carry two patients.