Piaggio Aero Industries tapped John Bingham to serve as president and CEO of Piaggio America, as well as a member of Piaggio Aero’s board. Bingham’s career spans the high-end luxury automobile industry, where he served as vice president of Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars, and most recently in general aviation as Cirrus Design’s executive vice president. Former Piaggio America president and CEO
Alenia Aeronautica plans to begin training, early next year, employees of Strata, the new composites aerostructures company formed by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co. The Italian group, which has extensive experience with composites manufacturing, has been partnered with Mubadala (Stand C510) in the venture since October, when the sovereign wealth fund signed an agreement with its parent Finmeccanica (Stand C420).
The world financial crisis is hitting military budgets as well as commercial aviation, forcing Finmeccanica, Italy’s leading defense and aerospace group, to keep a close eye on the evolving situation.
Alenia Aeronautica’s Sky-Y unmanned technology demonstrator has completed its most recent series of tests in Italy. The Sky-Y has made 19 flights, in Sweden and in its home country, and the Finmeccanica subsidiary (Hall 2 Stand A165) claims that it is the only entirely European unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to have begun flight testing.
Cessna 650, Trigoria, Italy, Feb. 7, 2009–The Italian-registered Citation III was destroyed and the pilot and co-pilot were killed when it crashed about four minutes after takeoff from Rome’s Ciampino Airport. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the departure airport for the flight, which was destined for Bologna. The Italian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau is investigating.
The European Commission has sent Italy a letter of formal notice asking for information on its compliance with a 2008 judgment of the European Court of Justice regarding contracts with AgustaWestland’s Italian subsidiary, Agusta SpA. If the Italian authorities still do not comply, the Commission said, it may ask the Court to impose a penalty payment.
Helicopter interiors specialist Texas Aviation Services has delivered a “Ferrari styled” Eurocopter EC 130 to Mike Herzog of Portland, Ore. The automotive entrepreneur collects Ferraris as part of his large car dealership in Portland and wanted his new helicopter to match the Pininfarina design of one of his favorite Ferraris.
Selex Sistemi Integrati of Italy has introduced its first small radar, weighing only 55 pounds and aimed at “homeland protection” applications. Lyra 10, a prototype of which Selex is displaying at the show (Hall 4 Stand A5), can detect “people, vehicles, boats and low-altitude helicopters up to a range of 24 km (15 miles),” said the Finmeccanica company.
Italy’s Finmeccanica agreed to acquire U.S. defense electronics group DRS Technologies a month before the U.S. Government Accountability Office announced its decision supporting Boeing’s appeal against the award of the KC-X military tanker contract to EADS/Northrop Grumman. It is questionable whether the GAO’s decision signals a wider U.S. intent to block foreign encroachment on the U.S. defense market.
An unknown municipium in the Roman days, the city of Bergamo, Italy, was sacked and set on fire in the early Middle Ages. In the 12th century the town became a free city and blossomed to a network of umber stone buildings, alleys and tidy squares of the Upper Bergamo.