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Saturday, January 1, 2005

ROTORCRAFT Report

Bell/Agusta Delivers AB139 to Aga Khan, Wins Irish Order

Bell/Agusta Aerospace Co. delivered the first of four AB139s to the Aga Khan Development Network, which will use them to support construction and operation of three campuses of an international university in the mountains of South and Central Asia. The partnership of Bell Helicopter Textron and Agusta Westland also won an order from Ireland's Defence Dept., which picked the new medium twin over Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.'s Black Hawk for its Air Corps' utility helicopter requirements.

The Aga Khan Development Network plans to use the AB139 to ferry people and material for construction of three campuses of the University of Central Asia. The campuses will be at Khorog, Tajikistan, where the Pamir, the Hindu Kush, and the Karakorum mountain ranges meet; at Naryn, the Kyrgyz Republic, in the Tien-Chan mountain range, and at Tekeli, Kazakhstan, in the Altaountains. The university was founded by the presidents of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan along with the Aga Khan "to foster economic and social development throughout the vast and impoverished mountain zones of Central Asia." The Aga Khan is imam of the world's Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim community and is considered by them to be a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad. The aircraft, the third delivered, was handed over Oct. 28, 2004 at Agusta's Vergiate, Italy plant .

The AB139s are to be based in Bishkek in the Kyrgyz Republic, Dushanbe in Tajikistan and Islamabad, Pakistan. Those nations have had helipads and hangars built in Bishkek, Dushanbe and Islamabad. Four pilots and two engineers will be stationed at each site. Initially, Swiss pilots will direct the operations, but local pilots eventually will take over after they are trained at the Agusta Bell facilities in Milan, Italy.

The Aga Khan Development Network has used Agusta Bell AB412s for more than 15 years to support initiatives in health care, water and sanitation, education and rural development in the Karakorum mountains of northern Pakistan. Extreme conditions and the inaccessibility of sites are major impediments to the development of high-mountain areas, and hinder access for international organizations seeking to improve the quality of life in the region. "Our experience shows that the logistical efficiencies gained from the use of helicopters have had a positive impact on the beneficiaries, the poor in remote, high mountain areas, in terms of the speed, efficiency and quality of development activities," said the Aga Khan.

The AB139s will replace the AB412s.

In Ireland, the Defence Dept. expected to finalize by mid-December an agreement to acquire four AB139s as well as two Eurocopter EC135s, barring an appeal of the aircraft selections by Sikorsky, which had offered the S-70 Black Hawk for the utility missions. The AB139s would be used for air ambulance, troop transport, inland search and rescue, VIP transport missions. The Air Corps, known by the Irish name Garda, will use the EC135s for pilot training. The Garda currently operates Alouette 3s, AS355N Squirrel 2s, SA342L Gazelles and SA365F Dauphin 2s.

Bell/Agusta Aerospace expected to gain U.S. FAA certification of the AB139 before the end of 2004. That certification was expected to be accompanied by approval of the Italian ENAC airworthiness authority of the AB139 configured with four displays for its Honeywell Primus Epic avionics suite. ENAC issued a type certificate in June 2003 for the AB139 fitted with three displays, but the FAA required installation of the fourth display in the aircraft.

MILITARY

U.S, Postpones Decision on New Presidential Helo

The U.S. Navy in mid-November 2004 again delayed selection of the supplier of the next presidential helicopter transport, this time putting off the decision until late this month. Service officials said the delay was necessary to allow more time to consider the bids of competitors in the VXX program. A Defense Acquisition Board review of the program is set for Jan. 13.

"The Navy has adopted a standard practice of discussing proposals in detail with industry to allow final submission of the highest quality proposal possible," said Lt. Chris Servello. "The Navy has determined that additional time is required to make the best possible decision for the new presidential helo."

A decision originally was slated for early 2004, in part because officials said acquisition of an aircraft to replace the aging Sikorsky VH-3Ds, which the U.S. Marine Corps' HMX-1 squadron currently uses to fly the U.S. President, needed to be fast-tracked. (The acquisition also would allow replacement of newer Sikorsky VH-60Ns.) But selection was then postponed to Dec. 17, 2004.

Lockheed Martin is offering a version of the EH101 in partnership with that aircraft's manufacturer, AgustaWestland, and Bell Helicopter. Sikorsky is offering the H-92 Superhawk for VXX. It is partnered in its bid with Vought Aircraft Industries, which would make the airframe; L-3 Communications, which would provide communications and the interior; Rockwell Collins, which would supply the cockpit, FlightSafety International, which would provide training and simulators, and Northrop Grumman, which would provide protection equipment. General Electric is the engine prime contractor for both bids.

CIVIL

Whither MD Helicopters?

As we went to press, speculation was rampant of a deal for Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. to acquire MD Helicopters, Inc. Individuals inside and outside the companies said they were on the brink of announcing an agreement in early December. Shortly thereafter came talk that the talks had collapsed. Still, some senior industry folks close to the companies were optimistic that a deal would be done.

MD Helicopters' fortunes are mixed, to say the least. West Virginia's state legislature recently approved funding for the state police to acquire a new MD902 Explorer, which would be slated for delivery late this year. The state police currently operate two Vietnam-era OH-6s. Another law enforcement agency in the region also is seeking approval of funding for a new MD902 acquisition.

Back in November, however, Kaman Corp. wrote down its investment in its contracts to build fuselages for MD500s and MD600s and composite rotor blades for the Explorer. The charge of $20.1 million was largely responsible for Kaman's posted 2004 third-quarter loss of $11.9 million. The company earned $1.2 million in the same quarter in 2003. Kaman has multi-year contracts to produce fuselages for MD. It had stopped work on those contracts in 2003 "because of unresolved payment issues" with MD. In explaining the decision to take the charge now, Kaman's chairman, president and CEO, Paul R. Kuhn, said, "It had been our expectation that MD Helicopters would be successful in executing its strategy to improve current financial and operational circumstances." MD's management "has not been able to resolve the situation thus far."

He added: "We intend to maintain a business relationship" with the company "should it be successful in improving its financial and operational situation."

MILITARY

Canada Inks "Cyclone" Deal With Sikorsky

Canadian officials signed two separate, related contracts with a unit of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. to provide 28 versions of its H-92 for that nation's Maritime Helicopter Project as a key competitor's legal challenges to the move faltered.

The aircraft, to be designated CH-148 Cyclones, are intended to replace Canada's aging and failing fleet of Sea Kings.

Under the first contract, valued at $1.5 billion, Sikorsky International Operations, Inc. is to provide "28 fully integrated, certified and qualified helicopters with their mission systems installed" at a rate of one a month starting in November 2008, according to the Canadian government. The contract offers bonuses for early delivery. But the Sikorsky unit would face penalties of more than $80,000 a day, to a maximum of $36 million, if it misses deadlines.

The more lucrative contract is the second one. Valued at nearly $2.7 billion, it is a 20-year agreement for in-service support of the helicopters. It includes the construction of a training facility and a simulation and training suite.

The H-92 will give Canada's military personnel "a helicopter that can perform the diverse and difficult roles required in today's global security environment," said Defence Minister Bill Graham.

AgustaWestland, which had offered the EH101 for the maritime helicopter competition, challenged the July 2004 selection of the H-92 before Canada's Federal Court. Canada currently operates 18 EH101s as the CH-149 Cormorant maritime helicopter. It argued that the H-92's selection was ""biased, unfair and contrary to the rules of the procurement.'' The court directed the company to first file its complaint with the Canadian International Trade Tribunal. That body on Nov. 24, 2004 declined to investigate the matter, saying AgustaWestland filed its complaint to late. Under the tribunal's procedures, a complainant must file with 10 working days of learning the basis for its complaint. The tribunal noted that the Canadian government informed AgustaWestland on July 23, 2004, the date of the contract award, that its proposal did not comply with the procurement requirements. On Aug. 23, 2004, the tribunal said, the government gave AgustaWestland detailed information on its evaluation of the bids. Therefore, the tribunal ruled, the company should have filed its complaint by Sept. 7, 2004. AgustaWestland's lawyer in Canada, Gordon Cameron, said he would pursue the matter with the Federal Court.

After it signed the contracts with Canada, Sikorsky International Operations farmed out part of the in-service support work to a Canadian subsidiary of L-3 Communications. Under an agreement valued at more than $670 million, L-3 Communications MAS (Canada) Inc. will set up and provision the Cyclone support activities. It will be responsible for ensuring a smooth transition from production to in-service support, providing a training facility, as well as managing and controlling all support work in compliance with contract terms. L-3 MAS is a leading Canadian provider of aircraft fleet management, product life-cycle extension, support services and aircraft maintenance to government and commercial customers. It employs more than 800 people at centers in Mirabel and Bagotville in Quebec, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, in Ottawa, Ontario and in Cold Lake, Alberta.

MILITARY

Coast Guard Vows to Stick to Re-Engining Schedule

The U.S. Coast Guard expects to complete re-engining its HH-65 fleet with Turbomeca Arriel 2C2s by July 2006 despite a report by the U.S. Homeland Security Dept.'s inspector general that the project already is behind schedules and its delays could jeopardize maintenance of other Coast Guard aircraft.

Lt. Ron Mench of the U.S. Coast Guard told Rotor & Wing the re-engining project has a congressional mandate to complete re-engining of 84 of 95 HH-65s by mid-2006, and its funding is based on that schedule. Mench said the program "has the highest priority," and the Coast Guard expects to meet the deadline.

The inspector general reported that a review of the re-engining project in September 2004 found that the Coast Guard and its lead contractor, Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS), had not yet agreed to contract terms with Turbomeca and Eurocopter, the aircraft manufacturer, on the re-engining. ICGS is the joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman that is managing the service's Deepwater modernization program.

"Extended negotiations," the IG's report noted, have "postponed implementation of the re-engining project by several months," despite the fact that the Coast Guard had said that there was "an urgent and compelling need" for the re-engining "to mitigate safety and operational risks with the aircraft.

The IG also said the latest ICGS proposal it had reviewed on the project didn't call for delivering the Coast Guard's desired 84 operational re-engined HH-65s until June 2007--11 months after the deadline set by the service's commandant. That proposal also was more costly the Coast Guard's own estimate of doing the re-engining work entirely in house at its Aircraft Repair and Supply Center in Elizabeth City, N.C.

The Coast Guard is considering having ICGs subcontract with American Eurocopter to open another HH-65 re-engining line at American Eurocopter's new production facility in Columbus, Miss. Current plans call for American Eurocopter to provide the re-engining kits for the HH-95s, while Turbomeca USA will provide the Arriel 2C2 engines.

MILITARY

Loss of Blade Piece Forces V-22 Emergency Landing

A U.S. Marine Corps V-22 performing icing tests in Nova Scotia was forced to make an emergency landing at the Canadian Forces Shearwater air base Nov. 19 after losing a 20-in.-long, 4-in.-wide piece from one of its 36-ft.-long rotor blades.

About 13 mi. out of Shearwater and over water, the pilots noticed unusual vibrations and noises that sounded like ice shedding off the rotors. Cockpit displays indicated that a heater had failed on the aircraft's left side. The pilots declared an emergency, slowed the aircraft to minimize vibrations and prepared to land.

The V-22 has an electrical deicing system that warms the leading edges of its rotors and wings to prevent ice build-up and shed any that has accumulated. One suspect in the loss of the section of rotor blade is ice that broke off and collided with the blade. A key question is where the ice chunk came from. An investigation is under way, and investigators may consider placing more cameras on the Osprey to get better views of where ice forms and sheds on the aircraft.

The damaged Osprey went into maintenance after the emergency landing. It was scheduled to return to flight Dec. 6.

In other V-22 activities:

Two V-22s in November completed the fourth and final period of testing the V-22's suitability to operate from ships at sea during visits to the USS Wasp (LHD-1) amphibious assault ship. The tests examined interaction between a V-22 parked on the flight deck and another V-22 hovering in front of it and sought to expand the flight envelope for all port side landing spots aboard an amphibious assault ship. The testing also pursued development of a night short-takeoff envelope and evaluation of the latest flight control software version.

A group of mechanics from VMX-22, the V-22 operational test and evaluation squadron based at MCAS New River, N.C. conducted maintenance demonstration testing. Tests included removing both engines, jacking the aircraft and cycling the landing gear, and removing prop-rotor hubs and blade assemblies. The VMX-22 team's findings will support the squadron's upcoming operational evaluation.

Members of 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Co. trained in and demonstration helicopter rope-suspension operations at Camp Lejeunce, N.C. A dozen members of the slid down ropes as their V-22 hovered at altitudes of 30, 45 and 60 ft. The Marines used rappelling, fast-roping and special personnel insertion and extraction rigging techniques during the evolutions.

MILITARY

Boeing Demonstrates Unmanned MD530F

Boeing has conducted its first autonomous flight of an unmanned MD530F, designated "Unmanned Little Bird," as a demonstration of a system designed to show control of fully autonomous flight for helicopters in the MD530F weight class. The program was begun in October 2003 and the first flight was last Sept. 8.

Avionics for the unmanned MD530F were off-the-shelf hardware, including a Boeing-built navigational and guidance system, a Wescam MX-15 electro-optical/infrared sensor, an L-3 Communications tactical communications data link and a Boeing ground station. Boeing officials said an objective is to avoid having the military buy specialized equipment by demonstrating that off-the-shelf equipment like radar and sensors can be effective. The system is designed to provide Level 5 unmanned aerial vehicle capabilities, demonstrating autonomous flight controlled from a remote site.

The kit tested on the MD530F is designed to go on multiple types of aircraft, with the Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow a possible candidate for remote control. The system also allows the helicopter to be operated either as a manned or unmanned aircraft.

Once fully developed and put into operations, the aircraft is intended to be flown in any of four configurations: piloted with the system acting as auto-pilot, totally autonomous with the mission pre-programmed into it, remotely controlled from another aircraft, or remotely controlled by a ground station using a lap top computer. The system being demonstrated is designed to be capable of performing 250 missions and navigating using up to 99 waypoints. It can also be remotely reprogrammed in flight to change its mission.

Intended missions range from reconnaissance to attack to sling load resupply. For the resupply mission, the aircraft would be preprogrammed to place a sling load at a specific point on the earth. If that spot has become occupied, to be repositioned by a ground controller. Boeing will now begin expanding the flight envelope and focus on a communications and weapons demonstrator. Weapons testing is planned at its Yuma, Ariz. test facilities.

CIVIL

Robinson Issues R-22 Safety Alert

Robinson Helicopter Co. on Dec. 1, 2004 issued a safety alert to address issues stemming from a recent accident in which a rotor blade separated from an R-22.

The company warned that exceeding manifold pressure limits can cause blade failure. The A016-2 main rotor blade failure in question occurred at only 700 hr. time in service. R-22 blades have a 2,200-hr. service life, but repeated over-stressing can substantially reduce their fatigue life.

Exceeding manifold pressure limits produces excess stress that can result in premature fatigue failure.

The company warned operators that if their R-22 has been operated above manifold pressure limits, they should replace main rotor blades.

If the helicopter is normally parked outside in humid climates, the company said, particularly in tropical or coastal areas, operators should replace the A016-2 main rotor blades before they have reached 5 years time in service. This action is necessary due to the possibility that the main rotor blades may have suffered internal corrosion.

If main rotor vibration increases during flight, pilots are advised to land immediately and determine the cause of the vibration before further flight. If cause cannot be determined, replace main rotor blades before further flight.

Robinson also advised operators to review Safety Notices SN-37 and SN-39. Those notices and the safety alert are available on Robinson's web site, www.robinsonheli.com.

CIVIL

With Eye on Customers, Turbomeca Alters Organization, Overhauls African Facility

As part of an ongoing efforts to improve its service to (and standing with) customers, Turbomeca has created a new division to reinforce and coordinate a campaign to optimize its production process.

The company created a new Production Div., attached to its Operations Div., to improve production processes as well as coordinate all assembly activities at the company's international sites. It named Pierre-Yves Morvan, former deputy vice-president operations, to head the new division as vice-president production. Morvan joined Turbomeca in Bordes in 1990 and worked in the production department until 1995. In 2002, he became head of the commercial department in Turbomeca's Operator Support Div.

Also, Turbomeca President and CEO Emeric d'Arcimoles will stand in as head of the Operations Div. pending the appointment of a replacement for Philippe Catt鬠who was called to another post within the Snecma group, Turbomeca's parent company.

In a related move, Turbomeca has revamped and upgraded the facilities, machine-tools and heavy maintenance workshops at its South African engine service center, Turbomeca Africa Pty Ltd. with an eye toward strengthening its competitiveness and the services offered to customers.

Turbomeca Africa's 300-person workforce repairs and overhauls Turbomeca and Snecma engines and accessories. Workers there also manufacture complete gear and casing assemblies for several elements of the Snecma Group and other international powerplant makers, such General Electric and Rolls-Royce. The facility at Kempton Park, Johannesburg is the only service center for Turbomeca products on the African continent.

Turbomeca Africa is a two-year-old joint venture of Turbomeca and the South Africa's arms maker Denel. Denel owns 49 percent of the operation, while Turbomeca owns 51 percent.

Denel CEO Victor Moche said the facility is intended to become a "center of excellence for engine manufacturing."

MILITARY

Military Rotorcraft Production on the Rise

Nearly 5,500 military aircraft worth about $84 billion will be built or undergo major upgrades over the next decade, Forecast International says in a new study.

The Newton, Conn.-based market aerospace and defense analysis firm estimates that Western helicopter manufacturers will produce 5,448 new or upgraded rotorcraft in the 10 years ending Dec. 31, 2003. Of that total, Forecast International expects slightly more than 30 percent, or 1,668 aircraft, will be the products of major modification programs such as the U.S. Army's Boeing AH-64D and Sikorsky UH-60M upgrades. The remaining 3,780 aircraft projected to be built will be new-production rotorcraft. The projections are contained in Forecast International's latest study, "The World Market for Military Rotorcraft."

The firm estimates the total value of rotorcraft production through 2013 at $84 billion, with modification products accounting for roughly $14.3 billion of that.

While rotorcraft production will increase over the decade, the firm says, the value of the aircraft produced will outpace the production increase. "This is due to an increasing proportion of relatively expensive rotorcraft in the annual mix," such as the Bell/Boeing V-22, the study says.

Forecast International expects Sikorsky, with its newly acquired subsidiary Schweizer, to be the market leader both in unit production and production value. Sikorsky's acquisition of Schweizer gives it with an enhanced presence in the light helicopter market and the unmanned aerial vehicle market.

The Stratford, Conn.-based company should produce 1,237 military helicopters worth roughly $20.6 billion. Boeing would come in second, producing 983 rotorcraft valued at $12.9 billion through 2013. Eurocopter, with its subsidiary Australian Aerospace, would follow with 554 aircraft produced. That total includes production by the NH Industries consortium, in which Eurocopter is a leading participant, Forecast International said.

"In terms of production value," the firm said, "the Bell/Boeing V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft partnership is expected to be second to Sikorsky, with $18.3 billion."

Boeing's production is dependent on major modification programs. This is particularly so for Boeing. "More than 80 percent of the projected military rotorcraft output at Boeing during the next 10 years is expected to be remanufactured rotorcraft," the study says.

Mod programs make up an important part of Sikorsky's future production, but that company is not as dependent on them.

Forecast International said the military market might see further consolidation, citing the possibility that AgustaWestland, which "is currently in a state of transition, with co-owner Finmeccanica in the process of acquiring GKN's 50 percent stake in the joint venture," possibly merging with Bell Helicopter Textron. It also speculated that Lockheed and Northrop Grumman, neither of which currently manufacturers rotorcraft, "could eventually decide to acquire a rotorcraft manufacturer."

CIVIL

Enstrom Challenges Border Patrol Buy of EC120s

Enstrom Helicopter Corp. has protested the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's September 2004 decision to acquire 60 EC120 Colibris from Eurocopter for its border protection agency's low-level surveillance and security patrol missions.

Enstrom had entered its turbine-powered 480B into that protracted competition. The company dispatched representatives to Washington. D.C. late last year to argue that the 480B was better suited to the border-patrol requirements, in part because it is designed and built in the United States. (Eurocopter has said that the border patrol aircraft will be built at its new production facility at Golden Triangle Airport in Columbus, Miss.

American Eurocopter's share of the border patrol order would be worth up to $75 million over the planned five-year term of the contract. Deliveries of the first batch of 15-20 EC120s to the agency are to start in the second quarter of this year.

CIVIL

Tylers Gains STC for Fast-Rope System

Tyler Technologies has been awarded a FAA supplemental type certificate for its fast-rope system for the Eurocopter AS350/355. The external attach frame assembly, also known as a fast-rope unit, works in conjunction with the Tyler Special Operations Platform.

After the initial installation of the fast-rope system is complete, the framework quickly connects together with "pip" & safety pins. The system has been designed with a clever safety hook that can be released from inside the helicopter by a manual two-function T-handle cable release mechanism.

The complete special-ops platform system makes tactical helicopter missions safer, easier, & more efficient. The platform system consists of externally mounted cargo platforms on each side of the helicopter for transporting and deploying personnel. In the post 9-11 era, this equipment is expanding the counter-terrorism and homeland security capabilities of law enforcement agencies worldwide.

MILITARY

Army To Convert 96 More AH-64As to Longbow

The U.S. Army is delaying the Block III upgrades for the Apache AH-64D Longbow, but will convert an additional 96 AH-64As to AH-64Ds. The conversion program is intended to flow AH-64D models to three Army National Guard battalions and a single regimental aviation squadron, according to Paul Bogosian, the Army's aviation program executive officer. The aircraft will be converted to the Lot 7, Block II standard, probably under a one-year contract with Boeing with an option on a second year. Boeing already is working under a $2.3-billion contract to convert 259 AH-64As to the Longbow version. Deliveries of the additional 96 aircraft are expected to be completed during 2007-09.

The delay in the Block III upgrades has been identified as sliding deliveries from the end of this decade to the beginning of the next decade. The technological upgrades include areas such as new transmission, core processing capability, interconnectivity with unmanned aerial vehicles and enhanced self-protection capabilities.

CIVIL

CJ System Links To Teddy Bear Transport Program

CJ Systems Aviation Group has finalized an agreement with Ft. Worth, Texas-based Cook Children's Medical Center to provide air medical services through the health care system's Teddy Bear Transport program. While Cook Children's program has been operating Teddy Bear Transport for some time, the addition of a dedicated helicopter to the program will represent an expansion and augmentation of the services the medical centers provides to the Ft. Worth community, according to David Franc, CJ Systems vice president, business development. The service provides hospital-to-hospital transportation for patients who can't wait for care, such as children and newborns who face complications, possibly death, without speedy transport. The typical helicopter transport can bring a patient to the medical center within 20-45 min., he said.

The helicopter operation will use a Bell 222UT, with CJ Systems providing a contingent of four pilots and one mechanic. The 222 will be sent through CJ System's affiliate Heli-Dyne Systems for basic modifications and improvements.

"It's a great opportunity for CJ Systems and Heli-Dyne," Franc said. "We will be drawing on Heli-Dyne's resources in supporting this program and moving into future aircraft completion." Heli-Dyne is also located in Ft. Worth, with its close proximity to Cook Children's, meaning that "the program will have quick and direct access to an overhaul and maintenance facility offering immediate access to inventory, personnel and expertise in the Bell 222."

Chelton EFIS STC'd For Bell/Eurocopter Models

Chelton Flight Systems has received FAA supplemental type certificates for its FlightLogic synthetic-vision electronic flight instrumentation system for the Eurocopter AS350 and AS355 and the Bell 407. This is the first STC for a Eurocopter model, according to David Thomas, Chelton's rotorcraft program manager. The AS350 models include the C, D, D1, B, B1, B2, B3 and AB. The AS355 STC includes the E, F, F1, F2 and N models. Chelton already holds STCs for the system on the Bell 206.

The EFIS is coupled to the SAGEM AP85 autopilot for all LNAV procedures, including approaches. It features the Chelton primary flight display with forward-looking synthetic vision and a multi-function moving map display. The synthetic vision is based on computer-generated mapping, and includes towers, antennas, buildings and other obstacles. The system introduces two unique capabilities to the helicopter market: highway-in-the-sky navigation symbology with 3-D GPS guidance for en-route flight and instrument procedures, and hover vector, which provides the pilot with a real-time drift vector that allows zero-zero takeoff and landing and is designed to eliminate whiteout/brownout accidents, Thomas said.

The company is working toward getting STCs for additional helicopters, with interest coming from other Bell and Eurocopter operators as well as an AgustaWestland operator, Thomas said.

People

Mike Robbins has joined Composite Technology, Inc. (CTI) as director of business development. Formerly marketing manager for Latin America at Bell Helicopter, he began his career in the U.S. Air Force and has spent 20 years in the helicopter industry, working in a variety of international positions. He will spearhead the growth of CTI's military programs and identify new global opportunities. The company also has promoted three experienced managers to help execute the company's growth strategies. Sven Lofstrom has been named director of technical programs. A 14-year veteran of CTI, he will support the tooling requirements of CTI facilities in Brazil, Canada, England, Singapore and the United States. In addition, he will support licensor relationships and has been charged with expanding CTI's composite manufacturing and repair programs.

Renee Wilson is the new general manager of CTI's Grand Prairie, Texas facility. A 13-year veteran of CTI, she has full responsibility for supporting the company's U.S. and South American customers from this facility. George Caufman is CTI's new compliance director. Caufman, who has been with CTI 15 years, will support technical training, regulatory, licensing and customer requirements for CTI facilities worldwide.

FlightSafety International has named Greg Wedding as vice president, personnel development. Wedding had previously served as manager of the FlightSafety Savannah Learning Center in Georgia and Team Gulfstream. In his new position, he will be responsible for developing and implementing recommendations for the selection and recruitment of qualified personnel for all learning centers and other company facilities. FSI also has promoted Scott Fera to the new post of vice president, worldwide sales. He previously served as managing director, worldwide sales.

Lycoming engines has appointed Todd Stoner, formerly in sales and marketing with Aventis, a leading pharmaceutical company, has been named as vice president, sales and marketing. Stoner also served as a U.S. Marine Corps CH-46 helicopter pilot from 1989 to 1997.

Mike Everhart has been named as Lycoming's director of distribution and channel management, responsible for managing the company's growing distribution network. He has been with Lycoming since 2001, holding senior level positions in Quality Assurance, Materials, Customer Service and Operations. Dennis Racine has been named by Lycoming as director of marketing and customer leadership. He formerly served as marketing manager. He will be responsible for Lycoming's marketing processes, including new customer leadership initiatives such as customer segmentation, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and customer positioning.

CAE has appointed Marc Parent to be Group President, Simulation Products. Prior to joining CAE, Parent served as vice president and general manager, Bombardier Aerospace, where he spent 20 years in engineering, product development and management, and operations divisions at that Canadian aircraft manufacturer.

Northrop Grumman has named Daniel Montgomery as corporate lead executive for the Huntsville, Ala. region. In that position, Montgomery will serve as the principal corporate point of contact for Northrop Grumman's customers in Huntsville. The company's activities in Huntsville include serving the Army Aviation and Missile Command as well as the Army's program offices for Tactical Missiles, Aviation and Air, Space & Missile Defense.

coming events

Jan. 18-20--American Helicopter Society Unmanned Rotorcraft: Design, Control and Testing, San Marcos Resort & Conference Center, Chandler, Ariz. Contact: Kim Smith, 703-684-6777; web: www.vtol.org.

Feb. 6-8--HELI-EXPO 2005, Anaheim, Calif. Contact Marilyn McKinnis, the Helicopter Association International, Alexandria, Va. Phone: 703-683-4646; fax: 703-683-4745; web: www.rotor.com; e-mail: marilyn.mckinnis@rotor.com.

March 13-17--Fifth Australian Pacific Vertiflite Conference on Helicopter Technology, Melbourne Convention Center, Melbourne, Australia. Contact Arvind K. Sinha, arvind.sinha@rmit.edu.au; web: www.aiac-11.com.

March 17-18--FAA Aviation Forecast Conference, Washington, D.C. Convention Center, Washington, D.C. Contact: Linda Baranovics, 202-267-7924; web: http://apo.faa.gov/conference/welcome.htm; e-mail: Linda.baranovics@faa.gov

March 22-24--Navy League Sea-Air-Space Expo, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, D.C. Contact: J. Spargo & Assoc., 703-449-6418; fax 703-631-7258; web: www.navyleague.org; e-mail: sasregistration@jspargo.com.

June 13-19--46th International Salon of the Paris Air Show, Le Bourget Airport, France. Contact Salons International de l'Aeronautique et de l'Espace, Paris, France, +33-(1)-53-23-33-33; fax +33-(1) 47-20-00-86; web www.paris-air-show.com; e-mail info@hfusa.com or siae@salon-du-bourget.fr.

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