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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: Study Sees Strong Growth in Light Commercial Market

PRODUCTS/AIRFRAMES

The market research firm Forecast International is projecting that manufacturers will deliver 14,202 rotorcraft to the light commercial rotorcraft market in the next 10 years, including 6,891 rotorcraft powered by piston engines and 7,311 powered by turboshafts.

The study projects that Robinson Helicopter will deliver 6,086, the most aircraft of any maker in the light commercial market and will account for 42.8 percent of unit production for the overall market. Robinson produces only piston-engine helicopters, although it is developing the turbine R66.

Forecast sees Eurocopter delivering 3,141 helicopters during the same time frame, for 22.1 percent of the unit production. It projects Bell Helicopter will produce 1,576, Sikorsky Aircraft 1,123, and AgustaWestland 941.

Twin and single-engine helicopters are expected to sell equally well. The study forecasts deliveries of 3,603 light singles and 3,708 light twins. The Bell/Agusta Aerospace BA609 accounts for 142 of the light twins.

The growing economy in China was cited as a market with high growth potential. The country’s reluctance to open its airspace to general aviation traffic was also cited as a potential drawback.

Research and development into new technologies was cited, with the BA 609 as an example.

The acquisition of Schweizer Aircraft by Sikorsky, said Forecast, will reduce delivery times of Schweizer helicopters from almost a year to as little as 90 days.

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