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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: AgustaWestland Expects Customer BA609 at Show by 2011

PARIS AIR SHOW

AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi wants the BA609 civil tilt-rotor flying again at Le Bourget in four years time. But he wants a customer to be flying it.

By the next Paris Air Show in 2009, a BA609 will fly without restrictions on its normal flight envelope, Orsi (shown bottom left, with AgustaWestland Chairman Amedeo Caporaletti) told reporters at Le Bourget in June. "In two air shows, we will have a customer BA609 on the tarmac."

AgustaWestland has a 25-percent stake in Bell/Agusta Aerospace Co., which markets the BA609, with Bell Helicopter holding the rest. The Anglo-Italian manufacturer brought its BA609 prototype, the No. 2 aircraft, to Le Bourget for flight demonstrations. It has been performing flight tests since November 2006 at AgustaWestland’s facility in Cameri, near Milan, and is not yet cleared for full flight. The first prototype is flying in Fort Worth, Texas. Two other prototypes are to join the flight test program this year, one in the United States and one in Italy.

The partners aim to gain certification of the BA609 by late 2010 or early 2011.

In other AgustaWestland news at Le Bourget:

  • The company re-branded its medium-lift EH101 transport the AW101 to reflect what company officials said is the full integration of its Agusta and Westland elements under parent Finmeccanica. AgustaWestland has delivered 130 of those aircraft, which have accumulated more than 100,000 hr in service.

  • The AW119 Ke (Koala enhanced) gained European Aviation Safety Agency certification, granted by ENAC (the Italian airworthiness authority). The seven-seat, single-engine helicopter was launched in February.

  • The U.S.-based Aero Toy Store ordered 12 helicopters — four AW119 Kes, four Grand light twins, and four AW139 medium twins.

  • Heli Express of Hong Kong ordered seven AW139s, an order that the manufacturer said highlights that medium twin’s success in the scheduled and offshore passenger transport markets.

  • The company delivered the 100th AW139, that milestone aircraft going to Synergy Aerospace for delivery to Brazil after the show for offshore operations with Senior Táxi Aéreo.

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