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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: Pino Says New Schweizer Model is on the Way

PRODUCTS/AIRFRAMES

Is Schweizer Aircraft on the brink of offering a new helicopter product?

Executives at the Sikorsky Aircraft subsidiary in Horseheads, N.Y. have said for some time that they are working on an addition to their line of 300C, 300CBi, and turbine 333 helicopters, and it would be revealed when the time is right. That time may be nigh.

At the Paris Air Show in mid-June, Sikorsky President Jeff Pino said, "We’ll be announcing a new Schweizer product in the very near future." Schweizer is expected to make an announcement by mid-August, though that’s tentative.

Recall that Frank Robinson upped the ante for the light helicopter market earlier this year when he unveiled his long-awaited R66 turbine, powered by Rolls-Royce’s new RR300 and aimed at replacing the oldest Bell Helicopter 206 JetRangers. After that announcement at Heli-Expo, Rolls in March said other manufacturers had signed memos of understanding to discuss applications of the new engine on their products. Those manufacturers included Schweizer. Rolls is shooting for FAA certification of the engine by 2008.

Of course, the new model could be a fixed-wing aircraft.

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