All posts for the month March, 2023
Leonardo – Mitsui Bussan Aerospace signs for six AW139 helicopters further strengthening the type’s market leadership in Japan.
PRESS RELEASE – Rome, 16 March 2023 09:22
- Nearly 70 AW139s in service in Japan to date with over 110,000 flight hours logged performing a wide range of missions
- Over 150 helicopters of various models fly in Japan today carrying out law enforcement, emergency medical service, search and rescue, fire-fighting, disaster relief, VIP/corporate transport, electronic news gathering, and maritime utility
- The AW139 is the bestselling type in its category with nearly 1,300 units sold, more than 290 customers in over 80 nations worldwide
Mitsui Bussan Aerospace (MBA), the authorised distributor for the Leonardo AW139, AW169 and AW189 helicopter models in Japan, announced with Leonardo orders recently signed for a total of six AW139s, to meet the requirements of various upcoming opportunities in the country. These latest orders confirm the continuous success of the AW139 in Japan with nearly 70 units currently in operation.
The AW139 fleet in the country is rapidly growing with new deliveries following previous and planned orders for end users in the country, which include two aircraft for the Japan Coast Guard (comprising 21 AW139s ordered by this operator) and two for the Japan National Police Agency this year. Moreover, three AW139s will be handed over in 2024 to Ishikawa Prefecture Fire Fighting & Disaster Relief, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transport of Hokuriku, Saitama Prefecture Fire Fighting & Disaster Relief respectively.
The AW139 has proven extremely successful in Japan: today the AW139s in-service in Japan have logged in excess of 110,000 flight hours, performing several utility operations, as well as supporting several prefectures and city authorities. Over 150 helicopters of various types, including the AW139, are in service in Japan, used for a wide range of missions including law enforcement, emergency medical service, search and rescue, fire-fighting, disaster relief, VIP/corporate transport, electronic news gathering, and maritime utility.
Mitsui Bussan Aerospace Co., Ltd. is a trading company that specialises in aerospace, defence, and security systems. The company imports and sells helicopters, aircraft, space, defence, and security-related equipment, as well as providing related services. Its products include Leonardo’s helicopters, defense machines, aircraft engines, space business and more. The company was founded in 1982 and is based in Tokyo, Japan.
The world’s most important helicopter programme since its certification in 2004 and the bestselling type in its category, the AW139 has logged orders for nearly 1,300 units from more than 290 operators in over 80 countries to date for all missions. The global AW139 fleet has exceeded 3.6 million flight hours logged to date. The type features state-of-the-art avionics with advanced navigation and collision avoidance systems to enhance situational awareness and reduce pilots’ workload, unmatched speed, power margins and overall performance, the widest cabin in its category featuring high modularity for rapid reconfiguration, a unique 60+ min run-dry capable main gear box for enhanced reliability and safety and up to 1,000 certified kits.
PRESS RELEASE – BILLINGS, MONTANA (March 10, 2023)
Billings Flying Service (BFS) is in final negotiations to purchase six Netherlands Defense Ministry surplus Boeing CH-47D Chinook helicopters.
The sale was approved by the Netherlands’ Defense Material Sales committee at the end of 2022.
“We are excited for the opportunity to increase our CH-47D fleet as we position ourselves for global expansion” said a BFS spokesperson. “We anticipate the contract will be executed within the next 30-days.”
Once the contract is signed the aircraft will be transported to Billings, Montana, to undergo an in-house reset and modification program to support the company’s heavy lift, aerial firefighting, and utility/infrastructure operations. Expected entry into service is late 2023 through 2024.
About Billings Flying Service Celebrating 40 years in 2023, Billings Flying Service (BFS) is a heavy lift helicopter solutions provider specializing the in CH-47 Chinook operations in aerial firefighting, utility, and construction. BFS owns and operates a FAA 145, AS9110, and Boeing-certified maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility for the CH-47 Chinook, and an authorized Honeywell CH-46, 234, CH-47D and CH-47D+ Flight Control Systems (FCS) Repair Station, both of which support the BFS Chinook fleet, commercial CH-47 customers, the United States military, and foreign militaries. For more information please visit billingsflyingservice.com
PRESS RELEASE – Philadelphia 09 March 2023 14:53
- Aircraft enters Low-Rate Initial Production with first 13 aircraft scheduled to begin delivering in 2024
- MH-139A is based on Leonardo’s proven multi-mission AW139
- Leonardo produces the MH-139A at its FAA-certified Part 21 production line in Philadelphia, PA and transfers it to Boeing in Ridley Park, PA for militarization.
On March 3, U.S. Air Force reached a positive Milestone C decision, which commences the start to low-rate initial production for the MH-139 “Grey Wolf”.
Subsequently, Boeing and Leonardo have announced a contract for delivery of the first thirteen (13) aircraft. The initiation of low-rate production will yield the first operational aircraft set to replace the U.S. Air Force’s current fleet of UH-1N “Huey” helicopters, with first delivery slated for 2024.
The Grey Wolf is a multi-mission helicopter based on Leonardo’s proven AW139 helicopter, designed to protect intercontinental ballistic missiles and transport U.S. government officials and security forces. It is based on the proven AW139, with over 1130 currently in service throughout the world.
“This decision is a major step toward entering the MH-139 into service and providing the U.S. Air Force with additional missile security for decades,” said Azeem Khan, Boeing’s MH-139 program director. “We are working diligently to begin deliveries next year.”
“My teammates at Leonardo, together with our partners at Boeing, are eager to continue our partnership and are fully committed to ensuring the fleet’s success.” said Clyde Woltman, CEO of Leonardo Helicopters US.
The strength of the MH-139A lies in the collaborative efforts of Leonardo as original equipment manufacturer, and Boeing, as prime contractor responsible for militarization and support. Leonardo produces a multirole civil-certified helicopter at its plant in northeast Philadelphia, while Boeing is responsible for military equipment procurement and installation, as well as post-delivery support of the aircraft. By offering a proven aircraft with the AW139 and integrating Boeing’s advanced technology, the US Air Force is assured the best helicopter for its critical mission set.
The MH-139A’s enhanced capabilities allow it to accomplish missions more quickly, quietly, and efficiently. With 50% increase in speed and range, and an increase of 5,000 pounds max gross weight, the aircraft is well positioned to execute the Air Force mission of protecting intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) sites across the United States.
The Boeing-Leonardo Team was awarded a $2.4 billion contract in September 2018 for up to 84 helicopters, training systems and associated support equipment. In August of 2022, the U.S. Air Force accepted the first four helicopters that are now being used for additional developmental and initial operational testing.
PRESS RELEASE – Mineral Wells, TX (March 8, 2023)
Genesys Aerosystems, a Moog Inc. company, announced that it will work jointly with Airbus Helicopters for the development of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) capabilities for the single engine H125.
The Genesys Helicopter Suite™ to be certified will allow Airbus H125 operators expand the helicopter’s mission capabilities in all weather conditions. The avionics solution is composed of dual IDU-680 EFIS displays, Genesys VHF NAV/COM aircraft digital radio, Genesys IFR helicopter autopilot, dual redundant ADAHRS, dual GPS/FMS, and other equipment required to achieve IFR certification. The DO-178C Level A, IFR certified, IDU-680 displays offer high-resolution LCD glass depicting 3D Synthetic Vision, Highway-In-The-Sky (HITS), Enhanced HTAWS terrain awareness, Integrated FMS, Hover Vector, and many more features.
The STC project is scheduled for completion by second half of 2024. Initially the certified solution will be offered for Airbus factory new H125 deliveries in North America with follow-on approvals expected in other countries, which allow single engine IFR operations.
“Genesys is excited to partner with Airbus to offer an avionics solution to the H125 that allows an affordable option for IFR operations”, states Jamie Luster, Genesys Aerosystems Director Sales and Marketing. “We expect the IFR option to be a popular choice in civil and special mission applications.”
“The H125 remains an unrivaled product thanks to its continuous improvements. This new IFR feature will expand the helicopter’s mission capabilities in all weather conditions especially for critical missions such as public services, including Law Enforcement and EMS, and enhanced training” said Jérome Ronssin, Head of Light Helicopters Programs at Airbus Helicopters. “The choice to partner with Genesys was made based on their extensive experience in designing state of the art avionics and in particular their experience certifying platforms for IFR operations.”
About the Genesys Helicopter Suite™
The Genesys Helicopter Suite™ provides increased operational effectiveness through a complete, comprehensive, and affordable cockpit system certified for single engine IFR operations. The Genesys Helicopter Suite™ includes the following system components:
● EFIS Glass Upgrade – Customizable Primary and Multi-Function Flight Displays
● FMS – Flight Management
● SVS – Synthetic Vision System
● HITS – Highway-In-The-Sky flight symbology
● HTAWS – Helicopter Terrain Awareness & Warning System
● IFR Helicopter Autopilot
● Radios – VHF Navigation and Communication aircraft radio
● Sensors – Includes all necessary sensors to enable single engine IFR operations
About Genesys Aerosystems, a Moog Inc. Company
Genesys Aerosystems is a leading provider of integrated avionics systems for military and civil customers. Genesys Aerosystems’ avionics systems can be offered individually or integrated to provide an entire cockpit solution. Its synthetic vision Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) revolutionized safety in low-level flight operations and is now approved on more than 700 aircraft and helicopter models. Genesys Aerosystems’ VFR and IFR approved autopilot solutions are available for both fixed-wing and helicopter aircraft. With more than 1000 flying globally today, Genesys autopilots are certified and available on many aircraft makes and models. For more information, visit www.genesys-aerosystems.com.
PRESS RELEASE – Atlanta, GA (7 March 2023)
Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company today announced the signed purchase agreement for a Bell 429 to be operated by World Aviation, the Independent Representative (IR) for Bell in Spain.
The aircraft will be delivered to a private owner and operated for charter and corporate VIP transport in the Costa del Sol and other regions in the country.
The Bell 429 has proved popular for the corporate VIP mission in many of the most prestigious locations throughout Europe. The aircraft is operated in the French Riviera and the French Alps by Helisecurite, Wucher Helicopter in Austria, Starspeed in London, and in Greece and Cyprus. It has proved particularly popular in Switzerland where it is operated by HeliAlps, Airport Helicopter, Air Zermatt, and Centaurium Aviation. Bell has now delivered more than 90 429 aircraft in Europe.
“Those seeking an aircraft that offers class-leading transport, speed, smoothness and superior passenger experience needn’t look any further than the Bell 429,” said Alberto Delgado, CEO, World Aviation. “We’re thrilled to be facilitating the purchase of the first Bell 429 in Spain and we’re confident that both passengers and pilots will be delighted by the premium experience this aircraft delivers.”
World Aviation, based in Málaga, was established in 2014 and was appointed as a Bell Independent Representative in 2020. It specializes in passenger and cargo transportation, aerial work, and VIP transfers. Additionally, it offers pilot training, maintenance, engineering, and other operational services.
“The Bell 429 is continuing to showcase its breadth of abilities for our European customers – from mountain rescue in the Swiss Alps, to law enforcement in Sweden and soon passenger transport in the Costa del Sol,” said Patrick Moulay, senior vice president, International Sales, Bell. “The combination of twin engines, IFR capability and Bell’s BasiX-Pro integrated avionics means the 429 is able to fly in more locations and in a wide range of weather conditions, making it a highly versatile aircraft for the corporate VIP mission in Europe.”
The Bell 429 is a highly capable multi-mission twin-engine platform used globally for search and rescue, law enforcement, HEMS, and corporate transportation. Its dual Pratt & Whitney engines each deliver a max continuous 635 shp, enabling a max cruise speed of 278 km/hr, while its four-rotor blade system offers exceptional levels of smoothness and refinement when in flight.
For customers seeking an additional level of luxury, the Bell 429 can be specified with a Designer Series interior. This elevates the cabin experience by offering a choice of superior leather options, enhanced flooring, and metal finishes, as well as tailored consoles, door accent panels and headliner, among other bespoke touches.
There are 430 Bell 429 operating worldwide, with more than 600,000 global fleet flight hours between them.
Bell is exhibiting at HAI Heli-Expo 2023 from March 6 to 9, located in booth number B5504. On display will be the Bell 505, two Bell 407GXi and a Bell 429. To find out more about Bell’s presence at HAI, visit our show landing page.
PRESS RELEASE – Atlanta, GA. (7 March 2023)
Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, and leading manufacturer of helicopters and vertical lift aircraft, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rotortrade, the leading global helicopter distributor, to define optimal pre-owned helicopter solutions to Bell and their customers.
Through this MOU, Bell and Rotortrade will explore how we can offer expanded trade-in solutions to its customers, making it easier to upgrade to newer aircraft model and offer more affordable, pre-owned solutions. Additionally, Rotortrade aims to expand its pre-owned inventory by adding more Bell aircraft to their fleet.
“Bell and Rotortrade are excited to explore a relationship that will provide a real advantage to our customers,” said Patrick Moulay, senior vice president, International Commercial Business, Bell. “Bell is eager to work with Rotortrade to offer customers trade-in solutions, such as the sale of the customer’s helicopter pre-arranged by Rotortrade when the order for a new Bell helicopter is placed, enabling the customer to seamlessly transition from the used aircraft to the brand-new aircraft. This MOU will allow us to develop a strategy to better serve our customers’ needs and expand our global reach.”
“We are excited about entering the next phase of these discussions with Bell,” said Philippe Lubrano, CEO of Rotortrade. “Our desire is to secure a steady flow of inventory to provide the best possible offerings to our customers. At Rotortrade, our vision has always been to transform the pre-owned market for the benefit of both buyers and sellers. This Memorandum of Understanding with Bell is a significant milestone in achieving that vision, as we work toward providing our customers with even more options and access to top-quality, pre-owned helicopters.”
For more Information, please visit the Bell website or visit our booth at HAI Heli-Expo 2023.
THC to expand AW139 helicopter fleet to boost SAR services, EMS and Corporate transport in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
PRESS RELEASE – Rome 08 March 2023 18:00
- THC confirms the intention to further expand the presence of the AW139 fleet adding six helicopters plus 20 options within the next 18 months
- Once delivered, these latest aircraft will bring the THC’s AW139 fleet to 49 helicopters
- Bestselling type in its category with nearly 1300 units sold, more than 290 customers in over 80 nations worldwide for the widest range of applications and over 170 AW139s sold to operators in the Middle East to date
THC (The Helicopter Company) will further expand its fleet of Leonardo AW139 intermediate twin engine helicopters to reinforce search and rescue (SAR), Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Corporate transport in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At Heli-Expo 2023 (7-9 March) in Atlanta, Georgia, the Company announced its willingness to engage negotiations to procure additional six units to the existing fleet plus 20 options.
By the time all these latest AW139s are delivered, THC will have a total fleet of 49 AW139s carrying out a range of missions including emergency medical service, search and rescue and corporate transport in the country.
Gian Piero Cutillo, MD Leonardo Helicopters, said “We’re pleased with the level of confidence shown by a leading operator like THC in our technology and mission capabilities by this latest announcement of fleet expansion plan. The AW139 is supporting their service capability growth programme for key missions, including SAR, EMS and Corporate transport and we’re proud to play our role for the communities they will serve.”
The world’s most important helicopter programme since its certification in 2004 and the bestselling type in its category, the AW139 has logged orders for nearly 1300 units from more than 290 customers in over 80 countries to date. The fleet of more than 1130 units in service has logged in excess of 3.6 million flight hours to date. The type has proven extremely successful in the Middle East with over 170 units sold across the region for the widest scope of missions including corporate transport, emergency medical service, search and rescue, law enforcement, offshore transport, government duties. The AW139 delivers outstanding capabilities, technology and safety to meet stringent requirements from operators for tasks in harsh conditions to maximize effectiveness. The type features state-of-the-art avionics with advanced navigation and collision avoidance systems to enhance situational awareness and reduce pilots’ workload, unmatched speed, power margins and overall performance, the widest cabin in its category featuring high modularity for rapid reconfiguration, a unique 60+ min run-dry capable main gear box for enhanced reliability and safety and up to 1000 certified kits.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) established THC as part of its strategy to activate new sectors that meet the growing demands for commercial helicopters in Saudi Arabia.THC also supports the realization of Vision 2030 and generates long-term commercial returns. THC is the Kingdom’s first and only commercial helicopter operator and has been operating since mid-2019.
For more information, please visit: www.thehelicoptercompany.com.sa
Leonardo announces AW09 single engine helicopter contracts and partnership at Heli-Expo 2023 as the programme makes further progress.
PRESS RELEASE – Rome, 08 March 2023
- Preliminary sales contracts for over 50 AW09 helicopters from customers worldwide, including LATAM, South East Asia, South Africa, Central America, Oceania and Japan
- Agreement with leading HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) and service provider Metro Aviation to deliver completion, service and training services for the AW09 in the USA
- Full scale mock-up of the next generation AW09 in its final configuration on stage at Heli-Expo as the programme moves ahead
Leonardo made major announcements at Heli-Expo 2023 (Atlanta, 7-9 March) landing global contracts and signing a key collaboration for the USA market for the AW09 helicopter as the next generation single engine programme moves ahead.
Leonardo has signed preliminary sales contracts for over over 50 units with several customers worldwide including Aero Service Representação in Brazil, Synerjet Latina SA in Colombia, Peru and Chile, Helitech Asia in South East Asia, Safomar in South Africa, Diskopsa for Panama and Guatemala, Heliflite in Oceania Aero Facility in Japan.
In addition, an important Agreement was also signed between Leonardo and Metro Aviation, one of the largest privately-owned HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) operator and service providers in the US. The collaboration between the two companies aims to support the introduction and positioning of the AW09 in the USA and in doing so, benefits from Metro Aviation’s renowned experience and capabilities in the development of Aircraft Interior & STCs (supplemental type certificate), service and training.
Gian Piero Cutillo, MD Leonardo Helicopters, said “What we have announced at Heli-Expo is the culmination of three years’ work through which the AW09 benefited from considerable enhancements and has now reached a final configuration, allowing to offer the level of competitiveness that the market expects. Indeed, the AW09 is generating a very positive response from all geographies around the world. Rotorcraft companies highly welcome the AW09 for its outstanding features and multirole capabilities that represent a significant evolution compared to existing products in this category. The preliminary sales contracts signed provide clear evidence of it. Also, combining our industrial capabilities with Metro Aviation’s extensive and recognized experience in operations and support enhances the AW09 value proposition, providing superior mission capabilities to the operators of this platform in a prime single engine market like USA. “
The AW09 single engine helicopter is this year one of Leonardo’s key highlights at Heli-Expo 2023. The full-scale mock-up of the next generation helicopter in its final configuration is displayed at the Leonardo booth, attracting lots of interest within the rotorcraft community. Acquired three years ago by Leonardo, the AW09 perfectly complements Leonardo’s product range in the Long Light Single segment, introducing an all-new design aircraft to sustain a long-term competitive positioning in this weight category. One of the latest evolutions is the decision to on-board on the AW09 the Arriel 2K engine, the newest member of the Safran renown engine family, in line with the targeted AW09 high supportability and reliability levels.
PRESS RELEASE – Atlanta, GA (March X, 2023)
Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, today announced the signed purchase agreements for three Bell 407GXi – two in the UK to corporate customers and one in Ireland to Zeus Essential Holding Limited (Zeus), an Irish-owned global packaging solutions company. The signings were announced at HAI Heli-Expo.
Zeus is an innovative packing provider with operations in over 30 countries, including New Zealand, Australia, North America and Europe. The company provides sustainable packing solutions to customers in the industrial and transit, hospitality, retail food service, and agricultural industry.
“As an international business owner, I frequently travel between our locations across Europe and North America. The Bell 407GXi will allow me to manage business needs promptly, all while in a comfortable and reliable aircraft,” said Brian O’Sullivan, owner, Zeus.
With more than six million flight hours and nearly 1,500 Bell 407s across six continents, the aircraft sets high standards for single-engine aircraft with its advanced technical features.
“In 2022, Bell had a successful year in the UK and Ireland. We are proud to support our customers’ needs and requirements in the region. The Bell 407GXi continues to be the chosen aircraft for corporate and VIP transportation across the world. This aircraft combines comfort and speed all while safely getting passengers to their destinations,” said Patrick Moulay, senior vice president, International Commercial Sales.
The Bell 407GXi is outfitted with the new Rolls-Royce M250-C47E/4 turbine engine equipped with two dual-channel FADECs, delivering exceptional hot and high performance, fuel efficiency and the ability to cruise at 133 kts/246 km/h. Garmin’s G1000H NXi Integrated Flight Deck, complete with high-resolution displays and faster processors, offers increased brightness and clarity, faster startup and map rendering, as well as connectivity to tablets and smartphones.
To find out more about the Bell 407, please visit the Bell product page or visit us this week at our booth during HAI Heli-Expo 2023.