AgustaWestland has delivered 2 AW139s to Sky Shuttle Helicopters of China. This event also marked the delivery of the 200th AW139. Delivery took place at AgustaWestland's Vergiate, Italy facility. The helicopters will be used for flights between Hong Kong, Macau and Shenzhen, China. These are the first 2 of a 6-aircraft order placed by Sky Shuttle Helicopters in Jun 2007.
American Eurocopter delivered an EC145 to the Texas Dept of Public Safety (DPS) on Dec 5, 2008. It is the first delivery from a 10-aircraft order Texas DPS placed at Heli-Expo 2008 for 9 AS350 AStars and a single EC145. Texas DPS already operates 13 AS350s, the first of which entered service in 1984. American Eurocopter Pres & CEO Marc Paganini handed the helicopter's keys to Texas DPS Dir Col Stan Clark at the delivery ceremony. The EC145 will expand the support of the Texas DPS's aerial unit. The aircraft is expected to perform a variety of missions including law enforcement, search and rescue, fire suppression, public safety and tactical ops support.
AgustaWestland delivered the first production VH71 Presidential helicopter to NHK (Patuxent River NAS, Patuxent River MD). The aircraft, dubbed Pilot-Production 1 (PP1), will undergo ground vibration testing before being delivered to Lockheed Martin's Owego NY completions facility. While at Owego, PP1 will be equipped with communications and safety equipment for the President's use. A further 4 pilot-production aircraft will follow, and will form the first tranche of Marine One replacement helicopters. "These pilot production aircraft will be delivered to HMX1 after completion of a comprehensive test program for operational use as Marine One helicopters," according to Lockheed Martin VH71 VP & General Mgr Jeff Bantler.
Miami-Dade Police Dept (MDPD) Aviation Unit has taken delivery of a new Eurocopter AS350B3 AStars. This is the first of 4 ordered and will join a fleet of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft in the Special Patrol Bureau's Aviation Unit. MDPD will receive the remaining 3 helicopters at a rate of 1 per year. MDPD Aviation Unit's mission has advanced from an air patrol focus to include support of homeland security initiatives, including port security and coverage for key county infrastructures.
Sikorsky recently delivered 2 S76C++s to China Southern Airlines' Zhuhai Helicopter branch. They will support offshore oil projects in the South China Sea and Bohai Bay. This delivery comes as the helicopter company has been working to expand its business in China. Recently it signed an order with China's Ministry of Transport Rescue and Salvage Bureau for 4 S76C++s to be used in search-and-rescue operations.
Eurocopter is developing IFR routes for air ambulance services for the French public health system. The manufacturer is working with the civil aviation authority and the French association of helicopter emergency medical services. The IFR flights must be conducted entirely under GPS guidance from takeoff to final approach, following a predetermined route the whole way through. If these trials are successful, the French IFR air ambulance routes will be a first for Europe. Air ambulance flights are currently restricted to daytime VFR ops. As part of the reorganization of the French public health system, creation of specialist medical centers will require more air ambulance flights.
AgustaWestland has signed a contract with the Bulgarian Police for an AW109 Power. The aircraft will be delivered in 2010 and will be used for law enforcement and border patrol missions.