Fittipaldi Aircraft has signed a dealership agreement for 10 AgustaWestland helicopters—9 Grand light twins and 1 AW139 medium twin—for VIP transport applications. Deliveries are planned to take place in 2011 and 2012. Under the deal, Fittipaldi Aircraft will act as a non-exclusive dealer to the US VIP helicopter market, working in coordination with Agusta­Westland PNE (Northeast Philadelphia PA) and its sales force. Fittipaldi Aircraft is a joint venture between racing driver Emerson Fittipaldi and State Capital, a “boutique” investment banking group.

Catalyst Aviation has taken delivery of the first of 5 planned Heli-Lynx 355FX2Rs. The custom VIP-configured helicopter—delivered with zero-time Rolls-Royce C20R engines—is the first Eurocopter AS355 to feature a glass cockpit with dual 8-inch integrated cockpit display systems from Sagem. Vector Aerospace of Richmond BC, Canada collaborated with Heli-Lynx on the STC for the cockpit, which is approved for use in the US. Catalyst, which acquired the 355FX2R for a private company in the Philadelphia PA area, will operate and manage the aircraft. It chose the 355FX2R for the launch of its new Part 135 operating division.

Bell has selected its first customer service facility (CSF) in Russia—Kazan Aviation Enterprise—which offers field maintenance on the Bell 407. The Bell CSF network consists of some 130 service facilities in 33 countries. Each CSF has Bell-trained staff and a broad inventory of spare parts. Kazan was established in 1994. It holds Russian CAA certification for field maintenance on Bell 407s and other rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. In addition to completing Bell Helicopter’s courses in field maintenance, component repair and overhaul, and electrical maintenance, Kazan staff have undergone turbine repair courses with Rolls-Royce.

Cobham’s synthetic vision (SV) glass cockpit has been FAA approved for single-pilot IFR operation of the Bell 412. The agency has granted an STC to Arrow Aviation, marking the world’s first IFR ap­proval for SVS in a helicopter. First customer to have Cobham’s EFIS installed on a 412 is the search-and-rescue (SAR) unit of North Slope Borough AK, which carries out medevac and emergency missions in the harsh environment of Alaska’s North Slope. The unit’s 412 uses 3D graphic SVS technology to translate terrain ahead of and around the helicopter into a real-time visual picture regardless of darkness or weather conditions. This reduces pilot workload and permits safer execution of missions.

Eurocopter has announced a deal with Daher to develop and produce a new generation of airframes for a range of light helicopters. The partners are seeking “the best compromise” between weight and performance. Pro­duction is planned to begin in early 2012 at the Daher-Socata plant in Tarbes, France.

Sikorsky Aerospace Services, the aftermarket business of Sikorsky Aircraft, has dedicated its Composite Technology Inc (CTI) unit’s new purpose-built helicopter blade repair and overhaul center at DFW. The 152,000 sq ft building is nearly 3 times the size of CTI’s former fac­ility. Expanded capabilities include a 6000-shp dynamic test stand and 2 downdraft paint booths. Em­ploy­ment at CTI has more than doubled in the past year to 135 technicians and support staff.