AgustaWestland has established a final assembly line for the AW169 at its PNE (Northeast Philadelphia PA) facility. The 1st Philadelphia built AW169 was inducted into final assembly in April and will be delivered in early 2015. The new production line will ramp up to produce around 20 aircraft per year by 2017. The company says the addition of the AW169 production line will create and secure jobs in the area. AgustaWestland says that more than 80 AW169s have been ordered for missions that include corporate transport, air ambulance, law enforcement, utility and offshore transport. With 4 prototypes flying, the AW169 is on schedule to achieve civil certification in 2014.
The Clean Sky joint technology initiative is Europe's largest ever aeronautics research program, with a budget of 1600 million euros (50% EU, 50% industry) over 7 years. It is dedicated to the demonstration of new civil aircraft market technologies, aiming at a dramatic reduction of CO2, noise and NOx footprints. TECH800 is one of the 6 engine demonstrators dedicated to propulsion in the Clean Sky program.
Safran has agreed to acquire Rolls-Royce's 50% share in their joint RTM322 helicopter engine program. Upon closing, Safran will give its Turbomeca subsidiary global responsibility for the design, production, product support and services of the engine. The RTM322 is a 2100 to 2600-shp engine equipping the AH64, EH101 and NH90. The company says the transaction will enable Turbomeca to innovate and develop new engines in the 3000-shp-plus helicopter segment—a market segment in which Turbomeca is not currently present. The revenue related to the Rolls-Royce share of the RTM322 amounts to approximately 85 million euros per annum, most of it generated by services.
Enstrom Helicopter Corp has begun expanding its Menominee MI plant with an April groundbreaking ceremony. The construction will double the size of the existing facility, adding over 77,000 sq ft, which will include a new paint booth, gel coat booth and sand blast booth. The plan also calls for expanded manufacturing and flight line areas and a 2nd-floor mezzanine to house the engineering department. Enstrom has hired more than 100 new employees over the past 18 months and plans to continue hiring due to the expansion.
Turbomeca's TECH800 turboshaft demonstrator has made its first rotation in Bordes, France. Developed in cooperation with 34 partners from 10 European countries, the technologies demonstrated in TECH800 will deliver reduced emissions in line with the goals of Europe's Clean Sky program. Key technologies are related to the compressor architecture and performance, the combustion chamber enabling lower emissions, the turbine operating at a very elevated temperature, and a high-efficiency power turbine. The demonstrator offers double digit benefit in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions as well as breakthroughs in noise attenuation, weight and control systems.
REACH has received FAA approval to use GPS approaches and routes to hospitals and landing sites in western Oregon. The air medical provider is the 1st to offer this service along the Oregon coast and Willamette Valley. In 2000, Santa Rosa CA-based REACH became the 1st air ambulance company in the US to receive this type of approval for routes in its northern California response area. The company provides air medical transport services in California, Oregon and Texas using both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. It has performed more than 75,000 missions since its inception in 1987.