Bell has far more at financial stake than AgustaWestland (see “BA609: Two Different Tones,” page 14). [Bell CEO John] Garrison’s focus is a “Bell turnaround.” The BA609’s niche market is of little importance compared with V-22 production and the Bell-Boeing relationship. Plus, BA609 FAA/EASA certification consumes resources and introduces greater risk than return.
Verge of Exit
[AgustaWestland CEO Guiseppe] Orsi holds the biggest part of the investment, hence his willingness. Bell is on the verge of exiting the project.
The BA609 has a too small a market niche for its cost (acquisition and operation). A civil version of the V-22 would have been a much better thought to fill the gap of short commuting between cities without airport in the vicinity. The best example is Monaco, where a V-22 could do Paris and other European capitals direct. Many other European cities are in the same situation having no airport or space to set up one. A V-22 can land on a heliport!
Unfortunately, I do not see the BA609 operating except as an “air toy” type Lamborghini. I feel sad because it is a good concept otherwise.
I flew the Kaman UH2C Seasprite for the Navy in the late 1960s and early 70s. I met Charlie Kaman once on the USS Bohomme Richard. We were just kids and were flying them off the coast of Vietnam. I loved the H2 and thought he was an interesting man, knowing even then of his history and the innovative flight control system he had devised. They were very stable and the H2 was an excellent instrument helicopter.
RW's Question of the Month:
How should the international community handle supplying helicopters to areas stricken by natural disasters?
I’ll always remember Charlie from the commissioning of HSL-36, where I was the first nugget pilot. Just the other day, I told some young helicopter aviators (unmanned) about flying a helo that had flaps, allowing us to fly without hydraulics, saving many in Vietnam when rescuers were shot up. That was just one of his excellent legacies. Godspeed, Charlie!
We asked readers on Facebook [www.facebook.com/pages/Rotor-Wing/108354174813] for feedback regarding content selection in the magazine and online. Here’s a few responses. What other topics and market segments should we cover more? Send an e-mail with your ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What would you like to see in the magazine?
Stories on issues related to the preparation of main rotor blades.
A series on police pilots and training. Then a series on police pilots and active duty.
How about track and balance 101 for pilots? Stop hassling the mechanics when you “see” a track split, but the helicopter is smooth! Or how about a review of all the helicopter museums around?
How about the general difficulties for companies providing helicopter pilot training? Financing, job placement, bridging the gap between certification and commercial employment, real data for future employment outlook, etc. We need to encourage quality pilot training, not just hire people who happen to know someone in the industry.
What about a series regarding maintenance on a chosen few types. I’m thinking along the lines of the Robinson R44, TwinSquirrel, Bell Huey, Sikorsky S-61, to the Jolly Green Giant. It could explore different flight hour overhauls, main overhauls and such, e.g., what major parts/components are replaced and this could prove to be quite interesting, especially for the ‘average’ (“constant”) reader.
How about doing a forecast on the Indian helicopter industry, especially covering the market’s future need of both single and twin engine machines to include integrating the offshore requirement?
Do you have comments on the rotorcraft industry or recent articles and viewpoints we’ve published? Send them to:â€ˆEditor, Rotor &â€ˆWing, 4 Choke Cherry Road, Second Floor, Rockville, MD 20850, fax us at 301-354-1809 or email us at email@example.com. Please include a city and state or province with your name and ratings. We reserve the right to edit all submitted material.