AgustaWestland is pleased to announce that a Grand light, twin turbin engine helicopter successfully accomplished the fastest transcontinental helicopter flight ever in the United States. The international speed record from New York to Los Angeles was broken by pilot Scott Kasporwicz in his executive configured Grand along with co-pilot Steve Sheik at 07:21:30 pm EST on Saturday, February 16, 2008. Kasprowicz’s helicopter, dubbed the NIUS achieved the record breaking flight in just 15 hours, 09 minutes and 10 seconds resorting to only six fuel stops and covering 2,139.8 nautical miles. Departing Sheltair Aviation at New York’s LaGuardia airport at 4:12:20 am, the helicopter arrived at Landmark Aviation at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at 07:21:10 pm EST. The record is validated, recorded and maintained by the National Aeronautics Association or NAA (www.naa.aero).
Lou Bartolotta, AgustaWestland’s Executive Vice President of Commercial Sales for the Americas welcomed this attainment saying. “We congratulate Scott Kasprowicz on his outstanding achievement in breaking the transcontinental speed record. This record reflects the full extent and performance of the Grand and the capability, reliability, and exceptional quality of AgustaWestland’s products.”
The Grand offers impressive operational availability and serviceability and carried out Kasprowicz’s mission flying at the fastest cruise speed with extremely reduced fuel consumption. Its superior features in terms of performance, flexibility and cost effectiveness enabled the crew to maximize the time necessary to make the record setting flight demonstrating dramatic operational efficiency in the air as well as on the ground. The helicopter proved able to deliver even facing rapidly changing weather conditions and challenging environmental scenarios with its powerful and reliable Pratt & Whitney PW207 turbine engines.
The Grand is a new top-of-the-range 8-place light twin helicopter developed to meet a wide range of market requirements and provides levels of cabin space and payload that until now could only be met by larger, more expensive helicopters. This new intermediate size helicopter with light twin economics has proven to be a major success in its class. Its distinctive characteristics and a wide range of interiors and avionics solutions make it a suitable platform for a multitude of roles including corporate/VIP transport, emergency medical service and offshore transport. Orders for over 190 helicopters have been placed by more than 100 customers in almost 30 countries worldwide.
Kasprowicz, who took delivery of the first Grand to have entered the service in the United States in Italy in 2007, plans to perform additional world record missions. These include an attempt to break the world record speed by a less than 17-day around-the-world helicopter flight dubbed ‘The Grand Adventure’ by the pilot. An official announcement will be made on Monday, February 25, at Heli-Expo 2008 in Houston, where Kasprowicz will be formally recognized by AgustaWestland.
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