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Il Sole 24 Ore – Mecaer Aviation Group: technology and style

Major programmes acquired in the past year

Mecaer Aviation Group (MAG) recently obtained certification for the new VVIP ‘MAGnificent’ interior for the Bell429 helicopter, after completing the styling, design, production and fit-out. The patent-protected style is the work of the company’s in-house team (MAG Design Studio), and it has received important international recognition for its design and production (Red Dot Award 2014).
MAG has over a decade of experience in customising interiors for helicopters used in various sectors (Corporate, Oil and Gas, HEMS and VIP). It designs not just the look, feel and ergonomics of the interior but also provides all the technology that optimises passenger comfort onboard. MAG designs, certifies, builds and installs the whole cabin interior, from the systems (electrical, lighting, cabin control and communication, hydraulics and noise reduction) through to components such as cabinets, seats, galleys, WCs and electrochromic glass.
For many of these technologies, MAG holds proprietary products or patents such as SILENS for noise reduction, or
IFEEL for the management of onboard communications and functionality.
In completing more than a thousand interiors, MAG has used technologically-advanced materials, which are the subject of ongoing research and development with the support of university partners.
Bell Helicopter has included MAGnificent as a VIP line in the Bell sales catalogue. MAG will also be producing the new retractable landing gear for the same model.
This collaboration with Bell extends to other projects such as the Bell 525 helicopter (far larger than the 429), for which MAG will be producing the whole landing system as well as the interior.
MAG has also supplied the landing gear and interior design for Airbus helicopters, in particular the H160.

BELL505 JET RANGER
Flight controls

The ‘Jet Ranger’ is expected to be a hugely popular product. MAG designed and built the entire chain of flight controls, actuators and hydraulic system on this helicopter. The systems, already installed on the prototype, are currently undergoing pre-certification tests at the laboratory in Borgomanero.
The same lab is also testing many advanced electromechanical actuators, which were researched in collaboration with the universities of Turin and Milan, using regional council funds. MAG is the lead contractor on these projects, which have also involved several small and medium enterprises.
The Borgomanero site designs, builds and manufactures flight controls and dampers for Agusta Westland helicopters and the levers for the control system on the Airbus H160, the Korean KHP Surion, and for the Piaggio P180.

H145 Helicopter rescue (HEMS)

MAG not only works with helicopter manufacturers. It also has direct relations with operators such as INAER, part of Avincis (Babcock), the largest helicopter services group in Europe. For INAER, MAG has developed and installed a new HEMS interior KIT. The KIT was supplied for the rescue version of the Airbus Helicopter H145, which recently came into service in Italy and for which MAG was the first company in Europe to have the KIT certified.
The H145 was designed and built at Monteprandone, where full helicopter maintenance is also carried out. Thanks to the 1800m private runway at the site, further development of fixed-wing aircraft will also be possible.

AW139 VIP COMPLETION

The first build and installation on an AW139 VIP was recently completed at the Hagerstown plant in Maryland (USA). MAG Inc. not only produced the interiors and associated systems, but also provided the paintwork for the exterior livery and completed all the pre-flight and delivery operations. The American company also has a branch in Philadelphia, where it installs interiors for Agusta Westland.
Both sites, which are within airport zones, also perform maintenance services for the New Jersey and Maryland State Police, among others.

BUSINESS LINES

According to engineer Brun from Mecaer Aviation Group, “All the technologies in the four business lines (Landing Systems, Actuation and Flight Controls, Cabin Comfort Systems and Aircraft Services) developed over the past 20 years, with R&D investments in excess of €100m, have earned MAG a turnover of €130m with significant diversification of the customer base and geographical area. The 200m mark is expected to be reached by the end of 2019. The same expertise, which is now used more frequently on rotorcraft, will allow the company to grow even further. With significant investments, the aim is to extend our presence in the fixed-wing sector (business jets, trainer aircraft and unmanned craft), which currently accounts for just 15% of our sales. Compared to the helicopter business, this is a much larger market. All our sources agree that the trend is growing. In this sector, Mag Design Studio has already developed style solutions for an Embraer VIP craft, winning an award for a concept developed from an ATR craft.”

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