Boeing Vertol began flight testing early October 1984 an Agusta A 109 (I-AGUU) in the role of an ARTI test vehicle, in its participation in the US Army’s Advanced Rotorcraft Technology Integration programme. The purpose of ARTI is to establish a one-man integrated/automated cockpit arrangement for the LHX light helicopter programme, and to this end the A 109 has been modified to have a test pilot seated in a new cockpit in the centre of the cabin, behind the safety pilot who occupies the conventional right-hand seat in the nose. Sikorsky is similarly fitting a conceptual LHX cockpit in the nose of a modified S-76, which will fly in May, while Bell and Hughes Helicopters also have ARTI work going on with the help of their respective types of helicopter.
Robinson Helicopter Co has announced the availability of auxiliary fuel tanks for the R22 Alpha helicopter, providing up to 65 per cent more range and endurance. Two extra tanks are faired into the engine cowling and provide an extra 10-5 US gal (47,8 1) of capacity to make a total of 29-7 US gal (112 l). Max range is now 368 mis (592 km) and Robinson claims there is no drag penalty from the tank installation, which weighs 5-6 lb (2,5 kg).
Lake Aircraft of Laconia, NH and Kissimmee, Florida, has begun flight tests of its Seawolf military version of the Renegade light amphibian. The prototype has the same 250 hp Avco Lycoming IO-54-C4B5 piston engine as the Renegade, but a turboprop version of the Sea wolf is reported to be understudy. Features of the military version are two external wing mounts for rescue cannisters, 31-US gal (117-l) fuel tanks or various defensive weapons. Several radar systems are available for the Seawolf, and can be interfaced with area navigation units such as VLF, Omega and Loran. A large utility door is standard and the Seawolf has a range of 1,000 naut mis (1,850 km) on standard fuel and 1,500 naut mis (2 780 km) with the external tanks, endurance being 8 hrs and 12 hrs respectively.
Orion Airways became the first non-US airline to take delivery of a Boeing 737-300 when it received the first of four on order on 1 February 1985. The East Midlands-based tour operator is promoting the new aircraft as the Boeing 737SQ (for Super Quiet).
The three photographs were supplied by Mr D Foust. They depict the Lockheed TR-1A serial 80-1074, and were taken at Beale AFB in October 1984. The flat panels on the nose fairing and the wing pods suggest installation of one of the new side-looking radars.