OWEGO, N.Y. A test model of the next-generation presidential helicopter has made its first landing at the White House.
The major milestone in the development of the new Marine One aircraft happened without fanfare on January 13th. Robert Kimble -- deputy program manager for the U-S Navy -- today said the White House tests were conducted to help understand the "effects of a new helicopter going on the South Lawn."
Kimble told Binghamton radio station W-N-B-F the test vehicle was used to make calibrations to compare the operation of the upgraded helicopter to the model now being used to transport the president.
The test model has been flown to Lockheed Martin's Owego plant in recent months for antenna testing and other systems integration evaluations. Lockheed was awarded the one-point-seven (b) billion dollar Marine One contract two years ago this weekend.
Kimble says the goal remains to have the first new presidential helicopter delivered to the White House by October 2009.
(Bob Joseph, WNBF, Binghamton)
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