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AgustaWestland’s New Generation AW189 Helicopter Completes Its Maiden Flight

AgustaWestland, announced that the first prototype of the AW189 twin engine 8­tonne class helicopter successfully completed its maiden flight in late December 2011. The air­ craft was launched at the Paris Air Show earlier this year and this first prototype made its maiden flight ahead of sched­ ule. AgustaWestland aims to achieve civil certification for the AW189 in 2013 and to start deliveries in early 2014. The AW189 was flown by


AgustaWestland Chief Test Pilot Giuseppe Lo Coco at the company’s Cascina Costa plant in Italy. It performed as expected during the flight which included an assessment of the helicopter’s general handling and basic systems. The first prototype will be used for avionic system test­ ing and certification of off­ shore equipment options, while the second prototype, set to fly in 2012, will be dedi­ cated to a load survey pro­ gramme.

Bruno Spagnolini, Chief Executive Officer, AgustaWestland, said “Performing the first flight of


the new AW189 just a few months after its launch high­ lights our strong commitment to providing the market with the most advanced helicopters in the shortest possible timescales. We are delighted with the initial response from the market with a number of leading operators having already committed to buy the AW189 for long range offshore missions.”

He went on to say “We are confident as we progress towards certification and pro­ duction that many more opera­ tors will select the AW189 as their new generation helicop­ ter for Search and Rescue, off­ shore transport and parapublic missions due to its long­range capabilities, attractive operat­ ing costs and modern safety features.”

The all new AW189 was launched this year in response

to the growing market demand for a versatile, afford­ able, multirole helicopter in the 8­tonne class and has rap­ idly found success in the mar­ ket place. A number of sales have already been secured from leading operators serving the offshore oil and gas mar­ kets, including Bristow Helicopters, Bel Air, and Weststar Aviation Services. The AW189 is part of AgustaWestland’s family of new generation helicopters that includes the AW169 and AW139 models. These helicop­ ters all possess the same high performance flight characteris­ tics and safety features and share the same common cock­ pit layout, design philosophy and maintenance concepts. This approach will deliver real cost savings in areas such as training, maintenance and sup­ port for existing operators of the AW139 who add AW169 and/or AW189 helicopters to their fleets.

Set to enter service in early 2014, the twin engine AW189 helicopter is optimised for long range offshore transport and SAR missions. The spacious cabin seats 16 passengers in the standard configuration with the option of a high densi­ ty 18 seat layout or an ultra long range 12 seat configura­ tion. In the SAR role the 11.2 m3 cabin can accommodate a mis­ sion console, stretchers and seating for the crew and sur­ vivors. A single or dual rescue hoist is positioned above the large sliding cabin door on the starboard side and a range of equipment including FLIR, searchlight and radar can be fitted.

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