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Leonardo Delivers its First AW169 Basic Training Helicopter to the Italian Army

Leonardo recently announced the delivery of the first of two AW169 basic training twin-engine helicopters to the Italian Army during an official ceremony held at the 2nd Rgt. AVES ‘Sirio’ based in Lamezia Terme, in the presence of representatives from the operator and industry. The second aircraft is expected to be handed over in the next few months.

The introduction of the new-generation training helicopter

(designated UH-169B) allows the Italian Army to prepare its crews for the future operational transition to its all-new advanced multi-role light utility helicopter (LUH) program developed on the AW169 dual-use baseline and aimed at a longer-term fleet modernization and rationalization plan. The two AW169 trainers, which will enable the Italian Army to familiarize with the platform’s basic characteristics during the development of the new LUH, are being supplied with a comprehensive “turnkey” logistical support and a pilot/maintenance technician training package.

Reduction in Helicopter

Operations Leads to Reduction in Accidents

The first six months of 2020 have been challenging for the helicopter community and for the entire aviation industry, but one positive from the circumstances has been a decrease in accidents.

From January through June 2020, the U.S. helicopter industry experienced 42 total accidents including nine fatal accidents. For the same period in 2019, there were 69 total accidents and 15 of them were accidents involving fatalities.

According to the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team (, some of this

28 July/Aug 2020

The LUH program is aimed at progressively replacing aging models including the A109, AB206, AB205, AB212 and AB412 to meet the evolving operational requirements, and benefits from a more efficient supply chain based on a ‘one single platform’ approach. The introduction of the AW169 LUH, specifically developed for the Italian Army leveraging on the AW169M military helicopter baseline, also provides the advantage of unique logistical, operational, and technical certification and training commonalities and synergies across the growing AW169 fleets of government operators in Italy. This strengthens the possibility to perform effective and safe joint operations with other users of this modern type, and represents a quantum leap in homeland security, emergency response capability and overall through- life-cycle cost/effectiveness for decades to come. The overall AW169 LUH program is based on an advanced multi-role configuration provided with dedicated flight/mission equipment including, among others, skids landing gear and an advanced C4 command, control, and communication system to grant full interoperability with the other assets in the NATO environment.

Gian Piero Cutillo, managing director, Leonardo Helicopters, said, “It gives us great pleasure to celebrate with the Italian Army the delivery of its first AW169 in basic training configuration as an essential enabler ahead of the implementation of the new, broader LUH program. The LUH will definitely represent the start of a new era in terms of capabilities, technical support, mission flexibility and interoperability in the lightweight segment. The new program takes advantage of many decades of a successful partnership and continued exchange of information intended to fully understand the changing operational needs and how to address them through the possibilities offered by new technologies. We’re committed to supporting the Italian Army to maximize the benefits of these new helicopters.”

decrease stems from a decrease in flights during the COVID-19 outbreak. It is estimated that total flights were down 10-30 percent during any given period this spring. The fatal accident rate per 100,000 flight hours was 0.63 for January-June 2020. For full year 2019, the rate was 0.80, according to preliminary data.

This year, the USHST also welcomed new safety experts to serve on its expanded steering committee:

• Mike Newell, director of aviation safety at Airbus Helicopters, replaces Emanuele “Manny” Figlia, who recently retired from Airbus.

• Chris Hill, director of safety for the Helicopter Association International, joined the steering committee.

• Scott Tyrrell, FAA rotorcraft safety & accident investigator, also joined the committee.

Here is the entire USHST Steering Committee:

Nick Mayhew – L3Harris (co-chair), Wayne Fry – FAA (co-chair), Dawn Groh – ERAU, Mike Newell – Airbus, Lauren Haertlein – GAMA, Tony Randall – Bell, Chris Hill – HAI, Tim Tucker – Robinson, Christopher Lowenstein – Sikorsky, Scott Tyrrell - FAA, Raj Helwig – Air Methods (Emeritus)

Each year, the U.S. helicopter industry safely flies more than 3.2 million flight hours. Working together, we can build on that safe record and eliminate the small number of accidents that do occur.

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