An air-medical AB139 that will be used by Italian operator Airgreen during next year’s Winter Olympic Games in Turin is on display here in Paris on the ramp beside the Bell/Agusta Aerospace chalet (A382). The twin-turbine helicopter’s unobstructed, 282-cu.-ft. cabin with a flat floor and 4-foot 8-inch height provides good flexibility for emergency medical service configurations with as many as six litters, if access to the baggage compartment through the cabin is used.
Bell/Agusta reports a confirmed backlog of 120 AB139s and expects to deliver 20 aircraft this year. It plans to increase its delivery rate to 50 aircraft per year after 2006.
Also here in Paris, the company announced that CHC Helicopter Corp., the world’s largest provider of helicopter services to the oil and gas industries, will take delivery of its first two AB139s before the end of the year and use the aircraft to support a North Sea Total/Wintershall contract from Den Helder, Holland.
The AB139 received its Italian certification at the Paris Air Show in 2003, European Aviation Safety Agency certification in 2004 and U.S. Federal Aviation Administration certification on December 20, 2004.