In a ceremony held yesterday afternoon, AgustaWestland delivered a new AW139 equipped with a Honeywell Primus Epic avionics suite to Honeywell aviation services chief pilot Ed Newton, Jr. Honeywell will base the new helicopter at its flight department headquarters at Morristown Airport in New Jersey and will use it to fly customers and employees and to demonstrate the company’s products, according to Newton.
The AW139 replaces a 1997 Sikorsky S-76B; Honeywell has been flying S-76s since 1980. Newton, a helicopter pilot since 1969, has already flown the new AW139 and said, “I love it. It’s the best helicopter I’ve ever flown.”
In addition to the four-display Epic system, the Honeywell AW139 also features a fifth Sagem ICDS-10 MFD and Aerospace Concept International’s Cocoon noise-reduction wall panel system. The Cocoon system cushions interior furnishings with special vibration isolation mounts.
Aerospace Concepts completed the Honeywell AW139 with a five-seat passenger interior; Honeywell touch-screen camera and interior amenity controls; exterior lightings including a rotor upwash light and LED flashing beacon; and Max-Viz infrared camera plus two fixed cameras and a dome-mounted pan-tilt-zoom camera.
AgustaWestland also announced at the same time that Spain’s Grupo Inaer signed a commitment to purchase 18 helicopters this year. The commitment includes six AS119 Ke singles, two AW109 Powers and seven Grand light twins and three AW139s. Delivery is scheduled for 2010, and most of the helicopters will be flown in EMS and firefighting service in Spain, Portugal, Italy and France.
The OEM then revealed that Finland’s Copterline took delivery of the first of two AW139s it has ordered. Copterline will use the AW139 for scheduled flights between Helsinki, Finland, and Tallinn, Estonia.
During the 2009/2010 winter season, AgustaWestland is planning to obtain dual FAA/EASA flight-into-icing certification for the AW139. The full ice-protection system will include ice detectors, protection for air-data sensors and engine intakes, windshield heating and tail and main rotor blade electrically heated mats. So far, AgustaWestland has flown the AW139 in natural icing conditions and with artificial ice shapes.