AgustaWestland lands orders for GrandNew

 - May 3, 2010, 12:15 PM

Intermountain Healthcare (IHC) has ordered three of AgustaWestland’s GrandNew light twin helicopters and holds options for two more. The U.S. operator will deploy the new aircraft with its Intermountain Life Flight division to be used for medical evacuation missions in Utah and Nevada.

Each of IHC’s GrandNews will be equipped with one or two stretchers, a hoist, wire-strike protection, snow skis and night-vision-goggle compatibility. According to the Italian manufacturer, the EMS interior will turn the aircraft into “an airborne intensive care unit.” The helicopters will be completed and delivered at AgustaWestland’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania factory.

The GrandNew was unveiled in February at the Heli-Expo 2010 show in Houston. AgustaWestland (Booth No. 7020) says that since then it has received more than 50 orders for the model.

The GrandNew will be the first type-certified light twin (under CS/ JAR/FAR 27 rules) to enter service with a synthetic-vision system. Its cockpit features Chelton’s FlightLogic synthetic-vision electronic flight information system.

Deliveries to operators will start this summer, with Portugal’s Vinair being the first European customer. The company plans to deliver a dozen aircraft worldwide by the end of this year. In addition, Swiss rescue organization Rega already has begun operating the Da Vinci light twin, which is a customized variant of the GrandNew.

In fact, the Da Vinci model was unveiled even before the standard GrandNew. Rega is scheduled to have a total of 11 Da Vinci helicopters in service by the end of this year.

The GrandNew features a cockpit for single- or dual-pilot IFR operations, with helicopter terrain awareness and warning (HTAWS) and highway in the sky (HITS) systems, in addition to synthetic vision and a flight management system. It is fitted with a four-axis dual duplex digital autopilot coupled with a flight director and a new radio management system. The latter enables the centralized management of the communication and navigation systems of the helicopter.

The integrated display system provides aircraft/engine data monitoring, crew alert and maintenance data pages. The bottom line is reduced crew workload, according to AgustaWestland.

The GrandNew already meets the latest NTSB/FAA recommendations for EMS operations of the U.S. NTSB and FAA. It is certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency and the FAA approval is due to follow soon.