AgustaWestland has had a busy several days here at Heli-Expo. The airframer announced several orders, including one to Omni Helicopters International Group for nine helicopters (four AW139 intermediate twins and five AW189 medium twins in offshore configuration), deliveries of which will begin in late 2015 and late 2016, respectively. The order marks the conclusion of an earlier agreement for a total of 13 AW139s, and the arrival of the AW189s will mark the type’s Brazil debut, where Omni will use it to support the oil and gas industry.
Lease Corporation International (LCI) has signed a further multi-year contract for seven AW139s and one AW189 to be delivered starting this year and ending in 2017. The agreement includes options on seven AW139s and three AW189s. LCI will provide the rotorcraft to its customers for use in offshore transport, search and rescue and aero-medical transport.
UK-based dealer Sloane Helicopters ordered a pair of VVIP and passenger-transport configured GrandNew light twins, to be delivered next year. The company has sold more than 60 copies of the AW109 family in roles ranging from corporate transport to law enforcement.
The manufacturer also received a pair of single-ship orders for the AW139 from Japan’s Yamagata and Tottori Prefecture Firefighting and Disaster Prevention Agencies and said it will lease a pair of the intermediate twins to Atlas Air Taxi. They will be delivered next month in Brazil and join the fleet of approximately AW139s already in service there in the oil and gas transport fleet.
AgustaWestland also delivered the first of six previously ordered EMS-configured AW119Kxs to Minneapolis-based Life Link III.
Training and After-sales Support
Middle Eastern operator Gulf Helicopters has ordered an EASA level-C full-flight simulator for the AW189 in support of the Qatar-based company’s recent purchase of 15 of the midsize twins. Rotorsim, a joint venture between the OEM and Canadian training provider CAE, announced it will purchase the world’s first full-flight simulator for the AW169. It will deploy that simulator at its training academy in Sesto Calende, Italy, and an additional AW189 level-D full-flight simulator for its Aberdeen, Scotland facility. Both simulators will be delivered next year.
Here at the show, AgustaWestland announced it has received certification for its new obstacle proximity LiDAR system (OPLS) that is making its Heli-Expo debut this year. Intended for use in SAR and EMS missions on the AW139, the system will assist crews during hover, by helping them avoid main and tail rotor strikes in confined spaces. It uses three main rotor-head mounted-laser imaging detection and ranging sensors to provide a 360-degree top view of the helicopter and any obstacles.
Lastly, the Italian manufacturer launched its new “Leonardo” customer portal featuring a newly designed account home page that allows customers to create online profiles of all users from the same company, to access documents and manuals, to generate service requests and to monitor progress of warranty claims, among other features. “We will continue to further enhance the portal and we are already working on a number of additional functionalities that will be introduced in 2014, with specific focus on e-commerce solutions for online ordering of spare parts and training services,” said John Ponsonby, the manufacturer’s senior vice president for customer training and support.