Helitech 2013: AgustaWestland Twins Zero In on Certification

 - November 2, 2013, 12:25 AM
AgustaWestland plans to hand over its first AW189 by year-end. The medium twin is expected to draw customers from the growing oil-and-gas segment.

AgustaWestland expects its AW189 and AW169 medium twins to achieve certification by the end of next year.

Four AW189 prototypes and two pre-production aircraft have logged a combined 1,900 flight hours. Certification of the 16- to 18-passenger helicopter, once hoped for this summer, is now close, according to a company spokesman. The first delivery, to offshore operator Bristow, will take place by year-end, he told AIN. As a result, the AW189 may well enter service before the Eurocopter EC175, which was launched first. The two aircraft compete in the weight category situated just below the heavier, well established Sikorsky S-92 and Eurocopter Super Pumas. So far, AgustaWestland has orders for 80 AW189s, while Eurocopter reports orders for 48 EC175s.

The first AW189 flight training device has just qualified as a level-2 FTD. It is available at the Rotorsim training facility–an AgustaWestland joint venture with CAE–in Sesto Calende, near Milan.

Four AW169 prototypes have logged 400 flight-test hours. AgustaWestland claims to have received orders for more than 100 copies of the eight- to ten-seat, 10,000-pound-mtow helicopter, which is one of the first rotorcraft to feature touchscreens in the cockpit. It will compete with Eurocopter’s AS365/EC155 Dauphin series and Sikorsky’s S-76D.

Meanwhile, the Italian OEM exhibited the 600th AW139 at Helitech, decked out in an original livery by a South African artist. AgustaWestland’s order backlog covers 140 examples of the 12- to 15-seat helicopter.