NBAA Convention News

AgustaWestland adds bizjet flair to ‘ultra-luxury’ version of AW101 helo

 - September 30, 2008, 7:55 AM

AgustaWestland (Booth No. 5408) is exhibiting an AW101 cabin mockup in an “ultra-luxury” version that the European company says is entirely befitting of the heaviest civil helicopter available in the Western world.

The AW101’s cabin is six feet high and 8.2 feet wide, with a constant cross section.
One possible VVIP layout is the “business executive” version, featuring as many as 20 seats, a bathroom and a fully equipped galley. Another layout being offered (shown here) features 10 large executive seats, a more spacious bathroom and a flight attendant station.

AgustaWestland says all of the equipment business jet passengers have come to expect is available in the executive version of the AW101, including advanced environmental controls, mood lighting, in-flight entertainment systems, interphone system and secure satellite communications. Moreover, the AW101 has an active vibration reduction system that provides a more comfortable ride.

Recent improvements include an increased mtow, to 34,400 pounds, partly thanks to aerodynamically enhanced main rotor blades. In addition, the General Electric CT7-8E turboshaft engine–the AW101 has three of them–are now more powerful. The top-of-the-range AgustaWestland can cruise at 150 knots. Maximum range is close to 700 nm.

Meanwhile, the Anglo-Italian firm also said it is developing a heavier variant of the AW139 medium-twin. The upgraded version, with an 880-pound greater maximum gross weight of 15,000 pounds, is still on the drawing board, but won’t take long to bring into production. The weight increase will yield a boost in range thanks to the ability to carry extra fuel. With 12 passengers and 30-minute fuel reserves, the AW139 will be able to fly some 300 nm, about double the range of the current helicopter.

The increased weight will be offered as an option on new AW139s and for retrofit on existing helicopters. According to the manufacturer, the change will not impact component TBO. Work is being undertaken to “minimize the impact on maintenance procedures and operating costs,” the company said. Performance, including Category A/Class 1 for takeoff, is promised to be retained. EASA certification for the weight increase is planned for late this year, with FAA certification to follow shortly after.

Another development in the offing is the XX9, a 9,000-pound-class light-twin that
AgustaWestland is developing for the commercial, government and military markets. It will fill a gap between the 7,000-pound Grand and the AW139. As for competition, it will be heavier than the Eurocopter EC 145 and Bell 407 but lighter than the Eurocopter Dauphin and the Bell 412EP.