AgustaWestland (Booth No. 7020) has received FAA and EASA certification for the full ice-protection system (FIPS) on its AW139 medium twin helicopter. With the FIPS option, the aircraft can fly into known icing. Approval from Transport Canada is expected soon and the manufacturer plans to deliver 12 FIPS-equipped AW139s this year.
The development and certification process started in 2004 and involved three series of trials in North America. The trials included an AW139 equipped with FIPS flying behind a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook that carried a water-spraying rail. Tests were also carried out with artificial ice shapes. According to the Anglo-Italian firm, the AW139 has demonstrated “ample margins in a wide range of demanding icing conditions.”
The ice-protection system includes ice detectors, automatic activation system with manual back-up and electric power generators. Grids protect the engine intakes, while the windshield and rotor blades (both main and tail) have heated mats. The AW139 fitted with the FIPS retains the performance and procedures for Category A takeoff and generates no restrictions during IFR operations, the company claims.
Certification was received on time, according to a schedule released in 2008.
Separately, AgustaWestland announced that Skygroup’s Sky Maintenance Services in Le Castellet Airport in southern France has been appointed an authorized service center for the A109 series. The AW109 Power, Grand and GrandNew light twin models will benefit from a new hangar there. SMS also has bases at the heliport in Monaco and at Archamps close to Geneva.
AgustaWestland has sold some 20 light twins in France. There are about 70 service centers in the company’s network worldwide.