AgustaWestland Promotes AW139 Family Concept
AgustaWestland hopes that the sales success of its AW139 helicopter bodes well for the two new models destined to join its product family. With both the AW169 and AW189 due to make maiden flights in mid-2012, the company has come to Dubai confident that it can further build its worldwide order book. To date, 580 AW139 sales have been achieved, with 450 units having been delivered.
The European manufacturer estimates an overall market for the AW139 category of helicopter at 900 aircraft over the next 20 years, while it believes 900 to 1,000 units of the AW169 will be sold. It believes the overall potential market for the AW189 is around 600 aircraft in the same period.
Much of the hope for future success is being pinned on a new family concept based on commonality between models. Many features are common to all three models: main- and tail-rotor clearance; increasing safety, especially when operating in secluded areas with people around the helicopter; and the need to clear obstacles on the ground. A high power-to-weight ratio was also considered from the beginning to allow Cat A operations at maximum takeoff weight in the widest possible operating envelope.
Looking at the passenger and range capacities, it is possible to see how the three helicopters are aligned: the AW169 is able to transport eight passengers more than 150 nm; the AW139 can take 12 passengers out to distances greater than 250 nm; and the AW189 is able to carry16 passengers more than 300 nm. Trading passengers for fuel, the AW189 can carry 12 people 400 nm.
The reduced D value (the aircraft’s largest dimension with rotors turning) despite the considerable volumes and load capacity is also a plus when operating from confined areas as well as from helipads and oil drilling helidecks, where the smaller the D value, the higher the safety. The D-value was considered a priority design parameter from the outset, with an increase of less than one meter when passing from the 6.5-metric-ton AW139 to the 8-metric-ton AW189.
The cabin design also followed the same philosophy based on a flat ceiling and floor. The cabin volume runs from 222 cu ft in the AW139 through 282 cu ft in the A169 right up to 395 cu ft for the largest AW189 model. Cabin height in the AW139 is 4 feet 4 inches, while for the other two family members it is 4 feet 8 inches.
The flat floor allows easy loading of mission modules that have been developed to fit all three models. The conventionally shaped cabins allow the AW139 and AW189, in particular, to accommodate numerous seating configurations. Passenger seat structure remains identical in the types while padding can change according to the available space. For oil and gas operations, all layouts have seats aligned and rows aligned with emergency exits. Large doors–five feet, two inches wide in the AW169 and five feet six inches wide in the AW139 and 189–provide easy accessibility.
A further important commonality is found in the cockpit; the two latest products from AgustaWestland are based on the AW139 and will feature the same eight- by 10-inch multifunctional displays found in that model. This should make training easier, as each model offers the same touch and feel, as well as procedural approach, thus enhancing safety and reducing training time. Similar commonality also applies to maintenance, with the overall result being a reduction in operating costs.