More Executive AW139s

 - March 5, 2011, 3:16 AM

The AgustaWestland AW139 medium twin helicopter is increasingly being tapped for executive and VVIP missions, according to the Mecaer Aviation Group (MAG), a provider of these interior completions.

Costs for interior completions vary depending on the materials selected and the amount of engineering and certification required, but the average cost ranges from $400,000 to $500,000 for an executive completion and $1 million to $1.3 million for a VVIP finish. Completions take from eight to 20 weeks on average. MAG has completed more than 50 AW139 interiors to date. "Each completion is different and its cost is tightly connected with the selected layout, options, specific needs, quality of material, level of finishing required by the customer,or any other special request that requires additional certification work," said MAG marketing director Niccolo Devoto. MAG offers executive and VIP customers up to 10 different standard interior layouts for the AW139 cabin, accommodating five to 10 passengers, as well as quick-change options that can add or subtract seats of various widths given varying loads. MAG says the most requested configuration is eight seats: two VVIP forward-facing chairs and six corporate-class seats, four forward-facing and two aft-facing. 

Customers have a wide range of available cabinetry. "We try to accommodate as much as possible the customer's request, provided it is compatible with certification requirements," said Devoto. The oval credenza option features a pop-up, swiveling flat-screen monitor. MAG uses LED lighting with dimmable controls. 

MAG also has developed a new IFE and cabin management system, the In-Flight Entertainment Enhanced Lounge (I-FEEL). Running on a Windows PC platform, I-FEEL can control audio, video, communications, passenger settings and cabin function. The system features a hard drive for audio and video storage and moving maps. Passenger touchscreens can be loaded with customizable icons. The system is integrated with GSM, satcom and pilot call telephones and is linked to the environmental control system as well as controls for cabin lighting, speakers, cockpit partition window and cabin window shades. The system can also be used for multi-mission integration with law enforcement, surveillance, and search and rescue packages that include integrated avionics, forward looking infrared, video cameras, search radar and datalink systems.

Cabin noise can be minimized with another MAG-developed system. The Silens system minimizes cabin noise and vibration levels with a self-supporting separation barrier between the passenger cabin and the fuselage. During flight tests at 140 knots, the system reduced cabin noise from 76 to 71 dB SIL4 and it allows normal conversations without use of headsets. The system uses a high-stiffness, low-weight composite shell  mounted to the structure with vibration and noise insulators. The shell features several different computer-designed and -tested soundproofing materials that use special geometry and installation techniques. Director of completions Davide Marucco said Silens can be retrofitted to all AW139s, either with hinged or sliding passenger doors, and it can easily be removed for maintenance access and does not increase aircraft weight.

MAG does completions at its Vergiate, Italy, plant and a 13,000-sq-ft facility in Philadelphia next to AW's assembly plant. The company manufactures its own composite interior shells, liners, cabinets, seats, stretchers, structural assemblies such as doors and landing gear skids and windshields and windows.