AgustaWestland Expands AW139 Capabilities

 - March 6, 2011, 3:10 AM

AgustaWestland has announced a further expansion of its AW139 medium twin helicopter’s capabilities through the addition of two new certifications.

The Finmeccanica company (Booth No. 381) recently won certification for offshore takeoff and landing procedures for operations according to Performance Class 1 (PC1) and PC2e (enhanced) requirements as defined by the stringent JAR OPS 3 rules. This permits takeoffs and landings from helidecks with a minimum diameter of 15 meters (less than the overall length of the helicopter) and also certified at maximum gross weights of more than 14,080 pounds.

In addition, the AW139 was recently certified to operate in sea state six conditions, providing the helicopter with unique capabilities in its class, thanks to a special emergency flotation system.

Since entry into service in 2003, the AW139’s capabilities have grown steadily, the result of “a range of specific and tailored equipment,” according to AgustaWestland. A max gross weight increase to 14,960 pounds is achieved by addition of an optional kit. The 880-pound increase allows a maximum range of more than 500 nm. According to AgustaWestland, the additional range targets the long-range offshore transport market currently met by larger, 19-seat helicopter models.

The earlier introduction of an advanced four-axis automatic flight control system with search-and-rescue (SAR) mode enables the AW139 to participate in the most demanding SAR operations. Development of a full icing protection system allows flights into known-icing conditions.

AgustaWestland claims to have sold more than 500 AW139s to more than 140 owners and operators in more than 50 countries, with over a third of sales into the world offshore market.