AgustaWestland will open a second production line for the new AW169 medium-twin helicopter at its manufacturing facility in Philadelphia, the company announced today. The primary production line for the AW169 will remain at the company’s plant in Vergiate, Italy. Four examples of the 9,000-pound class helicopter are currently in flight-test, with certification expected next year.
The strong business aviation presence at Malaysia’s LIMA air show held last month on the island of Langkawi was testament to the fact that the industry’s growth in the Asia Pacific region extends well beyond China.
UK-based Spectro and its U.S. sister company Jet-Care (Booth No. C3516), providers of equipment condition monitoring services, announced their appointment by AgustaWestland as approved suppliers for debris and oil analysis services for all AW139s. Spectro and Jet-Care utilize the advanced analytical capabilities of scanning electron microscopes for in-depth examination of debris recovered from oil samples, filters or chip detectors, allowing detailed investigation into the metallic and non-metallic debris, helping to pinpoint the component generating the debris.
Mecaer Aviation Group is known industry wide for supplying landing gear and flight control systems to several different OEMs, but here at Heli-Expo ’13 the company has put its interior design and cabin comfort division on display. Front and center in the booth (No. N2107) is an elegant mockup of a corporate-outfitted AW169 passenger cabin, showcasing both the all-leather seating, LED lighting, wood veneers and a state-of-the-art communications and entertainment system.
STS Component Solutions, based in Jensen Beach, Fla., is a first-time exhibitor at Heli-Expo ’13. The company has only recently expanded its service and support offerings into helicopters as a result of new OEM partnerships established with Donaldson, Skurka Aerospace and Esterline Mason.
Rotorcraft OEM support and service at STS Component Solutions is focused primarily on the Bell Helicopter 200 and 400 series; AgustaWestland AW101, AW109, AW119, AW139, AW169 and AW189; Sikorsky S-76 and S-92; Eurocopter EC120, EC135, EC145, AS350 and AS365.
A fourth AW169 intermediate twin joined the test program last month. The first AW169 flew last year and the PW210A-powered helicopter is expected to be certified next year. The test fleet has accumulated more than 150 flight hours. AgustaWestland also announced the appointment of William Hunt as the new CEO of AgustaWestland Philadelphia. The company’s plant there manufactured 54 AW139s and AW119Kxs in 2012 and employs 500 people.
Lease Corporation International (LCI), which signed a large helicopter order with AgustaWestland at last year’s Heli-Expo show, has announced an agreement with aerial services group Avincis (Booth No. C7211), which is leasing a new AW139. This will be operated for offshore crew changes in North Sea oil and gas fields by Avincis’s Aberdeen-based subsidiary Bond Offshore Helicopters.
AgustaWestland announced the AW149 program in 2006 and the 8.6-ton helicopter made its first flight in 2009. Based on the successful AW139 medium twin, the 149 is a military variant that is 12 feet longer, four feet taller, 5,000 pounds heavier (mtow), has a slightly larger main rotor disk and a pair of more powerful, Fadec-controlled GE CT7-2E1 turboshafts (2,000 shp each) that give the helicopter good high/hot performance and satisfy the 6,000-foot, 95-degree F OGE standard.
UK-based Bond Offshore Helicopters has won a $24 million contract with BW Offshore for transportation services to its “Limited Floating Production Storage and Offtake vessel” operated on behalf of Ithaca Energy in the Athena oil field, approximately 100 nm northeast of Aberdeen, Scotland. Operations are due to begin in March with an AgustaWestland AW139. The contract covers three years and includes options to extend the period.
Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with Brazilian aircraft company Embraer to establish a joint venture to manufacture AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil for both the domestic and regional military and civilian markets.