AgustaWestland’s AW159 Lynx Wildcat has moved closer to being fully operational. The initial release into service for the British Army model was issued last April and the first operational flight came on June 18. The AW159 is the successor of the Lynx helicopter family although the only major components in common with the earlier Lynx design are the main rotor blades and rotor head.
AgustaWestland logged a cluster of new helicopter sales on the eve of the Farnborough International Airshow. In Japan, two AW139 medium twins have been ordered for fire-fighting roles, one by the Fire Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) and the other by the city of Yokohama. The FDMA should receive its aircraft in 2013, equipped with a belly tank and bambi bucket, while
AgustaWestland has clearly looked to the example set by leading airliner-makers Airbus and Boeing when it comes to instilling its so-called New Generation Helicopter Family with a strong sense of both commonality and flexibility in terms of applications.
Ontario’s Legislative Assembly will continue its hearings over the summer into alleged performance failings and mismanagement at the Canadian province’s government-funded air-ambulance service known as “Ornge.” The hearings started on March 28 and, as of press time, it was unclear when Members of the Provincial Parliament (MPPs) would issue their final report into what appears to have gone badly wrong after Ontario’s Liberal Party-led government gave overall control of the service to privately owned Ornge.
Provincial parliament committee hearings into Ontario’s air ambulance service, Ornge, will continue into the summer, thanks to a last-minute deal struck among Canada’s three major political parties. Progressive Conservatives had accused Ontario’s Liberal-led government of trying to stymie the ongoing probe into Ornge by the Select Committee on Public Accounts and threatened to retaliate by blocking Ornge’s $150 million annual government funding.
The FAA has approved the Sikorsky S-92 for sea state 6 (SS6) conditions, meaning up to 20-foot waves. Thanks to additional sponson floats, the S-92’s emergency flotation system becomes the first one to be FAA certified for SS6, according to Sikorsky.
“This system was designed by the S-92 landing-gear design group, with close coordination with electrical and airframe design and structural analysis,” said Ben Del Monte, chief of propulsion/landing gear/mission systems.
Simplex received FAA STC approval for an enhanced belly-mounted Fire Attack system for the AgustaWestland AW139. The new system, which increases capacity by 20 percent to nearly 500 gallons and is certified for higher speeds, is the result of a partnership with AgustaWestland to take advantage of the AW139’s speed and increased payload capacity. The aerial firefighting system also uses the helicopter’s multifunction displays and cameras on the tank to allow the pilot to see the hover pump and door operation without the use of mirrors.
Simplex has received FAA STC approval for its Fire Attack system on the AgustaWestland AW139 to take advantage of the AW139’s increased mtow and flight speed. With hover pump installed, the new system is certified to fly at 140 kias. Without the hover pump deployed, the system is certified to fly at 150 kias.
AgustaWestland’s Grand New helicopter has received European certification for conducting area navigation (Rnav), global satellite navigation (GNSS) and vertical approach guidance (SBAS/LPV) approaches. The AW109 family member is the first helicopter to receive these approvals from the European Aviation Safety Agency.
The European Commission (EC) is allowing France and Italy to grant aid for the development of two medium-twin helicopters in the 10,000-pound class–the Eurocopter X4 and the AgustaWestland AW169.
Eurocopter will receive €143 million ($186 million) as a repayable advance. It will be repaid in full when an unspecified “pre-defined sales target” is reached. Each additional delivery beyond this target will trigger the payment of a royalty fee to the French state.