Among the eight AgustaWestland helicopters on display outside Finmeccanica’s pavilion (Static Display L1) at Farnborough Airshow 2014, half of them–the new, multi-role AW149, the 4.5-tonne class AW169 configured for emergency medical service along with the mockup of a military AW169, and the 8-tonne class AW189–illustrate the dual approach to helicopter configuration that AgustaWestland has embraced in the development of its newest rotorcraft. In particular, the two AW169s being shown here handily illustrate the results of this dual-approach concept.
Finmeccanica-AugustaWestland kicked off the Farnborough Airshow by announcing added “vertical lift” to its order book:
* Japan’s Yokohama City Fire Department has ordered a second AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopter to further advance its operational capabilities. The department received its first AW139 last year, and the second is scheduled to enter service in 2015.
AgustaWestland, a division of Finmeccanica (Outdoor Exhibit 1), congratulated Waypoint Leasing here at the Farnborough Airshow 2014 on the rotor leasing firm’s first year of operation, which kicked off in March 2013 with an order for GrandNew, AW169, AW139 and AW189s from the OEM.
AgustaWestland last month received the 2014 American Helicopter Museum and Education Center’s achievement award for “advancements in rotary-wing technologies,” based on the Project Zero tiltrotor demonstrator program. Dr. James Wang, the manufacturer’s research-and-development vice president, accepted the award. Led by Wang, the Project Zero team designed, built and flew a 2,200-pound, all-electric vertical lift aircraft in six months. A few flights took place in 2011-2012.
The companies have walked away from an agreement announced last year to partner on a new 5,000-pound helicopter. They continue to operate the HeliVert joint venture that produces AW139s for the Russian and CIS markets.
Despite many program delays and customer criticisms, the pan-European NH-90 helicopter “is fit for purpose and doing real missions” according to Vincent Dubrule, president of the NH Industries joint venture among Airbus Helicopters, AgustaWestland and Fokker. He acknowledged that the NH-90 “had been a development program for too long, with a lot of variants. But now, nearly all the deliveries are in the final configuration.” The current focus was to refine in-service support, reduce the intervals between scheduled maintenance, and “solve the remaining maturity issues,” Dubrule added.
Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland (Booth 6629) is showcasing an innovative VIP interior concept for its in-development AW169 at EBACE 2014, replete with artist renderings, color samples and a scaled-down mockup. The four-passenger interior concept features earth tones and swiveling seats with translucent shells. It was created by design firm Lanzavecchia + Wai for the “Flydeas for the City” contest sponsored by AgustaWestland and the contemporary design magazine Interni.
Air charter operator VistaJet, which has a fixed-wing fleet of large-cabin Bombardier jets, has been “testing” short-distance point-to-point service with an AgustaWestland AW109 GrandNew over the past year. The helicopter is based in St. Moritz and has been used to fly customers on short hops to such places as Milan, Geneva, Munich and Monte Carlo, as well as for heli-skiing excursions in the Swiss Alps.
Charter operator VistaJet, which has a fixed-wing fleet comprised of large-cabin Bombardier jets, has been testing short-distance point-to-point service with an AgustaWestland AW109 GrandNew over the past year. The helicopter is based in St. Moritz and has been used to fly customers on short hops to such places as Milan, Geneva, Munich and Monte Carlo, as well as for heli-skiing excursions in the Swiss Alps.
AgustaWestland arrived at EBACE 2014 with a GrandNew light-twin-engine helicopter and also brought a scale mockup of the exclusive VIP interior in the new AW169 light-intermediate twin. The GrandNew has secured more than 330 orders by 200-plus customers in nearly 40 countries.