AgustaWestland Starts AW169 Production

 - January 9, 2015, 1:02 PM
The first customer AgustaWestland AW169 medium-twin helicopter entered final assembly at the company’s plant in Vergiate, Italy. First delivery is expected in the second quarter. (Photo: AgustaWestland)

The first customer AgustaWestland AW169 medium-twin helicopter entered final assembly at the company’s plant in Vergiate, Italy, the manufacturer announced on January 9. It expects to make the first delivery and receive EASA certification in the second quarter of this year. AW169 training systems are being established at AgustaWestland’s Sesto Calende Training Academy in Italy, including a level-D full flight simulator and maintenance trainer.

According to AgustaWestland, the 4.5-ton-class, 10-passenger helicopter is designed to be approved for single-pilot IFR operations. Four test aircraft have accumulated 1,200 hours. The AW169 is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210A Fadec-controlled engines (1,000 shp each) that feature an auxiliary power unit mode, allowing one engine to power the environmental control system, radios and medical equipment when the rotors are stopped. The night-vision-goggle-compatible instrument panel is built around a digital Rockwell Collins, large three-screen glass-panel avionics system that includes dual FMS.

The helicopter will be built at Vergiate, as well as AgustaWestland’s U.S. plant in Philadelphia. Its Yeovil, UK facility will provide major components. AgustaWestland holds orders for more than 120 AW169s and anticipates a market for 1,000 of the $10- to $12 million helicopters over the next 20 years. AgustaWestland plans to offer military, search-and-rescue, EMS, offshore and corporate variants.