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Sunday, February 12, 2012

AgustaWestland Shows Off AW189

AgustaWestland’s AW189 hovers over the ground in Italy during its maiden flight. AgustaWestland uncovered the AW189 during the 2011 Paris Air Show. It will be making its first Heli-Expo appearance in Dallas.  Photos courtesy of AgustaWestland

AgustaWestland (Booth 5602) comes to Heli-Expo 2012 fresh off the recent first flight of its prototype AW189. A full-size mock-up is on display at the company’s booth. AgustaWestland officially uncovered the AW189 program at the 2011 Paris Air Show in response to an increasing demand for a versatile, multi-role helicopter. The prototype took its maiden flight on December 21.

Powered by a pair of General Electric CT7-2E1s and equipped with FADEC and built-in particle separators, the 19-passenger AW189 is designed for long-range, offshore transport and SAR applications. Bristow Helicopters, Bel Air and Weststar Aviation Services are among the operators that have placed orders for the AW189.

On the left, a graphical rendering of what Bel Air’s new AgustaWestland AW189 will look like when completed. Bel Air will use the helicopter for offshore transport operations. On the right, an artist’s impression of  the AW189 in Bristow Helicopters livery. Bristow will likewise use AgustaWestland’s newest variant for offshore services.

To help minimize pilot workload and improve safety during VFR/IFR, day/night, all-weather operations, the AW189 will feature a Rockwell Collins digital glass cockpit designed around four 8 x 10-inch liquid crystal displays with synthetic vision and enhanced vision systems. The avionics suite also includes a four-axis dual-duplex digital automatic flight control system and dual flight management system (FMS).

According to AgustaWestland, certification is still on track for 2013, with deliveries expected to start in 2014. CEO Bruno Spagnolini says that as the company approaches certification, AgustaWestland expects that “many more operators will select the AW189 for search and rescue, offshore transport and parapublic missions.”

According to the company, the AW189 will meet international safety requirements including EASA, FAA Part 29 and JAR OPS 3/EU-OPS. Its main rotor gearbox will include a 30-minute “dry-run” capability and Cat. A, PC1/PC2e performance and safety margins. The helicopter’s airframe will feature large push-out windows and emergency floats will enable the helicopter to remain stable in up to sea state 6 conditions (4 to 6-foot wave heights).

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