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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

AgustaWestland’s Newest Medium Twin Closes In on Certification

Paris Air Show offers an update on the AgustaWestland "family" of helicopters, comprising the AW139, AW169 and AW189.

By Thierry Dubois, on Twitter: @aerodub

The AgustaWestland AW189, a 16- to 18-seat twin, is to receive its EASA certification by the end of the summer, according to a company spokesman. Six aircraft are flying, including four prototypes and two production copies. The last one took off for the first time in May. They have logged a combined 1,500 flight hours.

Several milestones were reached recently. GE’s 2,000-shp CT7-2E1 turboshaft obtained FAA certification early in June. Microturbo’s e-APU was certified by the EASA almost simultaneously. The e-APU has been designed to meet the needs of more electric architectures and also can restart the engines in flight. The main gearbox demonstrated a 50-minute dry-run capability in March.

 

AW189. Photo courtesy of AgustaWestland

 

The first two AW189s are planned for handover to offshore oil and gas operators by the end of the year. At the Paris Air Show, U.S.-based Era Group announced orders for 10 aircraft plus options. This brought to almost 80 the total number of orders for the type.

The AW189 is part of the “AW family,” a concept AgustaWestland has been promoting since 2012. The “family” of medium twins is comprised of the AW169, AW139 and AW189. Their mtows are approximately 10,000 lbs, 15,000 lbs and 17,600 lbs, respectively. The AW139 has been in service for about a decade but the other two members are still in development. The AW169 should be certified early in 2014 with deliveries expected to follow soon after, the spokesman said.

The family will then be able to boast its benefits. According to Roberto Farnese, the helicopter manufacturer’s director of promotion and marketing, operators can count on 20 percent of common parts, 30 percent of common ground support equipment and 40 percent of reduction in training time, for a pilot transitioning from one type to another. AgustaWestland’s training center in Sesto Calende, Italy, is ready to receive the first AW189 simulator.

Seen from the right seat, “all three helicopters react in the same way to control inputs, even though inertia is not the same,” Farnese explained. All three will be in performance class PC1 at mtow. PC1 is the maximum level of safety for takeoff.

Despite a similar design philosophy, the three cockpits do not have the same number of displays. The crew can find three, five and four, respectively, on the AW169, AW139 and 189. Nevertheless, avionics supplier Rockwell Collins has confirmed it has worked with AgustaWestland on the communality of the human-machine interface.

Related: Airframe News

 

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