Coming soon: we tame the Wildcat

I tagged along with Flight International test pilot Peter Gray at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil site in the UK yesterday, as he became the first civilian to fly the company’s AW159 helicopter.

We’ll be running an exclusive flight test report about the experience in the 21-27 May edition of the magazine, which you’ll also be able to access via our FG Club (please register for free access, if you haven’t done so already).

For now, here’s a shot that I took of our ride – British Army Wildcat ZZ398 – on the ramp at Yeovil. As you can see, we were blessed with beautiful weather for our flights, so you can look forward to seeing some nice video from onboard too.

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AgustaWestland has so far delivered 17 aircraft to the UK Ministry of Defence from a combined 62 Wildcats on order for the British Army and Royal Navy. The company will also begin work early next year on the first of eight airframes for launch export buyer the South Korean navy.

If you’re interested, I got a 35min flight in the left-hand seat, and got to “play” with the aircraft’s impressive MX-15 sensor turret. The current certification stage for the aircraft sadly meant there was no chance of my taking the controls though, which was probably just as well.


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