FARNBOROUGH: AW169 debuts at air show

Farnborough
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AgustaWestland is showing for the first time all three types of its new helicopter family.

After the company revealed earlier that it would show a military variant of the AW139 intermediate twin and its 8t AW189 at Farnborough, it has also brought the prototype of the AW169 light intermediate twin to the UK, which flew for the first time in May.

The second AW169 developmental aircraft took to the air in Cascina Costa, Italy, on 6 July.

A third one will join the flight test programme later this year, with a fourth aircraft due to follow in 2014 before civil certification is reached in 2014, the Anglo-Italian manufacturer says.

A common design philosophy, with shared certification standards, is at the heart of the family concept, which should create savings for the owners in operation, training and maintenance.

The airframer's GrandNew light-twin model has meanwhile become the first helicopter to gain European Aviation Safety Agency approval for satellite-based precision approaches with vertical guidance (SBAS/LPV). This will allow approaches at airspeeds down to 45kt (83km/h) and a 9-degree glidepath. AgustaWestland says this will enable pilots to operate at airfields with no instrument landing system (ILS) in weather conditions that would require such navigation aid.

Canada-headquartered CHC Helicopter has ordered 10 AW139s for operation in the oil and gas industry, to be delivered over the next three years.

Russia ordered for the first time the AW139 for use in parapublic services. A government agency will operate three of the type from 2013, after the deal was agreed between the manufacturer and Exclases Holdings.

Mitsui Bussan Aerospace ordered two AW139s for firefighting missions in Japan, one with the nation's fire disaster management agency and the other with Yokohama City. Both aircraft will be manufactured at Agusta Westland's US facility in Philadelphia and delivered next year.

Italy's police placed two orders and six options for the AW139, including training and technical support. The first two aircraft are to be delivered to Pratica di Mare airbase near Rome in the first half of 2013.

A single AW169 has been sold to a corporate and VIP market customer in South America.