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HELITECH: Certification nears for AW189 as backlog rises

AgustaWestland is closing in on certification for its 8t AW189 as it eyes first delivery of the super-medium type by year-end.

Roberto Garavaglia, senior vice-president strategy and business development at the airframer, says test flights have now ended and “just paperwork” remains to be finalised.

Although AgustaWestland is “not 100% sure” that the initial handover will happen by the end of the year, that remains its target, says Garavaglia.

Final assembly of the first three serial aircraft has commenced at its Vergiate, Italy site, he adds.

A commitment from Bond Offshore Helicopters’ parent Avincis Group for two offshore transportation-roled examples added to the airframer’s backlog for the AW189 at Helitech. This was alongside a single AW139 and a pair of AW169s for emergency medical service missions in Italy, as part of a broader framework agreement.

The smaller 4.5t AW169 is also working towards certification. Four flight test examples have so far been built, with approval targeted in “a little less than one year”.

Meanwhile, preliminary discussions have taken place with EASA over civil certification of its three-engined AW101, a VVIP variant of which was displayed at the outdoor static park.

AgustaWestland sees an opportunity for the type to perform civil VVIP transportation, search and rescue and long-range oil and gas missions.

However, before it enters into more detailed work with EASA, the company will define the likely role more closely. “Once we have finalised the application we will expand the certification activity,” says Garavaglia.

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