The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the AgustaWestland AW189. First deliveries are expected during February, with Bristow Helicopters anticipating the first at their Norwich base for operations on oil rig support in the southern North Sea. The Bristow helicopter (show in image) is serial 49007 and is seen here in full colors with the British registration covered over and an Italian test registration applied temporarily in place.
The AW189 was one of the helicopters on display at Heli-Expo, which AgustaWestland made a “family show” with the AW169 and AW139. In early February, Rotor & Wing had an exclusive tour of AgustaWestland’s Cascina Costa facility and saw two of the three real aircraft – an AW189 and an AW169 – getting finishing touches put on before being released to attend the annual helicopter extravaganza, this year held in Anaheim, Calif.
During the visit to Cascina Costa, AgustaWestland also detailed the results of its focus on improving the AW609 since taking sole ownership of the aircraft from Bell Helicopter in summer 2009.
Clive Scott, AW609 program manager, said that through various designs the aircraft’s drag has been reduced by 10 percent, and by the end of the year they will have added 400 hours of test flying since taking over the program. The company now has more than 100 full time staff dedicated to the AW169 in Italy.