AgustaWestland’s new generation AW169 light intermediate 4.5-metric ton class helicopter has entered full-scale production, with the first aircraft now on the final assembly line at its Vergiate facility in Italy. The event marks a major milestone ahead of EASA certification, with deliveries to the first customers scheduled to begin in the 2nd quarter of 2015.
The AW169 flight test program, using four prototypes, has so far amassed over 1,200 flight hours in Italy, the UK and the USA. A second AW169 final assembly line is planned at AgustaWestland’s Philadelphia plant in the USA, while AgustaWestland’s Yeovil plant in the UK is already playing a key role in the production of rotor blades and tail rotor transmission systems. In parallel to the start of full-scale production, AW169 training systems are being established at AgustaWestland’s Sesto Calende Training Academy in Italy, including a level-D full flight simulator and maintenance trainer.
Photo courtesy AgustaWestland
The AW169 is being certified in accordance with EASA CS-29 / FAR Part 29 latest Amendments. The type incorporates several new technology features in the rotor system, engines, avionics, transmission and electric power generation and distribution systems, and is the first all new helicopter in its weight category in nearly 40 years. Its cabin can comfortably accommodate up to ten passengers, and is fitted with a range of customized equipment and entertainment systems. The power plant features an auxiliary power unit (APU) mode ensuring the continued operation of the environmental control system, radios and medical equipment when the rotors are stopped. The AW169’s state-of-the-art avionics suite includes a full digital NVG compatible cockpit with touchscreen technology.
The AW169 is designed with inherent ease of maintenance, for reliable, intensive utilization in the most demanding conditions with high time between overhauls (TBO) and minimal life-limited parts. Time between successive inspections has been optimized to maximize aircraft availability and reduce maintenance man hours per flight hour, adopting an MSG-3 approach for the maintenance process. Maintenance programs can be tailored to meet operators’ specific requirements.
Over 120 AW169 helicopters have been ordered by customers around the world to date, including framework contracts and options, for a wide range of applications including executive and private transport, air ambulance, law enforcement, offshore transport and utility roles.
Related: Airframes News