Finmeccanica unit AgustaWestland conducted the first flight of its light intermediate AW169 on Thursday at the company’s plant in Cascina Costa, Italy. Chief test pilot Giuseppe Lo Coco took the aircraft through its paces along with test pilot Giuseppe Afruni and flight test engineers Massimo Longo and Stefano Rognoni, verifying general handling characteristics and basic systems. The testing program for the 4.5-ton helicopter involves three more prototypes, with the second and third AW169s joining the effort later this year, and the fourth in 2013. AgustaWestland anticipates certification of the AW169 in 2014. CEO Bruno Spagnolini says that operators will benefit from “the advantages of a family concept of three new generation helicopters,” referring to the AW169, AW189 and AW139.
Related: Flight Test News
Photos courtesy of AgustaWestland