AgustaWestland continues to advance the development program for the AW169, as the third prototype has gone airborne for the first time from the manufacturer’s facility in Cascina Costa, Italy. Test pilots accessed the helicopter’s general handling and basic systems during a 35-minute initial flight. AgustaWestland plans to fly a fourth prototype in early 2013, with civil certification on track for 2014. The third prototype, which will undergo landing gear checks, cold weather trials, hot/high and climatic chamber testing, joins two others that lifted off for the first time in May and July 2012. AgustaWestland reports topping more than 100 flight hours in the program through late November.