AgustaWestland revamps AW139 maintenance program
AUg. 19, 2013, Samarate, Italy - AgustaWestland has announced the introduction major enhancements to the maintenance program for the AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopter, which will reduce maintenance and operating costs and enable operators to further increase aircraft availability and utilization.
By Carey Fredericks
Thanks to the proven capabilities and safety demonstrated over nine years of operation with an in service fleet of now more than 580 helicopters that have accumulated approximately 750,000 flight hours so far, AW139 operators can benefit from a new progressive maintenance program as well as life extensions on major transmission components.
The new progressive maintenance program allows more efficient maintenance planning, especially for those operators that need maximum availability for daylight missions and can resort to maintenance at night, such as in the offshore oil and gas support market. The introduction of the progressive maintenance program has been achieved as a result of the strong cooperation and partnership set up between the company, through its customer support and training and engineering departments, and customers via a dedicated maintenance improvement team.
The new maintenance plan will reduce direct maintenance costs and further increase aircraft availability and utilization. In a continuing effort to drive down AW139 operating costs AgustaWestland has been able to extend the time between overhaul (TBO) for the AW139’s main gearbox from the current 5,000 flight hours to 6,000 flight hours and the tail and intermediate gearboxes from 5,000 flight hours to 7,500 flight hours. The 20 per cent and 50 per cent increase in TBO will be a significant benefit to operators in reducing their operating costs as well as making the aircraft even more competitive in the market it now dominates.
State-of-the-art technology, outstanding performance, low operating costs and the only helicopter in its class to meet the latest operational standards, have made the AW139 the helicopter of choice in the intermediate twin market and the benchmark in the global oil & gas sector and other roles. With its power reserve, the AW139 delivers Category A (Class 1) performance from a helipad (elevated or at ground level) at maximum take-off weight with an unmatched one engine inoperative capability. More than 200 customers have ordered more than 730 AW139 helicopters so far.
The AW139 is part of the AgustaWestland family of new generation helicopters that includes the AW169 and AW189 models, which possess the same high performance flight characteristics and safety features as well as sharing a common cockpit layout, design philosophy and maintenance concept. This commonality will allow more effective operations for customers operating helicopter fleets across the 4 to 8.5 tonnes categories.
For the AW189 and AW169, AgustaWestland is progressing the definition of the relevant maintenance programs through the MSG-3 methodology, having established dedicated maintenance review boards in which experts from leading helicopter operators in the offshore, EMS and SAR markets participate as well as those from engine manufactures and aviation authorities.