First production AW189 performs its maiden flight
Oct. 10, 2013, Verigate, Italy - AgustaWestland has announced that the first production AW189 8 tonne class twin engine helicopter performed its maiden flight at Vergiate plant (Italy) today.
By Carey Fredericks
The aircraft is expected to be delivered to Bristow Helicopters Ltd. by year end to carry out offshore transport missions in the North Sea, with operational readiness planned in early 2014. Additional two AW189 helicopters are currently under assembly in Vergiate.
Daniele Romiti, chief executive officer, AgustaWestland said, “Completing the very first AW189 which will enter operational service is a tremendous program achievement to AgustaWestland and to our customer. With this event we’ve brought to life the first and only new generation production aircraft in its category with an extremely reduced time to market, meeting the most stringent requirements set by the relevant authorities and by the market. With many orders by a number of major customers already logged to date, we’re confident that this will be just the first of hundreds of AW189s to be delivered in the coming years.”
The AW189 Type Board Meeting, the most important milestone in the completion of the Type Certification activities, was successfully held at the EASA headquarters in Cologne on the last week of September. The meeting provided further evidence of the outstanding cooperation between EASA and AgustaWestland that has enlivened the qualification programme since the very beginning, and involved all of the specialist from the European Authority and AgustaWestland in multiple working sessions concerning all the disciplines and the certification subjects. As for the foreseen exit criteria of the meeting, a plan toward the Type Certification release was established focused on the accomplishment of the remaining duties. These typically include the final EASA validation activities on board of the first, fully representative production aircraft which is now ready to fly at AgustaWestland Vergiate plant.
Two pre-production helicopters have been devoted to the development of offshore and search and rescue configurations and mission kits. This will allow making basic mission kits immediately certified and available to customers once the aircraft are delivered, reducing the time for customers to get crews and aircraft operationally ready. Also, initial support services have just been made available to operators with an AW189 Flight Training Device (FTD) recently qualified by an EASA/ENAC joint team to FTD Level 2 as per CS-FSTD(H), installed in the new simulation building which will also include an AW189 Full Flight FFS.
A second AW189 final assembly line is being established at AgustaWestland's Yeovil facility in the U.K., which will initially build the AW189 helicopters that will be used for the U.K.'s new Search and Rescue service.