Fourth AW169 takes to the skies
Feb. 1, 2013, Vergiate, Italy - AgustaWestland has announced that the fourth prototype of the new generation 4.5 tonne class light intermediate AW169 helicopter successfully completed its maiden flight at AgustaWestland’s Vergiate plant in Italy yesterday.
By Carey Fredericks
During its flight, the aircraft performed as expected with an assessment of the helicopter’s general handling and basic systems being made. The event is a major milestone for the AW169 program as the last of four prototypes now enter the flight test program. The AW169 program is on schedule to achieve civil certification in 2014.
The first three AW169 prototypes, which performed their maiden flights in May 2012, July 2012 and November 2012, have completed more than 150 flight hours to date. The fourth prototype, built in just 71 days, is fully representative of the production configuration.
The AW169 is part of AgustaWestland’s family of new generation helicopters that includes the AW139 and AW189 models. These helicopters all possess the same high performance flight characteristics and safety features whilst sharing the same common cockpit concept and design philosophy. This approach will deliver real cost savings in areas such as training, maintenance and support for operators having two or three of the models in their fleets.
Launched in July 2010, the AW169 has rapidly found market success, logging orders for more than 70 units so far from customers in North and South America, Asia, Middle East, Europe and Australasia for a wide range of missions including air ambulance, law enforcement, corporate transport, utility and offshore transport.