AW189 completes first flight
AgustaWestland announced that the first prototype of the AW189 twin engine 8-tonne class helicopter successfully completed its maiden flight. The aircraft was launched at the Paris Air Show earlier this year and this first prototype made its maiden flight ahead of schedule. AgustaWestland aims to achieve civil certification for the AW189 in 2013 and to start deliveries in early 2014.
The AW189 was flown by AgustaWestland chief test pilot Giuseppe Lo Coco at the company’s Cascina Costa plant in Italy. It performed as expected during the flight which included an assessment of the helicopter’s general handling and basic systems. The first prototype will be used for avionic system testing and certification of offshore equipment options, while the second prototype, set to fly in 2012, will be dedicated to a load survey programme.
Bruno Spagnolini, chief executive officer, AgustaWestland said “Performing the first flight of the new AW189 just a few months after its launch highlights our strong commitment to providing the market with the most advanced helicopters in the shortest possible timescales. We are delighted with the initial response from the market with a number of leading operators having already committed to buy the AW189 for long range offshore missions.”
Spagnolini continued “We are confident as we progress towards certification and production that many more operators will select the AW189 as their new generation helicopter for Search and Rescue, offshore transport and parapublic missions due to its long-range capabilities, attractive operating costs and modern safety features.”
Sales have already been secured from operators serving the offshore oil and gas markets, including Bristow Helicopters, Bel Air and Weststar Aviation Services.
Here is a video of the AW189 maiden flight