The first prototype of AgustaWestland’s AW169 light multirole helicopter made its maiden flight on May 13 at the company’s Cascina Costa plant in Italy
Launched at the Farnborough International Air Show in July 2010, the 4.5 tonne AW169 shares a common cockpit layout and maintenance concepts with AgustaWestland’s AW139 and AW189. Designed for emergency medical missions, search and rescue, law enforcement, passenger transport and offshore and utility services, the AW169 will compete with the Eurocopter EC145, Bell 429 and AS365 Dauphin in the utility helicopter market.
AgustaWestland has so far logged orders for more than 50 units and has said it hopes to sell more than 1,000 of the rotorcraft over the next 20 years, noting that the AW169 is the first new design aircraft in its class in two decades. The 10 passenger helicopter is powered by two FADEC controlled Pratt & Whitney PW210 turboshaft engines and makes extensive use of composites, AgustaWestland says.
The first prototype is set to be joined by two more test aircraft later this year and a fourth prototype in 2013. AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, said the AW169 is on target for basic civil certification by 2014 and entry into service the following year.
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