AgustaWestland has flown the first production AW189 eight-tonne class twin-engine helicopter. The aircraft is expected to be delivered to Bristow Helicopters by the end of the year to carry out offshore transport missions in the North Sea, with operational readiness planned for early 2014.
An additional two AW189s are currently under assembly, while the two pre-production helicopters have been devoted to the development of offshore and SAR configurational testing. According to AgustaWestland, this allows making basic mission kits immediately certified and available to customers once aircraft are delivered, reducing the time to operational commissioning.
The AW189 has been optimised for long-range offshore transport and SAR missions, and has thus far received more than 80 orders since the aircraft’s launch at the 2011 Paris airshow. The cabin is configured with 16 seats as standard.