Launched at Farnborough International 2010, the 4.5t AgustaWestland AW169 is progressing towards certification and entry-into-service which AW describes as being “in a few months’ time”. Currently orders for nearly 150 AW169′s have been placed by customers for a range of applications including corporate transport, air ambulance and law enforcement.
The four AW169 prototypes performed their maiden flights in May 2012, July 2012, November 2012 and January 2013 respectively.
…modifications to the flight-test aircraft include the addition of a pair of fairings atop the engine cover aft of the main rotor mast. One of them – dubbed the “horse’s collar” – runs along the edge of the cover, while the second, a comb-shaped component, sits immediately aft of the mast. The fairings are designed to prevent tail shake through changing the path of the rotor wash.
The exhaust ports have additionally been turned outboard by 10˚ to prevent overheating of a section of the AW169′s composite tail boom. This temperature anomaly manifested itself on the port side of the tail during lateral flights or with crosswinds in hot conditions, says the manufacturer.
The third prototype, I-AWCG, was on show at the HAI Heli-Expo in Orlando in March 2015. It had arrived from Alaska where it had been undergoing cold weather trials.
I-AWCG was put on show still with extensive flight test instrumentation (FTI). For example the tail boom was heavily strain gauged.
AW are marketing the AW169, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210A 1100shp turboshafts, as the smallest of a ‘family’ of similar designs, alongside the popular AW139 (now certified at 7t and with over 700 in service) and the 8.6t AW189, certified in 2014. AW claim the trio “share the same common cockpit concept and design philosophy”.
AW169s will be produced both at Vergiate, Italy and at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company’s Yeovil, UK plant is manufacturing a number of critical sub-assemblies for the AW169.
On 31 March 2015, AgustaWestland announced the first AW169 Flight Training Device (FTD) had been certified. The certification, by a joint European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) team, is to FTD Level 2 as per CS-FSTD(H), the EASA certification specification for Helicopter Flight Simulation Training Devices. This AW169 FTD at AW’s Marchetti Training Academy in Sesto Calende, Italy, has been designed and built by AW and operated by Rotorsim, a joint venture between CAE and AW.
AW say that:
The AW169 FTD features an AgustaWestland developed flight dynamic model, avionics and aircraft software modelling, and a high performance visual system with 150 degree by 60 degree field-of-view 12 ft (3.66 m) dome display system. The FTD will provide effective training for pilots in the use of automated flight data systems and various flight procedures including situational awareness and decision making under normal, abnormal and emergency conditions. This device will allow for credits for IFR Training and for the majority of malfunctions and emergency scenarios.
In the offshore role the aircraft has a D-value of 14.7m, which puts it between the AS365/EC155 and the S-76. The most likely offshore seating fit is an 8 seat cabin, with a large, accessible push-out window for every 2 passengers. A more constrained forward facing configuration of 4 + 4 +2 layout is also offered. The cabin volume is larger than an S-76D (6.5 m3 vs 5.8 m3) with a larger baggage bay too (1.4 m3 vs 1.1 m3).
In the VIP and EMS role, the Mecaer Aviation Group, who have facilities alongside the Italian and US production lines, is offering a number of AW169 cabin options.
UPDATE 15 July 2015: EASA has issued the Type Certificate for the AW169:
Aerossurance has previously looked at other members of the AW ‘family’:
- AW139 Global Fleet Passes 1 Million Hour Milestone
- The Rise of the ‘Super Mediums’: EC175 & AW189
- AW189 Progress
- Heli-Expo 2015 Photo Report
- Heli-Expo 2015 ‘Super Medium’ Photo Report
UPDATE 26 August 2016: The first AW169 for use supporting wind farms has been delivered to Emden based HeliService International GmbH. The aircraft, ordered in October 2015 and leased from LCI, will be used to support the giant Siemens Gemini wind energy project, winching maintenance personnel onto the wind turbines.
UPDATE 26 September 2016: Airlift AS, an NHV company, has been awarded a contract to three AW169s for transporting Norwegian marine pilots for the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA). The 6 year contract commences on 1 July 2017, with an option for a two year extension.
UPDATE 12 October 2016: Helitech Orders Underscore AW169 EMS Credentials
UPDATE 22 November 2016: EASA certified a MTOW extension to 4.8t on 31 October 2016.
The manufacturer says the additional 200kg is “extra payload” and translates to a range extension of 100nm (185km) if used for extra fuel.
A retrofit kit is available for existing aircraft.
UPDATE 23 May 2018: Pilot Review: Leonardo AW169