AW169 In Spotlight At AgustaWestland
AgustaWestland’s AW169, introduced last summer at the Farnborough airshow, makes its Heli-Expo debut this year and the Finmeccanica company says the program “is progressing as planned.”
The new multipurpose twin will be certified in accordance with the latest amendment of JAR/FAR 29 and JAR-OPS3, according to the Milan-based helicopter manufacturer. In particular, it will meet requirements for Category A, Class 1 operations and IFR single- and dual-pilot operations.
New technology is prevalent throughout the AW169, from the rotors to the engines to the transmission, but in particular in the avionics suite. The package introduces a full digital NVG-compatible cockpit with three, eight-in by 10-inch displays and enhanced graphics. A four-axis digital automatic flight control system with dual flight management system is intended to minimize crew workload and allows for single/dual pilot approval in VFR/IFR conditions.
The avionics suite also complies with satellite-based navigation, communication and surveillance requirements and is capable of performing satellite-based IFR localizer performance with vertical guidance approaches. Safety-enhancing avionics such as terrain awareness warning, airborne collision avoidance and the Guardian obstacle detection device can be added to the standard configuration.
Powering the AW169 are two Fadec-controlled Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210 engines. The helicopter will carry up to 10 passengers and can be configured for two stretchers in a cabin accessible by two sliding cabin doors.
The AW169 also offers additional safety margins with high rotor clearance, one-engine-out capability in all flight phases, engine burst containment and a 30-minute main gearbox run-dry capability. The helicopter has been engineered, according to AgustaWestland, with high time-between-overhaul intervals for the powerplant and main components and a reduced number of life-limited parts.”
AgustaWestland has also designed the AW169 with environmental friendliness in mind. The PW210 turboshaft engines provide maximum efficiency/low emissions. Advanced rotor aerodynamics, new blade design and an improved rotor system combine to produce a very low external noise signature, “well below regulatory limits,” according to the company.
The AW169’s first flight is expected is 2012 and entry into service is anticipated in 2014. AgustaWestland forecasts a potential market for nearly 1,000 aircraft over approximately 20 years.