The FAA has issued an emergency airworthiness directive requiring the 73 U.S.-based AgustaWestland AW139s to refrain from flying into known icing and to leave the helicopter’s electrothermal rotorcraft icing protection system (Rips) switched off. The limitation stems from a fire on one AW139 believed to have started with a malfunction caused by improper insulation on a rotor electrical cable. The system was certified by Goodrich (now United Technologies Aerospace Services) in 2010. The AD became effective on October 16.
AgustaWestland expects its AW189 and AW169 medium twins to achieve certification by the end of next year.
AgustaWestland’s family of new-generation, twin-engine, intermediate-to-medium size helicopters–the AW139, AW169 and AW189–garnered the major share of the news from Italy’s Finmeccanica here at NBAA 2013.
The Avincis Group recently signed an order for one AW139, two AW169s and two AW189s. The AW139 and two AW169s will be used for emergency medical operations in Sicily. Meanwhile, Bond Aviation plans to operate the other two AW189s for offshore work in the North Sea, flying out of the UK.
An order for as many as 35 AgustaWestland AW139 medium helicopters, which might be produced by the Helivert joint factory with Russian Helicopters, hit a snag in late August. Negotiations between the Russian Defense Ministry and AgustaWestland spilled into the press, with deputy defense minister Yuri Borisov telling the country’s news agency Itar-Tass, “It’s a very expensive machine. If they cut the price, then we can return to the issue,” giving the distinct impression that a decision had already been made to pass on the $671 million order.
Helicopter leasing firm Milestone Aviation Group announced yesterday at HeliTech a multi-year framework agreement to purchase an unspecified, but “significant,” number of AgustaWestland AW139s, AW169s and AW189s.
These aircraft will enter service worldwide in support of Milestone’s lessees serving offshore oil and gas transportation services, aeromedical transport, search-and-rescue operations, para-public and other utility missions.
Quality Aviation Instruments (QAI) and Gulf Helicopters (GHC) have entered into a joint venture for component repair facilities to be located in Doha, Qatar. The agreement covers component repairs of accessories, avionics and instruments.
AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters signed an agreement last week at the MAKS airshow in Moscow for the joint design and development of a new light single-engine helicopter. The 50-50 joint program was first announced by the partners about a year ago.
The preliminary assessment of the 5,600-pound helicopter’s technical design is expected to be completed “in the next few months.” It is being designed for the worldwide market and a “wide range” of applications, the companies said.
A little more than a month after Ontario’s provincially funded air ambulance service Ornge suffered a fatal crash, the Province’s coroner has released the results of a special investigation into 40 Ornge patient transport-related deaths between 2006 and 2012. Operational errors at Ornge contributed to eight of those deaths, according to the July report, which also made 25 recommendations to improve service at Ornge.
Milestone Aviation Group, the helicopter leasing firm headed by NetJets founder Richard Santulli, closed a new $300 million credit facility yesterday. The company will use these proceeds to acquire and lease helicopters–including Sikorsky S-92s, Eurocopter EC225s and AgustaWestland AW189s and AW139s–valued at $400 million to affiliates of Bristow Group. The credit facility is the largest ever for a helicopter lessor, the company said.
A helicopter air ambulance belonging to Ontario’s provincially funded service, Ornge, crashed shortly after takeoff May 31, killing its four-man crew of two pilots and two flight paramedics. The 1980 Sikorsky S-76A took off from rural Moosonee along St. James Bay at 12:10 a.m. en route to the remote First Nation village of Attawapiskat for a patient pick-up. It crashed almost immediately after takeoff into a densely wooded area less than 3,000 feet off the airport and burned.