Leonardo celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first flight of the AW139 helicopter, collecting 1,200 units sold, 1,100 units delivered and 3 million flight hours to date. The first helicopter took off from the company’s facilities in Cascina Costa di Samarate, Italy on February 3, 2001. I flew for 45 minutes and checked the first airworthiness tests, the hover, the side and forward flight, the handling characteristics and the subsystems. Thus, the outstanding properties and the smoothness of the new model were quickly confirmed. The performance and capabilities of the AW139 have set it a new benchmark in the market, making it the most important helicopter program of the past two decades on an international scale.
The AW139 is a 7 ton intermediate twin engine. The company has ordered nearly 1,200 units for more than 280 customers in more than 70 countries on every continent. The aircraft has demonstrated an exceptional level of reliability and serviceability. More than 3 million flight hours have been recorded since the first delivery in early 2004. The usage data confirms the extreme versatility of the AW139 and meets all market requirements: around half the flight hours The world’s fleet is dedicated to non-profit tasks such as search and rescue, ambulance, law enforcement, fire fighting, disaster relief and military tasks.
The other half represents a leadership position in their class in the offshore transportation sector, alongside VIP, institutional and corporate transportation, as well as other civilian missions. The AW139 fleet is present worldwide: around 30% in Europe, almost equally in Asia and Australasia, 15% in America, followed by the Middle East. In order to meet the requirements of the market, the helicopter is manufactured on various assembly lines, both in Italy, at the Vergiate plant and in Philadelphia, USA, where around 30% of all units have been delivered to date. The US Air Force will shortly introduce the Boeing MH-139 based on the AW139 to replace the UH-1N fleet.
The AW139 has grown significantly over the years and has adapted to the different needs of customers. The maximum take-off weight has been increased from 6.4 to 7 tons. Almost 1,000 mission kits and kits have been certified. With advanced protection systems against icing, the AW139 can fly in all weather conditions. This model is also the only one in the world that can fly for more than 60 minutes without oil in the gearbox. twice the 30 minutes set by the certification authorities.
In 2020, new and exceptional features were introduced in avionics equipment, including synthetic vision, the improved ground proximity warning system with offshore modes, improved 2D maps and uploading of wireless data, raising awareness of the aircraft crew situation and reducing the workload for operations in at night or in adverse weather conditions. Despite the experience and maturity achieved in almost 17 years of operational activity, AW139 remains a young and modern program that is set to play a leading role in the future. At Leonardo, the AW139 integrates all areas of excellence and leadership in its field, such as B. Transmission and dynamics, system integration and customization, world-class performance, versatility of mission, the latest safety standards and a wide range of training and education customer support, increasingly localized and developed solutions that enable customers around the world to maximize the capabilities of the model .
The AW139 is the choice in its class against which all existing and new projects will be compared. It also represents a turning point in the rotary wing section through the Leonardo “helicopter family” introductory concept. The AW139 is in fact the ancestor of a family of helicopters that includes the smaller and lighter AW169 and the larger and heavier AW189. These models are unique in the world as they share the same design philosophy, high performance, flight characteristics, certification standards, and approach to maintenance and training. A concept that enables operators with large, diversified fleets with models from 4 to 9 tons to create important synergies in the training of crews, flight operations, maintenance and logistical support.
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