04 Feb Leonardo Celebrates 20th Anniversary of the AW139’s First Flight
SKYTRAC, a long-time partner to Leonardo, is celebrating he 20th anniversary of the AW139’s first flight. Since its maiden voyage, the intermediate-twin engine AW139 has proven to be an outstanding rotorcraft that has delivered more than 3 million flight hours recorded since its first delivery.
The first aircraft took to the skies from the company’s facility in Cascina Costa di Samarate, Italy on February 3, 2001. The helicopter flew for 45 minutes checking initial airworthiness tests, hovering, lateral and forward flight, handling qualities and subsystems. This soon confirmed the impressive characteristics and the smoothness of the new model and its performance and capabilities were to become a new market benchmark, making it the most important helicopter program in the last two decades at an international level. The versatility of the AW139 allows it to be customized for public utility tasks such as search and rescue and air ambulance, law enforcement, aerial firefighting, disaster relief, and military duties. It also provides industry-leading aircraft for the offshore transport sector, VIP transport, and other civil missions.
The AW139 has grown significantly over the years, adapting to the changing needs of customers. The maximum take-off weight increased from 6.4 to 7 tons, and almost 1,000 equipment and mission 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 capable of continuing to fly for over 60 minutes without oil in the transmission, twice as much as the 30 minutes set by certification authorities. In 2020m new distinguished features for the avionics suite were introduced including synthetic vision, Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System with offshore modes, improved 2D maps and wireless data loading, increasing crew situational awareness and reducing workload for operations at night or in marginal weather. Despite the experience and maturity achieved in almost 17 years of operational activity, the AW139 remains a young and modern program, destined to play a leading role into the future. The AW139 truly embeds all areas of excellence and leadership in its field at Leonardo such as transmissions and dynamics, system integration and customization, best in class performance, mission versatility, latest safety standards and a comprehensive range of increasingly localized customer support and training services and solutions, developed and grown to allow customers worldwide to maximize the capabilities of the type.
SKYTRAC has worked with Leonardo on its Real-Time HUMS program to provide real-time exceedance alerting through SATCOM and post-flight data downloading through cellular and Wi-Fi to reduce operational expenses related to data transmission.
SYKTRAC looks forward to the continuation of the ongoing success of this impressive helicopter, which now spans over two decades. Congratulations, Leonardo, on this benchmark achievement.