The first production AgustaWestland AW189 twin-engine medium-lift helicopter performed its maiden flight at the Vergiate plant in Italy on October 10th, 2013.
The aircraft is destined for Bristow Helicopters, an offshore transport company operating in the North Sea, where it will commence flying in 2014.
Two more AW189 helicopters are currently under assembly in Vergiate. Two pre-production helicopters have been devoted to the development of offshore, search and rescue and special mission configurations. The idea is to have customers make an easy choice between various mission kits.
A second AW189 final assembly line is being established at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility in the UK, which will initially build the AW189 helicopters that will be used for the UK’s new Search and Rescue service.
AgustaWestland currently has 80 orders for the new 8-tonne AW189. For personnel transport the standard cabin arrangement is for 16 seats, with 12 or 18 seats as alternative choices. The AW189 has a 50 minute ‘run-dry’ capable main gear box.